PRAGUE: Culture Minister Jiri Besser has announced that he will seek 300 million Kc from next year's budget to continue the film production incentives launched in June. The Czech sweeteners, which must be renewed in Parliament each year, have already drawn 38 projects, of which 16 have been approved for rebates.
The approved projects, which can get back 20 percent of their production spend if they pass a cultural test, are mainly Czech films but also include George Lucas' WWII story "Red Tails," "Mission: Impossible 4" and the "Borgias" cable TV series now in production at Barrandov Studios.
Ludmila Claussova of the Czech Film Commission called the news a good sign considering the current trend to cut budgets. But keeping the incentives plan going makes economic sense, she said: "It supports dozens of professions - not just the film profession. It stimulates employment."
The state budget has yet to be approved but the process is expected to wrap up in the next two months and Finance Minister Miroslave Kalousek has also voiced his support for the film incentives program, indicating they will meet little resistance in Parliament.