The most important development in the Czech Republic was the approval of film tax incentives in 2010. The European Union approved the Czech film tax incentives in June, as announced by the Czech government on 18 June. The proposal, which was first approved in October 2009 by the Czech government, allows foreign productions a rebate of up to 20% of the amount spent in the country. The Czech Ministry of Culture (www.mkcr.cz) budgeted CZK 400 million (16 million euros) for rebates in 2010 and had been awaiting the EU decision since January. ¨
The Czech Ministry of Culture has already prepared film incentives for the foreign film prodcutions amounting to CZK 2 billion spent in the Czech Republic -- more than triple the amount spent by foreign productions in the Czech Republic in 2009.
According to Pavel Strnad, head of the Czech Audiovisual Producer´s Association APA (www.asociaceproducentu.cz ) and leading Czech production company Negativ (www.negativ.cz ), in 2003, Hollywood and European filmmakers spent more than 5 billion crowns in the Czech Republic. In 2008, the amount of the foreign investments dropped to only CZK 700 million as Hollywood production move to Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine, driven away by the Czech Republic's lack of tax incentives. In numerous European countries and American states, Hollywood filmmakers can expect a rebate of up to 20% of every euro spent in that territory.
The Czech Republic's new Film Industry Support Programme is paying off. At least 18 productions have been already approved in the recently launched Czech Film Industry Support program, receiving nearly CZK 200 million (€8.1 million) in grants, acoording to Ludmila Claussová of the Czech film commission (www.filmcommission.cz).
The productions include The Return of Xander Cage, a co-production between Stillking (www.stillking.com) and Paramount (www.paramount.com), a new installment in the XXX franchise, which was also shot in Prague. The project will receive CZK 29.8 million (€1.1 million) as a rebate on local costs. Some CZK 31.5 million (€1.2 million) of funding was assigned to Etic Films (www.etic.cz) and The Borgias, Canal Plus' 12-episode miniseries about the Italian Renaissance dynasty, which shoots in Prague. The most important Hollywood coproduction of 2010 is Mission: Impossible 4, which will get CZK 57.6m (€2.3 million) in rebates with Czech co-producer Stillking Films. In early October 2010, the film went into production for the local shoot with producers J.J. Abrams, Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner. The new installment returned to Prague, where Cruise and director Brian De Palma kicked off the franchise with 1996's original Mission: Impossible. The three week shooting took place in Prague and other Czech exteriors. The program assigned CZK 20.5 million for Red Tails, the Lucasfilm (www.lucasfilm.com ) co- production with Partnership Pictures (www.partnershippictures.com) about the Tuskegee Airmen. The shoot for Red Tails resumed in the Czech Republic in summer 2010 after primary photography in 2009. A CZK 16 million (€694,500) rebate was assigned to Philibert, a co-production between Prague's Okko Production (www.okko.cz ) and French Mandarin Cinema.
International films are by no means the only ones to benefit from the incentives. Local productions that have been approved for the 20% rebate include Actor´s Runway Agency's The Last Children of Aporver (www.actorsrunway.cz) (rebates of CZK 10.1m); the 3D family film V peřinách by director F.A. Branec, (CZK 8.5m) by Hollywood Classic Entertainment (www.hce.cz); director Petr Nikolaev´s Lidice (CZK 8m) by Bioscop (www.bioscop.cz); Leaving by Buc Film Production (www.bucfilm.cz), written and directed by former Czech President Václav Havel (CZK 8m); Golem Film‘s (www.golemfilm.cz) The Devil's Bride (CZK 5m); Alois Nebel (CZK 3.3m) by Negativ production (www.negativ.cz); Cinemania's Westernstory (CZK 3.5m); In Film Praha's (www.infilm.cz) Innocence by Jan Hřebejk (CZK 3.6m); and A Men's Novel, the recent Czech box office hit drected by Jiří Vejdělek (rebates of CZK 3.1m).
Meanwhile, the new Czech Culture Minister Jiri Besser has already announced that he will seek 300 million CZK from next year's 2011 budget to continue the film production incentives launched in June 2010. The news is a good sign considering the current trend to cut budgets. The state budget has yet to be approved but the process is expected to wrap up by the end of 2010, and Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has also voiced his support for the film incentives program, indicating they will meet little resistance in Parliament.