Czech production still battling lack of incentives

    The Association of Czech Producers (APA) announced results for 2007 that indicate production volume is still flat after a cramatic decline in 2004.

    Just CZK4.898 million (208 million Euros) direct spend was recorded for 2007, a 20% bump over 2006 with the Narnia shoot accounting for 60% of the total. It mirrored the situation in Czech feature film production in 2006, when the filming of the Czech epic Bathory temporarily drove up the spend on local film production. In 2007, without a big budget Czech film, local production spend dropped 23% to 25 million Euros. Spend on commercials appears to have stabilized after three year of slight decline, at91 million Euros in 2007.

    However, as APA president Pavel Strnad noted, local productions were excelling at the box office. With 36 Czech films in distribution last year, about 15% of the total number of films in distribution, they captured some 42% of the box office in 2008.

    On the downside, foreign production has gone to other territories. Hellboy 2 was to return to Prague, where Hellboy was filmed. Instead it went to Hungary to take advantage of the tax relief system. APA vice president Petr Keller noted that the still-rising value of the Czech crown and the threat of a struke in Hollywood were also negatively affecting production services for foreign films.

    A promised tax incentive vanished earlier this year, when Czech government support was not forthcoming.The 60-member APA expects a new cinema law to be submitted in September, using the German rebate system to attract production back to Prague.