Czech filming subsidies bring in record profit from foreign productions

Photo: Ingo Kramarek, Pixabay / CC0

Thanks to incentives, film projects realised in the Czech Republic brought in around USD 390 million to the economy last year, a record number that is double the amount raised in 2018, according to the Czech Film Fund. Aside from a return of part of their investment, producers also benefit from world-class film crews, a large array of well-preserved architecture and marked weather seasons.

Photo: Ingo Kramarek,  Pixabay / CC0
Jojo Rabbit, Knightfall and McMafia: those are just some of the films and TV shows that have been filmed in the Czech Republic in recent years.

The country is profiting from foreign filming production more than ever before it seems, with the Czech Film Fund announcing the highest level of investment through filming incentives since records began.

Pavlína Žipková, the head of the Czech Film Commission, says filming incentives are key to the success and explains how they work.

“It is quite a great economic tool for attracting foreign investment in productions here. We offer 20 percent. That means the producer has to spend all of the finances on Czech territory and in return he gets 20 percent back.”

Interest in filming in the Czech Republic was in fact so high last year that the annual CZK 800 million allocated to cover the costs ran out mid-way through 2019. The government subsequently agreed to increase the amount by CZK 500 million.

“Last year in November the government agreed to provide additional finances, because they realised that it is really important for the local economy to keep the film business over here, but we want to get even more additional finances to keep film making competitive within Central Europe.”

The boom in film productions is a welcome change from the early to mid-2010s when the Czech Republic failed to roll out the sort of film subsidies other locations were offering and the country stopped being the first choice for foreign film makers.

Another reason behind the success, Ms Žipková says, is the rise of productions made by world-wide online streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Pavlína Žipková,  photo: archive of Czech Film Commission
Just last month it was announced that the next season of Netflix’s The Witcher will be filmed in the Czech Republic and she says that profits will definitely increase further in 2020.

Aside from incentives there are also other reasons why the country is favoured among producers according to the Czech Film Commission head.

“It is a mixture really. I would say the quality of crews is a major reason. They are top of the world quality as many American producers say themselves. Then there are also the locations. They can film across 11 centuries of architecture here.

“Furthermore, the four seasons we have over here help too. There is snowfall, so we can offer a really colourful palette of locations. They can basically do almost anything here.”