Prague, July 1 (CTK) – The Czech State Cinematography Fund should receive some 200 million crowns from the state budget annually under an amendment to the audiovisual law that the government approved Wednesday.
The amendment is now to be debated by lawmakers.
Next year, 180 million crowns should be allocated to the production of new Czech films, Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) told reporters Wednesday.
The amendment also makes the system of film incentives more transparent.
The government has thereby introduced systemic support for cinematography in the form of a regular subsidy, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said.
“The amendment will secure a stable source of funding for Czech cinematography, it will enable the production of quite ambitious projects and co-productions as well as the necessary promotion of Czech cinema,” he added.
“The approval of our amendment is a real breakthrough in the history of support for Czech film,” Herman said.
“This change will enable to fully use the capacity of the Czech film industry,” State Cinematography Fund director Helena Bezdek Frankova said.
Another fundamental change concerns the provision of film incentives for foreign crews shooting films in the Czech Republic.
At present, the call for submitting applications is released only at the beginning of the year, while under the draft legislation it could be done any time throughout the year.
The change is to prevent foreign film-makers from leaving for other countries with more advantageous conditions.
This year up to 800 million crowns should go to film incentives.
The programme of film incentives was launched in 2010. On the basis of it, the Czech state can return to foreign producers shooting films in the country 10 percent of their costs of foreign actors and crew members and 20 percent of the costs of services and goods they spend in the Czech Republic.
Czech Film Commission head Ludmila Claussova said the new amendment would help attract large film studios to the Czech Republic that might return among the most attractive destinations for film productions in Europe, such as London, Berlin and Budapest at present.
Since the incentives were introduced, foreign film crews have been spending more and more money in the Czech Republic. This year, the fund registered interest in the incentives worth 1.2 billion crowns for 71 foreign and Czech film projects to be shot in 2015-2016.
“With the current budget for film incentives of 800 million crowns, the Czech Republic is annually able to attract investments of more than four billion crowns. However, our film industry would be able to satisfy a higher demand,” Frankova added.
Several projects are to be shot in the Czech Republic in the next six months, such as Anthropoid, a film about the mortal attack on high-ranking Nazi officer Reinhard Heydrich in 1942, in co-production of Britain, France, and the Czech Republic, Legends, an action series produced by Fox 21 with Sean Bean, and The Zookeeper’s Wife, a U.S. film with Jessica Chastain in the lead role.
The amendment to the audiovisual law should also increase transparency of the decision-making of the fund council’s members since their assessment of particular projects will be released and they will have to defend their decisions, Bezdek Frankova said.