The Czech Republic is a top destination for filmmakers, resulting in a windfall of 9 billion korunas (€362 million) for the Czech government in 2019 — the highest sum to date.
With filmmakers increasingly choosing the Czech Republic to film in due to attractive filming incentives, the country has seen more than 80 film and series productions mostly by Netflix and Amazon run in 2019.
“We calculated the financial contribution of projects filmed in the Czech Republic last year at 8.9 billion korunas (€358 million),” said Helena Bezděk Fraňková, Director of the State Cinematography Fund.
“Foreign film crews alone brought almost twice as much money compared to 2018, contributing the highest amount of money since tracking of this indicator began,” she said, adding that it is most profitable for the state to provide as much film incentives as possible.
“Also, higher incentives indeed generate higher returns,” she continued.
Who offers the best incentives for filming?
Film incentives introduced by the Czech Republic in 2010 allow filmmakers to get back 20 percent of the cost of production. In European countries, the incentives often return 25 to 30 percent of these costs, with some countries even offering 40-percent returns.
For several years, there has been an opinion that U.S. film crews, in particular, are leaving the previously popular Czech Republic for countries with higher returns. But the interest in the work of Czech filmmakers is still there, revived by the boom of television series.
The Cinematography Fund even had to stop registering new projects last July because the annual budget for incentives of 800 million korunas (€32 million) was not enough to cover the demand. However, the Fund started to pay out film incentives after the government increased the state contribution by 500 million korunas (€20 million) in mid-November.
“This enormous interest in filming in Czech locations is already hitting the imaginary ceiling of the current incentive system. It is, therefore, necessary to adjust it quickly. Otherwise, we will lose a large part of this financial benefit,” Fraňková pointed out.
The biggest projects filmed last year in the Czech Republic included TV shows such as the second series of Amazon’s Carnival Row and the epic fantasy Wheel of Time series produced by Amazon and Sony. Filming of both series will continue this year.
As for Netflix production, a family movie A Boy Called Christmas, fantasy series The Letter for the King, or sci-fi drama Tribes of Europa were shot in the Czech Republic. Another Netflix projects filmed in Czechia include the mysterious thriller Shadowplay, the second series of the war drama Das Boot or the second season of the TV series Miracle Workers: Dark Ages with Steve Buscemi and Daniel Radcliffe.