Ludmila Claussova, Czech Republic Film Commission
What benefits are offered by the Film Commission or the Government?
There is a federal incentive: Producers can be awarded up to 20 per cent on qualifying production cost spend in the Czech Republic. The rebate is available to feature films, TV, animation and documentary films with a runtime of at least 70 minutes and to TV series with a runtime of at least 40 minutes per episode.
To qualify for the rebate, projects must pass a cultural test for European cultural and production criteria, and they must achieve a minimum spend of CZK 15 m (approximately $ 780,000) for theatrical features and TV films, CZK 3 m (approximately $ 156,000) for theatrical documentaries, and CZK 10 m (approximately $ 520,000) for each TV episode. Rebates are issued at the end of production upon submission of audited statements of costs incurred and paid out in the form of cash grants.
What makes this destination exquisite for shooting an Indian film?
Prague’s period architecture has been the main draw for foreign filmmakers since the 1980s. The city has one of the best-preserved historical centres in Europe – a unique mixture of architectural styles: medieval castles and stone bridges, Gothic cathedrals, Baroque churches, Renaissance palaces, and Modernist buildings of the 20th century.
Prague has appeared in many films, and not just as the Czech capital. Often filmmakers have come to Prague to shoot sights and scenery that no longer exist in Berlin, London, Paris and Vienna.
Indian film productions can also take advantage of the Czech Republic’s picturesque countryside and historical landmarks. Within easy reach of Prague, you will find the highest density of period castles and chateaux in Europe. The beautiful lakes, rolling hills, deep forests, and snow-capped mountains of the Czech countryside go through four distinct seasons, so you can capture them any time of the year.
In addition to icons like Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge we have examples of many different architectural eras. Productions often use Prague as a stand-in for other cities – Paris, London and Vienna, to name just three – where the right historic conditions no longer exist.
In the west of the country the spa town of Karlovy Vary has an idyllic Belle Époque look which you can see in Casino Royale and Last Holiday. There are diverse castles and chateaux all over the country, and historic towns such as Český Krumlov, Kutná Hora, Žatec and many others.
Why should an Indian filmmaker choose your region to shoot?
• The Czech Republic has an esteemed film history and developed film infrastructure
• High quality professional film crews (Czech crews have a very good reputation overseas)
• The diversity of locations and most of them are located at 1-2 hrs driving distance from Prague, which is very reasonable for producers
• Prague’s varied architecture has doubled for dozens of other places such as London, Paris and Vienna (big savings over the original locations)
• Equipment rental houses with the latest technologies
• Well equipped sets of all sizes and for all budgets
• Modern post-production facilities
• Incentives (rebate of up to 20 per cent on local spend, since 2010)
What are the tax incentives? Are there any special tax benefits for large production companies?
Not at the moment. There are no incentives or rebates other than the above described 20 per cent cash rebate
hat kind of local help can filmmakers get on location?
Get a local production partner. They’ll help you narrow down your location list, arrange shooting permits, find crews and access the rebate. Also, be mindful of visa requirements. EU nationals, Americans and most other filmmakers don’t need visas to enter the country. There are legal requirements, however, if you plan to stay longer than 90 days or pursue gainful employment. Again, your local partner is the best person to walk you through that process. One of the roles we play at the Czech Film Commission is helping connect visiting producers with local partners.
Have any Indian films shot in your region. If so, can you name some and the assistance provided?
Yes, we have had many Indian films shot in our region. The recent ones are Rockstar (released 2011) by director Imtiaz Ali, and Prague (released 2013). On the International front since the introduction of the incentive in 2010, some really great productions have been filmed in the Czech Republic. To name a few: The Czech Republic hosted the fourth Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol in 2010, the Danish period drama The Royal Affaire in 2011, the US-French co-production Serena and Korean film Snowpiercer in 2012. Only a few days ago, shooting wrapped on the Scott Ridley production Child 44.
What is the procedure to obtain authorisation to shoot?
There is no central authority which issues filming permits at the national level in the Czech Republic. Film permits are issued by municipal authorities and other local administrative bodies. Requirements vary, depending on the location. Permit applications must be in Czech.
Filmmakers shooting on private property must also deal directly with property owners.
Prague is a top film and tourist destination in the Czech Republic. The capital city is divided into numbered administrative districts, with Prague 1, Prague 2 and Prague 3 being the most central. You will need a permit from each district in which you plan to shoot.
The historical centre of the city, located in Prague 1, is the area most visited by filmmakers and by tourists. To shoot in Prague 1, you must submit the application in Czech, via mail or in person at the town hall of the Prague 1 district. The application must include, among other things, a map of the filming location.
The filming permit applies to films, commercials, documentaries, photo shoots and other projects. There is a fee per square metre per day.
Large-scale productions may be subject to an additional fee per square metre per day if they occupy more than 1,000 square meters; shoot for three or more consecutive days on the same location; significantly affect public transport; or use special effects.
Most productions will also need a permit from Prague’s road and street authority, Technická správa komunikací (TSK). Other conditions may apply.
You must apply for a permit at least 10 working days prior to filming. The application can be processed in less than five days but it will be subject to an additional fee of CZK 3,000.
Some locations in Prague such as Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and all parks in the city are subject to special conditions and fees.
The Czech Film Commission does not issue filming permits but we can provide further information about your chosen locations and the relevant authorities. We can also help find experienced location scouts and managers, production assistants and production service companies who can arrange permits for you.