HOLLYWOOD, California, September 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Hollywood filmmakers are gearing up to move east, in response to proposals by the Czech Government to its movie laws.
The country is already firmly established as "Hollywood East": the movies Casino Royale, Mission Impossible, The Bourne Identity, The Illusionist, Snowpiercer, The Brothers Grimm and The Chronicles of Narnia were all made in the Czech Republic.
Now the government plans further steps to position itself as the European leader in film services. Proposed amendments to the Movie Act will likely be implemented in January, and will expand the incentives offered to film producers including important tax advantages. Frank Yablans, the legendary MGM Chairman and Paramount Pictures President, once commented that: "The Czech Republic would have almost no competitors if they had a 25% rebate [for films]. The service is absolutely amazing there and producers do not need to bring any crew except actors and a director."
The Czech Minister of Finance, Andrej Babis, aims to increase the country's tax incentives to that figure from its current 20%. This, he argues will "lead to a significant increase in films made in our country, and will act as a catalyst for economic growth by creating many new jobs here in this exciting and influential industry, as well as encouraging tourists and multi-national companies to consider the Czech Republic."
The proposed changes have proved a hit in Hollywood. Barry Jay Reiss, the former General Counsel of MCA-Universal, who is now Counsel for MAP Global, a movie investment, distribution and sales company, believes this is an exciting development: "It is a pity that films from such a prominent country like the Czech Republic do not find their way into US theatres more often. Czech filmmakers are creative and talented, but they need more opportunities to showcase what they can do on the international stage. Support from their government is a positive and industry-changing first step for the future of Czech films, and these changes will encourage greater international cooperation casting the country firmly in the role of Hollywood East."
Only three Czech films have successfully entered the US film market for theatrical distribution: Kolya in 1996 won an Oscar for best foreign language film; Dark Blue World in 2001 by Jan Sverak, and more recently, Petr Jakl's horror film Ghoul, released in 2015 in the USA and internationally by MAP Global, which was the highest grossing horror movie in Czech history.
The Czech Government has taken steps to support the domestic film industry and approved a measure that will increase the allocation of funding to the State Cinematography Fund from $8 million to $16 million. The funding aims to encourage Czech filmmakers to participate in international films with foreign producers, and will provide resources for Czech co-productions. The Fund will also support major in-country Czech productions which will also bring international expertise to the Czech film industry.
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