Prague, July 1 (CTK) – Foreign filmmakers are returning to the Czech Republic after shutdowns in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, State Cinematography Fund director Helena Bezděk Fraňková told CTK Wednesday, adding that the country will even see the arrival of new film crews, which had originally planned to shoot abroad elsewhere.
The fund together with the Czech Film Commission and the Culture Ministry offered reassurances to U.S. film studios in reaction to the EU’s decision to ban entry into the Czech Republic from the US, among other nations.
“We assured them that the restriction applies to tourism, not to business activities,” Bezděk Fraňková said.
The EU closed its outer borders amid the coronavirus outbreak in March. At present, EU countries are pondering on how to implement the European Commission’s recommendation for gradually allowing people from outside the EU into its borders as of this week.
According to the European Commission, non-EU countries should be divided into groups, and their inhabitants allowed entry into EU states in several phases.
Bezděk Fraňková said the local shooting of commercials is already underway, as it is faster and more flexible than other kinds of filmmaking. Filmmakers from Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands are currently working in the Czech Republic
To help attract U.S. filmmakers, the fund and the ministry have issued documents securing their and their crew’s safe entry into the Czech Republic. The minister signed documents confirming that the filmmakers’ business activities are in the interest of the Czech state, Bezděk Fraňková said.
Foreign film crews are eyeing Prague, along with cities such as Budapest and Bucharest, as a workplace that is safer in terms of the pandemic than the U.S. or even some other European countries, she said.
The Czech Republic is internationally viewed as one of the countries to have coped well with the pandemic.
Almost 80 films and series were shot by foreign crews in the Czech Republic thanks to the state incentives last year, mostly series made for on-line platforms such as Netflix and Amazon. The country’s proceeds from film incentives reached a record high nine billion crowns last year, Bezděk Fraňková said.