The Czech Republic is busier than ever, housing high-budget productions including Netflix series All Quiet On The Western Front, starring Daniel Brühl; Starz and Lionsgate’s female-skewed version of Dangerous Liaisons; Sky’s apocalyptic series Extinction; and Netflix feature Spaceman Of Bohemia, starring Adam Sandler.
“Dangerous Liaisons is set in 1780 Paris, but France and the UK were not an option for us because of the expense. Prague is a more economical place to film,” says series line producer Rob How.
Other projects include Netflix’s CIA thriller The Gray Man, starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, and Amazon and Gaumont’s Operation Totems, a Cold War-era love story set in East Berlin, Moscow and Paris.
“The Czech Republic is very welcoming to film shoots, with a high-performing audiovisual industry, renowned film studios and highly skilled technicians,” says Operation Totems producer Arnaud de Crémiers.
Disney+’s Marvel series The Falcon And The Winter Soldier filmed in October 2020 under strict Covid-19 protocols, doubling Prague for Latvia, Tunisia, Turkey, Poland, Russia and Germany. Lionsgate’s White Bird: A Wonder Story, produced by Julia Roberts and starring Gillian Anderson, also shot in the Czrch Republic. Meanwhile the second season of Legendary Television’s Carnival Row, starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne, returned to filming in August, including at Barrandov Studio, with a local crew of around 900 people.
“The craftsmanship of our Czech crew was second to none,” says Carnival Row showrunner Erik Oleson. “The massive sets are built out in such meticulous detail that you wouldn’t know you’re on a backlot. You can walk its streets and alleys and directly into buildings that are functional working sets of their own. What would be prohibitively expensive to construct and film elsewhere is not only possible in the Czech Republic, the locals make it happen for a reasonable price.”
The wide variety of locations in the Czech Republic range from cities, castles, chateaus and reservoirs to forests, mountains, caves and sandstone cliffs. The capital is divided into numbered administrative districts, with Prague 1, Prague 2 and Prague 3 being the most central. Producers need a permit from each district in which they plan to shoot. Most productions also require a permit from Technicka Sprava Komunikaci (TSK), Prague’s road and street authority.
The country is also promoting two below-the-radar locations: the Valec chateau, at the edge of north-west Czech’s Doupov mountains in the Karlovy Vary region, is a 15-hectare complex with eight other film-friendly sites, including a church, administrative building and carriage house. And in the country’s south east, the 19th-century Brno underground water reservoirs in the South Moravian region have opened up to filmmakers.
Barrandov Studio is one of Europe’s biggest, with 13 soundstages. Its vast 160,000 square metre backlot has an artificial embankment and natural horizon. Prague Studios has six stages and a 100,000 square metre backlot. Crews are usually fluent in English, German or French. Producers can bring heads of department, but international productions increasingly hire heads of department locally. There is enough studio space, equipment and crew to handle multiple productions of various sizes at the same time.
The Czech Republic is in the heart of Europe and has direct flights to major European cities as well as Toronto, Montreal, New York, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Dubai and Doha. The studios are located close to Prague city centre.
First person to contact
Pavlina Zipkova, film commissioner, Czech Film Commission @ email@example.com