The Game of Thrones effect: Central European film industry on a roll
Central European countries are increasingly competing to grab a slice of production budgets as streaming giants Amazon, Netflix and Hulu prepare to splash out on their next fantasy blockbusters and dystopian dramas.
Experienced crews, lower labour costs and generous production incentives have long attracted international filmmakers to the Czech Republic and Hungary, but other countries in the region are now getting into the game.
Poland introduced a 30 percent cash rebate for filmmakers' production costs in February to keep pace, forcing the Czech Republic and Hungary to consider raising their incentives.
Stanisław Dziedzic of Polish production company Film Produkcja welcomed the move, but said the difference in the cost of making films between the three countries would be minimal and decisions would still hang on locations and film crews.
Barrandov Studios in Prague has a long history of being involved in international productions as its 'Fundus' props and costume collection shows.
According to costumes department head Nela Krajcova there are hundreds of thousands of costumes on the site, some of which have appeared in Academy Award-winning films.
The introduction in 2010 of a 20 percent cash rebate for foreign film-makers sparked a boom of foreign productions, according to Barrandov Studios' PR manager Jakub Zika. Foreign investment in the Czech film industry leapt nearly 1.2 billion crowns to a record 4.8 billion ($210 million) on 1,072 shooting days for 38 foreign series and films in 2018, according to the Czech Film Commission.
In Hungary, spending on a total of 333 productions last year amounted to 110 billion forints ($385 million), up from 108 billion in 2017.
A new European Union directive due this year is also expected to spur investment, requiring video-on-demand platforms selling to European audiences to ensure at least 30 percent of their catalogues are European works.