Narnia producer Johnson: Hollywood needs tax incentives in Prague

By Irena Zemanova

    For over a decade, the Czech Republic, particularly Prague, was the darling of foreign investors because of its historical monuments, varied exteriors, and low prices for high quality rent and labor. But lately it's been losing out to Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and even the Ukraine. The main reason is the lack of tax incentives in the Czech Republic.

    „We love Czech republic for its exteriors and its filmmakers. But to be honest, problematics of tax incentives become more and more important for every huge Hollywood production, including Narnia," said to FNE Mark Johnson, executive producer of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/narnia/).

    Walt Disney´s $200 million smash hit by director Andrew Adamson, shot and produced in New Zealand, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic, had a gala release in Prague on Tuesday, June 17.

    „We made both parts of the Narnia series here in Prague. But for third movie, called The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, we are looking for some other location. It is necessary for the Czech government to consider tax incentives carefully, it is very important for the Czech film industry itself," said Johnson. According to him, the third part of Narnia, planned to be released in 2010, will také place in Mexico.

    In other European and American countries, Hollywood filmmakers can expect a rebate of up to 20% of every dollar, euro or pound spent in that country. Czech authorities were preparing to put the Czech Republic on a par with its Central European neighbors by establishing tax exemptions for foreign films, but the negotiations between czech Ministry of Culture (www.mkcr.cz), Ministry of Finance(www.mfcr.cz) and Ministry of Industry and Trade (www.mpo.cz) are deadlocked again.