Film commissions are government organizations (national, regional and local) set up to attract the production of movies, TV programs and commercials to their respective locations. They offer services such as scouting locations and assistance cutting through local bureaucracies. In addition, some provide hard economic incentives, such as tax rebates, hotel discounts and even actual cash.
The first film commissions were created in the U.S. more then 50 years ago. Now they are commonplace, especially in Canada and Europe. In March 2007, a new network, the European Film Commission Network (EuFCN) was set up, uniting 64 national film commissions from more than 18 countries. Austrian Arie Bohrer of Vienna's Location Austria--part of the country's government-backed film commission--was elected president of the network. The aim is to set new standards for the positioning of Europe's film commissions, to position them into a more international market, and to promote the exchange of information between members.
In an audiovisual industry expected to grow worldwide to $105 billion over the next three years, Europe has become a welcoming locale for filming. This has happened despite the weak dollar, which discourages U.S. production and, at the same time, makes the U.S. a more economically attractive venue for European production.
VideoAge reviewed a selection of key film commissions around Europe.
The Czech Film Commission (http://www.filmcommission.cz) has worked, since 2004, as part of the Czech Film Center, partly funded by the Czech Ministry of Culture, and was created in September 2002 to promote Czech film abroad
Since 1989, the Czech Republic, whose movie industry annually attracts $83 million from abroad, has become renowned for its wide variety of locations, well-equipped studio facilities and lower costs of production, wages and taxes.
Barrandov Studios in Prague boasts some of the country's most important facilities, bringing in by far the biggest share of moviemaking revenue, valued at roughly $300 million annually. Barrandov's new sound stages were completed in 2006, and filmmakers have since come in droves. Much of the most recent James Bond movie Casino Royale was shot on Barrandov's sound stages. Earlier this year, Barrandov Studios signed a contract to host Paramount's $170 million GI Joe, one of the most expensive films ever in the Czech studio's history, falling between the estimated $150 million Casino Royale and the...