The Czech Republic, host to major film and TV productions including Marvel’s The Falcon And The Winter Soldier and Amazon’s Carnival Row, wants the film and TV communities to know that it is ready for production “to be resumed”.
A press release from the Czech Film Commission, which includes quotes from the country’s Culture Minister and U.S. Ambassador, claims that international productions that were forced to interrupt their shoots will be allowed to return to the Czech Republic from mid-May.
These include season two of Legendary Entertainment/Amazon’s Carnival Row with Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevigne, the first season of Amazon’s fantasy series Wheel of Time starring Rosamunde Pike, Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and the Netflix film 473 Transatlantic.
The Commission tells us that Carnival Row and 473 Transatlantic are prepping to get back into production. Wheel Of Time may be a little further off, they say. We have reached out to the producers for more details on restart dates. Sources tell us the Netflix movie is definitely gearing up.
The road back to production won’t be straight-forward, however. Czech film commissioner Pavlina Zipkova says that foreign actors and crew members “must show a negative test when leaving their country, a measure that, according to the latest reports, airlines will also begin to require for all their passengers.”
“Within 72 hours of arrival, they will undergo a second test, and remain quarantined until they receive a negative result,” she added. “The result is usually received the next day. In this way they can avoid the 14-day quarantine, which would
severely impact film budgets.”
Helena Bezdek Frankova, Director of the Czech Film Fund, commented: “Three-quarters of audiovisual productions in the Czech Republic stopped in March. In full compliance with the Ministry of Health, filmmakers are no longer affected by measures restricting cultural and sporting events and large gatherings. We therefore consider audiovisual production to be resumed.”
Czech Republic has been one of the quickest to ease its pandemic lockdown in Europe. Cinemas are reopening with restrictions next week. The country, which has a population of more than ten million, has only recorded 8,000 cases and 263 deaths from coronavirus.
The press release clarifies that while some movement restrictions remain for members of the public, from 1 May, “actors and performers are exempted from wearing a mask in the exercise of their profession. Instead, PCR testing will be required every 14 days. This condition will also be lifted on the basis of further development.”
Productions will have to meet sanitation standards on location and in studios. Safety guidelines have been published here.
Although the state of emergency in the Czech Republic is likely to end on 17 May, the country’s borders reopened on 27 April to citizens of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and the United Kingdom. The Czech Commission says that it expects U.S travellers to be able to enter the country freely in coming weeks too.
U.S. ambassador Stephen B. King emphasized the importance of reviving film production in the country: “With its beautiful castles, iconic landscapes, and talented support capabilities, the Czech Republic has always been an attractive film destination for Hollywood. While this crisis has rocked the industry, I am glad that we can start looking to the future and continue this cooperation, the roots of which film historians have traced to the late 1800s. I look forward to welcoming back our filmmakers, actors, and crews,”
King added: “According to the Institute of Health Information and Statistics, the basic replication number of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the Czech Republic at the onset of the epidemic in the first week of March was 2.64. This figure has since been steadily declining to the current 0.7. An R-number of less than 1 indicates a decrease in the presence of the virus in the population. It indicates the number of people that the disease can be transmitted to by one infected person. Thanks to the quick enactment of a broad series of anti-pandemic measures, the Czech Republic has clearly successfully managed the spread of the disease. Both domestic and international production is gearing up again. As the spread of the virus continues to decline, the self-regulatory guidelines for safe shooting will be relaxed.”