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Bohemia in the Czech Republic is perfect for filmmakers looking for historical backdrops ranging from medieval to gothic to baroque and renaissance

In the famous play, The Winter’s Tale, William Shakespeare gave the landlocked area of Bohemia a coastline. This was typical of a foreigner’s ignorance of Bohemia, a Czech homeland and a historical region in Central Europe. Occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands, Bohemia is located in the countryside and is one of the two main regions in the Czech Republic. Blessed with lavish natural beauty and a magnificent climate, Bohemia occupies 52,065 sq km and is home to 6 million people. It is bordered by Germany, Poland, the Czech region of Moravia and Austria.

Bohemia’s borders are marked by mountain ranges such as the Bohemian Forest, the Ore Mountains, and the Krkonoše (Giant Mountains). The region’s period architecture has been the main draw for foreign filmmakers and is one of the best-preserved historical centres in Europe. It showcases a unique mixture of architectural styles – medieval castles and stone bridges, Gothic cathedrals, Baroque churches, Renaissance palaces, and Modernist buildings of the 20th century.

Climate

Bohemia has a temperate, continental climate, with relatively hot summers and cloudy and snowy winters. Most rain falls during the summer. The temperature difference between summer and winter is relatively high, due to the landlocked geographical location. The coldest month is usually January, followed by February and December. During these months, there is usually snow in the mountains and sometimes in the major cities and lowlands too. During March, April and May, the temperature usually rises rapidly, especially during April, when the temperature and weather tend to vary widely during the day. Spring is also characterised by high water levels in the rivers.

Filming Permits

There is no central authority that issues filming permits at the national level. Film permits are issued by municipal authorities and other local administrative bodies. Requirements vary, depending on the location. Filmmakers shooting on private property must also deal directly with the property owners. There are two basic types of shooting permits. A so-called documentary filming permit allows you to film in any public space within the district, provided you use no more than 5 sqmt (53.8 sqft) at a time, and do not block traffic or pedestrians.

This fee is CZK 2,000 per day, plus a CZK 200 application fee. The standard filming permit applies to films, commercials and other projects, which require more than 5 sqmt. The fee is CZK 20 per sqmt per day, plus a CZK 200 application fee. Large-scale productions may be subject to an additional fee of CZK 10 per sqmt, per day, if they occupy more than 1,000 sqmt, shoot for three or more consecutive days at the same location, significantly affect public transport, use special effects, or film at night. Other conditions may apply.

Incentives

The Czech Film Industry Support Program offers a 10-per cent rebate to international filmmakers. The rebate is available to feature, TV, animation and documentary films with a runtime of at least 70 minutes and to TV episodes with a runtime of at least 40 minutes per episode. Grants are awarded to qualifying projects on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is no cap on the amount of grant per project. Rebates are issued at the end of production on submission of audited statements of costs incurred and paid out in the form of cash grants.

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