Czech producers in Canneshave reacted with dismay and fury to yesterday's decision by the Czech Parliamentto kill off the long-awaited law to boost Czech production support.
To register their anger, theCzech film delegation attending the Cannes Film Festival shut down the Czechstand at 5 pm yesterday for the remainder of the festival. The flag was removedfrom its pavilion, Number 104, at the end of the Village International. TheCzech Film Center, co-financed by the Producers' Association, ceased operatingimmediately. Additional protests are being planned.
The law was intended toincrease the Czech film fund from $3m to at least $9.6m andpotentially $16.6m. The move would have,among other benefits, enabled Czech producers to board co-productions fromother countries. This was to be achieved through a 3% tax on cinema ticket,home video and television advertising revenues.
The law had already beenpassed on May 12, but was then vetoed by Euro-sceptic president Vaclav Klaus.This created the necessity of a second vote to override this veto. Withnation-wide elections scheduled for June 2, the Parliament held its lastsession yesterday and a group of governing-party MPs left the room just beforethe vote, condemning the override to certain failure.
'This inaction byParliament serves primarily to protect the special interests of theforeign-owned commercial television stations. Speculation of corruption is rife,'Pavel Strnad, chairman of the board of the Czech Producers' Association, saidin a strongly worded statement. Strnad went on to call the decision'catastrophic.'