The CzechMinistry of Culture has contracted Olsberg-SPI, the London-based strategicadvisory firm, to conduct a study of the local film industry's effects on theCzech economy and to make recommendations as to how local conditions can bemade more attractive to film-makers.

Radomir Docekalis managing director of the Czech Audiovisual Producers' Association (APA),which is helping coordinate the study. Until May of this year, he had been CEOof Barrandov Studios. "For many people in the public and politics, film isstill mainly an art, but we want to show that it's also an industry -- thatit's employing people and creating tax revenue for the state," he said.

In a statementto,SPI said it would be collecting data to establish the value of productionactivity to the Czech Republic. SPI said the study would examine the currentenvironment for attracting runaway productions and the challenges faced bylocal producers, in order to make specific recommendations for offeringlong-term, strategic support to enable the sector to continue to grow as amajor European centre for film-making. The SPI study is to be concluded bymid-December.

The mostreliable picture of the Czech film industry so far comes from surveys of APAmembers. According to the most recent APA study, orders for services forproduction of feature films, videos and commercials in 2004 stood at just over$83m (CZK 2bn), the lowest since 1999. Docekal said these numbers, while valid,only show results for APA's roughly 50 members.

While many wouldlike to see the Czech Republic introduce tax incentives like those in place inHungary and Romania, Docekal insists the necessity of such incentives is not aforegone conclusion. "If we wanted to come to this conclusion, we wouldn'tdo the study", he told

Based in London, Olsberg-SPI is a leading strategicconsultancy specialising in film, television and new media. Since 1992 it hasprovided strategic policy advice and business planning services to publicbodies and companies across Europe and in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.