This autumn two major Hollywood productions,
Insiders dismiss rumours that Warner Bros. is eyeing theCzech Republic for Harry Potter and theOrder of the Phoenix, but continue to hold their breath for a decision fromdirector Martin Campbell on a location for the latest Bond instalment
The film would raise Prague's profile from that of a CentralEuropean hub to an A-list film capital. The last James Bond thriller, 2002's
Even with the jury still out on Casino Royale, some are breathing easier with the imminent arrivalof Hannibal and Omen. Local film service production company Etic Films has landedco-production billing for the former and a production services contract for thelatter. Neither film has released budget details.
Meanwhile the local industry continues to churn out filmafter film for local audiences, increasingly with an eye on the localbox-office. Whether any of these Czech films will achieve successfulinternational distribution remains to be seen.
The Czech production most likely to have legs is
Otherwise local productions continue unabated, even thoughproducers predicted doom more than a year ago when public broadcaster CzechTelevision announced it would no longer finance films.
Earlier this year, private broadcaster TV Nova, owned by CMEEnterprises, entered the production business with the local hit
Although Viewegh-penned films may be successful in the CzechRepublic, they lack international reach. Three of the author's books have beenadapted for the screen, but none have had international distribution. Producershave relied on long-term TV sales to make up the balance of the investment notmet at the box office.
Also likely to make a splash at the Czech box office buthardly a ripple abroad are a wave of teen sex comedies. Despite good resultsfor such imports as Germany's Girls onTop and the American Pie franchise in previous years, Czechdirectors stayed out of the randy teenager genre until last year's
Since Snowboarders,director Karel Janak has parted company with producer Whisconti and hasrecently wrapped a sequel, Rafters,which transports the action from the white slopes to white water. He willreturn to the director's chair for TheRo(c)k of the Pariahs next spring. Whisconti meanwhile is staying in thegame with Experts.
Meanwhile, the Czech darling of the festival circuit will beLunacy, from cult director JanSvankmajer and based on stories by Edgar Allen Poe.
Although Svankmajer's previous film, 2000's
Lunacy stands torepeat that success abroad and at home thanks to its heavyweight cast, whichincludes Jaroslav Dusek, Ana Geislerová, Pavel Liska and Jan Triska.
For Czech production listings, click here