Amazon filmed the biggest movie project ever in the Czech Republic

Amazon Studios

The fantasy TV series “The Wheel of Time,” based on the book saga of the same name, has become the most significant film project ever in the Czech Republic. Amazon filmed it for 163 days and spent around CZK 2 billion.

Amazon and Sony Pictures Television have decided to film the 2nd season of the Wheel of Time TV series in the Czech Republic. The decision was made before the first season’s premiere, which took place on November 19 on the Amazon Prime video channel. The latter is also available in the Czech Republic and offers a large part of the content with Czech subtitles.

“Czech filmmakers hold several key creative and technical positions in the crew. They earned praise when they stood up to a tough test during the filming of one of the most challenging scenes, “stated the Czech Film Commission, which attracts foreign film crews to the Czech Republic.

 “Filming in the Czech Republic was the only choice for us,” said Marigo Kehoe, executive producer of The Wheel of Time. “The main reasons were the fantastic film crew and the beautiful locations in the heart of Europe,” she added.

The domestic film industry can look forward to another influx of money. Based on Robert Jordan’s books, the first series of the saga took 163 days to film and cost around CZK 2 billion, plus the coronavirus pandemic significantly prolonged it. The Wheel of Time film crew consists of 600 people, of which only 80 are foreign crew members.

More than 500 Czech filmmakers are involved in the production of the series and the team of the Czech Partnership Pictures led by Ales Komarek, which produces the filming in the Czech Republic. This includes the chief architect, Ondřej Nekvasil, the production manager, Lukáš Hares, a team of stuntmen led by Jan Petřina, filmmakers creating special effects with supervisor Ondřej Nierostek, as well as the camera crew, lighting, construction, set design, props, horse training and expert supervision of the animals. Czech filmmakers are also involved in sound and visual effects.

However, the financial terms of the filmmaking received from the Czech government also played a significant role in the choice of the Czech Republic for such an expensive project. Thanks to tax refunds, the production of Wheel of Time got back CZK 352 million of the CZK 2 billion spent as an incentive, according to the Czech Film Commission.

The number of projects being filmed in the Czech Republic is mainly monitored by the Association of Producers in Audiovisual. Its data shows that the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative but not devastating impact on the film industry.

“In 2020, the Czech audiovisual market fell by CZK 1.7 billion, or more than 20% compared to 2019, in which the audiovisual industry, on the contrary, achieved its best result in the last 20 years,” the Association of Producers in Audiovisual said in its annual report. The total turnover of Czech production companies reached CZK 9.4 billion in 2019 before falling to CZK 7.7 billion in 2020.