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INDUSTRY / MARKET Czech Republic

The Czech Film Fund prepares for shifts in the audiovisual industry


- Besides supporting and preserving the domestic film infrastructure, the CFF has begun preparing to transform into an audiovisual fund in order to respond to changes in the industry worldwide

The Czech Film Fund prepares for shifts in the audiovisual industry

The Czech Film Fund (CFF) has decided to support theatre operators, distributors and production companies impacted by the consequences of COVID-19 with a total of 127 million Czech crowns (€4.8 million) in a recent call. It is the fourth round of support this year, the previous three having been organised in order to help domestic theatres to reopen more quickly and maintain the distribution network following the first wave of the coronavirus (see the news).

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Besides supporting and preserving the domestic film infrastructure, the Czech Film Fund reveals that the call’s goal is to “support research into the innovative capabilities and innovation potential of the Czech film industry”. It is a reaction to the shifts in the structure of audiovisual production occurring worldwide. “While online and VoD platforms won’t entirely replace classic theatres in our opinion, we still need to respond to this trend and adapt to it,” Helena Bezděk Franková, head of the Czech Film Fund, told Cineuropa, explaining why an application for innovation is part of the call. “We want to discover the Czech audiovisual industry’s ability to adapt and its readiness to deal with this escalating situation,” she adds.

Furthermore, the Czech Film Fund will utilise the call to gather data about the structure of the overarching domestic audiovisual environment. As council chairwoman of the Czech Film Fund Helena Bendová stated, the global coronavirus outbreak has accelerated the need for wider change in the industry. The data gathered will be used to prepare for transforming the Czech Film Fund into a new audiovisual fund.

As the head of the CFF told Cineuropa, the fund was founded in 2011 and 2012 to address a primary need: improving the competitiveness of domestic audiovisual works on the international level. While the achievements of Czech cinema in the last two years are proof that this objective has been met, she said, the need now is to adjust the capacities of the system to the current situation.

“We have been contemplating the change for some time now within the context of the changes in the audiovisual industry throughout the world. More precisely, we have been pondering the blurring of the lines between theatres and the online space, and the intertwining of animated production and the gaming industry,” Bezděk Franková told Cineuropa. The team is currently working on the concept for the new audiovisual fund and the subject matter of the law that should be ready for implementation next year.

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