One of the fundamental issues included in the amendment passed by the government and currently discussed in the parliament are changes in providing incentives. The State Cinematography Fund turned to The Association of Czech Animation Film (ASAF) to comment on the amendment. ASAF’s observations concern mainly the part relating to the support of television production.
Film incentives or, if you will, tax refunds applicable not only for foreign but also for domestic film production have been introduced in the Czech Republic in 2010. The amendment enables the producers to reclaim up to 20 % of their expenses.
The Fund can offer a film incentive on the production of an audio-visual work, i.e. not exclusively a film but also a commercial and a television series. Film incentives represent an opportunity for the animation sector to offer its services to foreign production companies as well as fund their own projects.
A majority of animated production in the world consists of television series (approximately 80 %) but, according to the still valid Czech legislation, those do not qualify for incentives. The current system requires a minimum episode running time of 40 minutes. This running time is, however, not compatible with current trends. Developed markets produce TV series in formats of 52 (26) episodes with running time 11 or 13 minutes per episode and 24 episodes with running time 26 minutes per episode.
ASAF has used the opportunity to comment on the amendment of the audio-visual act in order to enable animation producers and studios to use the incentive system to fund primarily TV production. The comments raised by ASAF were fully taken into account when preparing the amendment. They concern mainly the change in required minimum running time of an episode and the minimum budget of a TV series. To quote section 42 of the act: “Film incentive can be provided to support an audio-visual production in the form a television series with a minimum of 13 episodes with minimum running time of a single episode 4 minutes and the total approvable expenses without VAT of minimum 10 million CZK.”
The audio-visual act amendment is currently waiting for approval by the legislators. But there is hope that the animation sector will have an important tool for its development. It will be up to the producers, animation studios and the talents of individuals to seize this opportunity to bring to life competitive projects with high ambitions.
The valid wording of Act Nr 496/2012 Coll., on the audio-visual works and on the support of the cinematography with marked changes can be downloaded HERE.