By Jim Ballas
Whether filming an action-packed historical fiction or a documentary about archaeological landmarks, Greece is an ideal place for foreign films to be shot. In a period where Hollywood film budgets are steadily increasing and location shoots are becoming common, Greek Hollywood Reporter takes a look at what it takes to film in Greece. For this article, we will look at two types of production: assisted or unassisted production.
With assisted production, the movie producers will hire a production location service. Two such organizations are CL Productions and Film Greece. These organizations provide any services necessary for production, from casting extras to gathering permits for historical sites. CL Productions has been hired for such features as “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.” Film Greece has worked for many television shows, including the History Channel’s “Human Weapon” and many Discovery Channel documentaries, including “Atlantis: Is It Real?”
While production location services seem to be a one-stop shop for all your filming needs, they are generally used by smaller-budgeted productions in order to keep costs down. A big-budget film would usually go with an unassisted production, filming without the assistance of a Greek location service.
In order to film without a location service, it is essential to first get shooting permits. There are multiple types of shooting permits in Greece and each one comes from a different location. In order to get a standard shooting permit, which works for most locations, producers must go through the Ministry of Press and Mass Media. According to the Ministry’s website, “the granting is based on the filming script which is submitted to the competent independent committee. The license permits the filming of scenes at sites other than those where a special permit is required.”
Special permits are required to film at archaeological sites, military bases or to film aerial shots or shots requiring the closing of public places. The most common of these special permits are the permits for historical sites. In order to get this permit, producers have to go through the Ministry of Culture. These permits allow supervised shooting in archaeological locations.
Once permits are bought, producers can focus on the production itself. The Hellenic Film Commission Office is a great resource for producers. They can assist with telling you how to get permits as well as locate other resources for production. On their website alone, they have contacts for Greek production companies, television studios, unions and even a network of other state-funded institutions, such as the Greek Film Centre and the Mediterranean Film Institution. These other institutions are great resources, both for Greek and foreign filmmakers.
Filming in Greece can add beauty and history to a film, so it is not difficult to imagine why filmmakers choose Greece. To find out more information, check out the following websites:
CL Productions: http://guide.clproductions.gr/en/
Film Greece: http://www.filmgreece.com/
Greek Ministry of Press and Mass Media: http://www.minpress.gr/minpress/en/index.htm
Hellenic Film Commission Office: http://www.hfco.gr/
Greek Film Centre: http://www.gfc.gr/