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Greece Becomes a Movie Hub with 18 International Productions in 2021

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Filming on the Acropolis of Athens for NBC’s series, “The Good Place”. Credit: Vanias Xydas/Avion Films.

Up to eighteen international movies will be shot in Greece in 2021, confirming the industry’s demand for the country’s nearly endless variety of stunning landscapes and monuments.

The director of the Hellenic Cinema Center, Venia Vergou, said on Friday that the expected revenues from foreign productions in 2021 could reach 90 million euros ($106 million).

She added that this foreign interest creates a “positive domino effect” that will help attract further productions.

“We expect so many productions from Spring to Autumn 2021 due to the fact that Greece managed the pandemic in a very successful way,” Vergou claimed.

She highlighted the fact that international interest also arose because of the continuous  presence of Greece in online international forums and exhibitions abroad.

“We managed with coordinated moves to show that it is possible, even during the pandemic, to continue shooting in Greece,” she said.

Incentives and obstacles for Greece to become movie hub

Greece has made further improvements to its highly successful 2018 incentive scheme for audiovisual productions, with the aim of making it even more attractive to foreign filmmakers, and more effective for those who are local.

A new law approved last summer focuses on two issues — first, the increase in the amount of cash rebates from 35 to 40% of eligible costs incurred in Greece, in conjunction with a drop in specific minimum spending; and second, the simplification of the application process.

Minimum spending is accordingly being lowered from 30,000 to 25,000 euros per episode for fiction series and to €20,000 for documentary series and animation — with a further drop to 15,000 euros per episode only, for any single project which exceeds 70 episodes.

Although certain cultural criteria apply, there is still no cap on the budget, which is another major competitive advantage of the Greek incentives scheme compared to those of other countries.

One major problem facing Greece, however, is that the country lacks large film studios, which most high-end producers, such as Netflix, expect to find where they film.

Fortunately, two separate initiatives by Greek-American businessmen show promise for the creation of state-of-the-art studio infrastructure in Greece.

“The construction of big filming studios would definitely skyrocket Greece as a filming destination, like we saw it happen in other CEE countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Czech Republic,” said Panos Kouanis, President and CEO of the Greek National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication (EKOME).

In a recent interview with Greek Reporter, he added that Greece also suffers from a lack of human resources.

“International productions raise the demand for local, specialized crews to an extent that local supply cannot cover. If one or two big international productions are being filmed in the country simultaneously, we already run out of experienced crews,” he said.

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