A film friendly country since the beginning of the 20th century –when Joseph Hepp shot The adventures of Villar (1924) in Athens–, Greece is proud to have provided perfect locations and excellent crews to international classics (Zorba the Greek, Topkapi, America America, The Guns of Navarone), big Hollywood productions, (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Bourne Identity, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: the Cradle of Life, Mamma Mia!, Before Midnight, The Two Faces of January), high-end TV productions (The Durrells) and animation masterpieces such as the 2017 sensation Loving Vincent.
The Greek government’s will to support audiovisual productions (films, documentaries, television series, animations, video games) in the country is firm and strong as General Secretary for Media and Communication Lefteris Kretsos has recently underlined. Film and television productions are drivers of other industries, including tourism. Investments in audiovisual works are associated with significant employment and skills generation benefits. Thus, focusing on media and entertainment industry makes strong sense from a business and policy-making perspective.
The Hellenic Film Commission of the Greek Film Centre is responsible for internationally promoting Greece as a place suitable for audiovisual productions of every kind, and for attracting international audiovisual productions to film in Greece. HFC supports international audiovisual productions planning to shoot in Greece as an intermediary in providing information, advice and guidance. In its recently launched website HFC quotes “10 Reasons to film in Greece”:
- ECONOMIC INCENTIVES: Law 4487/2017, which was recently passed by the Greek Parliament, implements a 25% cash rebate to cover part of the eligible costs of national and international audio-visual productions. A minimum of €100,000 has been set for eligible expenses incurred in Greece. The maximum amount of funding via cash rebate has been set at €5,000,000. It will be in effect in 2018. The Greek Film Centre supports international co-productions in Greece with a Greek minority co-producer.
- LIGHT: Greece has the world’s most film-friendly light in its DNA. The camera lens can capture more shades of blue in Greece than perhaps anywhere else in the world. With sunshine the norm, low annual rainfall, a mild climate and four distinct seasons, Greek film professionals are specialists when it comes to working with the Greek light, which allows eight-hour shooting days in the winter and twelve hours in the summer.
- BREATHTAKING LOCATIONS: From classical Athens and the mountainous hinterland to its 6000 islands, the whole of Greece is a natural stage set for audio-visual productions and provides a vast range of landscapes: picturesque traditional villages, unique islands, amazing beaches, forests, snow-capped mountains, hot springs, canyons, volcanoes and barren expanses. An infinity of choice for location managers.
- VERSATILE ARCHITECTURE: Tailor-made stage sets which can accommodate a huge range of visual projects, from modern to period, commercial to fiction. Greece’s architecture spans the millennia with examples from different eras, from historical landmarks with ancient temples and ancient theatres, fortified Byzantine cities, monasteries and medieval fortresses to the island homes of wealthy seafarers, neoclassical mansions and sophisticated lofts in cosmopolitan Athens.
- EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONALS: English-speaking Greek film professionals have the expertise and know-how to collaborate flawlessly with international productions. From outstanding drone operators and post-production facilities equipped with high-end industry technologies to world-class services provided by established production companies, the Greek Industry Guide provides dream teams of “dedicated maniacs”.
- PRODUCTION VALUES: Excellent crews, equipment rental services that cover all your needs (full camera packages, light, sound, grip), laboratories with full services for both image and sound, competitive wages, natural locations with a unique look. In other words: guaranteed high production value at a reasonable cost.
- GREECE IS A SAFE COUNTRY: Greece is one of Europe’s safest destinations for tourism, work and audio-visual productions. The country has staged and hosted large-scale events such as the 2004 Olympic Games with great success, and boasts cutting-edge infrastructure and impressive security mechanisms.
- ACCESSIBILITY: Nestled in south-eastern Europe at the southern end of the Balkan peninsula, within a few hours of every European capital, Greece has a modern road network, thirty nine (39) airports, over a hundred (100) harbours and hundreds of marinas, providing easy access to every destination in the hinterland and the 6000 islands in the Greek archipelagos. With its ever-expanding transportation systems, travelling to shooting locations has never been less time-consuming.
- A HISTORY OF CINEMA: The movie cameras have been up and running in Greece since the 1920s. Greece is a nation with a cinematic past, present and future. Attracting landmark international films to its unique locations since the 1960s, Greece is now investing in its film industry, producing new talent, making its presence felt at the Oscars, setting trends, and interacting with the international film scene.
- AN UNFORGETTABLE STAY: As might be expected of the country that invented the concept of hospitality (xenia), extending courtesy and generosity to people far from home, Greece offers sophisticated accommodation, delicious gastronomic delights and an electrifying nightlife. All of which makes it an ideal place both for shoots of every kind and for experiencing the warm hospitality and culture of its people
Read also via Greek News Agenda: Lefteris Kretsos on bringing Greece on the global map of the Game and Film Making Industry; Photographers invited to showcase Greece as a film location; Greek Cinema 2017: New and Upcoming Films; "Filming Greece": Our new series of interviews about Greek Cinema