Ruben Östlund’s film, “Triangle of Sadness,” has received three nominations for this year’s Academy Awards. The film, written and directed by Östlund and shot partly at Chiliadou Beach on the Aegean side of Evia, has been nominated for the “Best Film,” “Best Director,” and “Best Original Script” categories at this year’s Academy Awards. The natural landscape of Chiliadou Beach emerged as one of the protagonists of the film, as the location was featured as the castaway island where the characters find themselves after the explosion of the yacht. Chiliadou Beach was also the winner of the sixth edition of the 2022 EUFCN (European Film Commissions Network) Location Award, the award for best European location in the film and TV industries organized by EUFCN. A Greek production company, Heretic, founded by award-winning producers Giorgos Karnavas and Konstantinos Kontovrakis, was heavily involved in the making of “Triangle of Sadness,” which also shot scenes onboard the luxury yacht “Christina O” off the coast of Ilia, in the western Peloponnese. The 95th Academy Awards will take place this Sunday March 12.
“Triangle of Sadness,” is just one of the many films being shot in Greece the last five years. The incentives given in 2018 to attract foreign producers have since been increased to a 40% cash rebate on expenses and to include a 30% tax relief, as well as a national network of Film Offices to assist with production, are attracting big Hollywood productions, well-known actors and equally big budgets. As Fortune reports, Greece is becoming a hotspot for foreign films lately: “besides the financial incentives, among Greece’s advantages are the long hours of sunshine, which allow crews to cram a lot of filming into one day, bringing down production. Nowadays, the sight of crews shooting films, documentaries or commercials in Athens is common. The industry in Greece may still be in its infancy, but it is growing at a high rate.”
According to the latest data provided by the National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication-EKOME, the organization promoting audiovisual production in Greece that runs the cash rebate, tax relief initiatives and the film offices network, Greek production, especially film and television, has exploded: To date (November 2022), 273 projects (films, series, animation, videogames, post-production) have been included in the financial incentives of EKOME. Of these, 158 are Greek, and 115 are foreign productions from all over the world. Filming takes place all over the country -in over 200 locations, the total investment is close to 500 million euros and according to the data of the production companies they have created close to 70,000 jobs. Large companies with high-cost productions consistently choose Greece for filming: Universal, Disney, Amazon, Paramount, Warner, Netflix, Apple TV, Millenium Media, are among those that film their productions in Greece, making it one of the top filming destinations in Europe and the world. As a result, major investors are eyeing Greece for a permanent presence, namely for the development of sound stages across the country.
As Panos Kouanis, EKOME’s president has noted, besides the financial incentives, Greece has another advantage, the country itself is a vast natural studio: As well as the archaeological sites unique to Greece, the country offers is a great variety in landscapes, from coastlines and sand dunes, to waterfalls, mountains and forests, as urban landscapes that range from the medieval and the classical to the industrial. “Also, we have qualified and experienced film professionals and in all the stages of film production (soundstages, production equipment, post-production houses, VFX, animation studios, and digital games development studios). Greek crews are highly skilled, very dedicated, very resourceful, and above all, willing to meet the needs of every production. Greek professionals are highly qualified and very experienced in collaborating with foreign partners.”
Markos Holevas, the chairman of the board of the Greek Film Center (EKK-EFC), has also talked about Greece´s winning combination of financial incentives and beautiful natural sets: “If you want to shoot a scene where the Acropolis is even faintly visible in the background, even with today’s technology you would prefer to do it with the real Acropolis and not with computer graphics, If your experience is positive, you may come again. If you have financial incentives and a positive experience, you will definitely come again”. The Greek Film Center and especially the Hellenic Film Commission, also contributes in the direction of promoting audiovisual production in Greece, by providing support to foreign productions in a number of issues, such as financing opportunities, finding locations for filming, issuing required permits, contact with Greek professionals in the field, etc. The Hellenic Film Commission, usually the first point contact of foreign producers with the local cinema market, has launched the Location Support Program, which finances location scouting costs and has so far, financed 16 projects, which have either already been filmed in Greece or are planning to be filmed in the near future.
Among the 300 projects that have chosen Greece as their destination for production are David Cronenberg’s Cannes nominated Crimes of the Future, Netflix’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” featuring Daniel Craig, famous for his 15-year stint as James Bond, Disney+’s Rise, the biographical sports drama based on the real-life story of Greek-Nigerian Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers, the first trio of brothers to become NBA champions in the history of the league, the Expendables 4 starring Andy Garcia, Megan Fox and Sylvester Stallone, action thrillers like the Bricklayer with Aaron Eckhardt and The Enforcer with Antonio Banderas, Apple TV +’s acclaimed Tehran series (S1-S2) as well as episodes of season 3 of Amazon’s “Jack Rayan” starring John Krasinski. Tin Soldier, a major motion picture featuring Hollywood stars Robert De Niro and Jamie Foxx was shot last year in northern Greece and is now in post-production.
Locations such as the small Saronic island has of Spetses have been even been the set for the production for two major Hollywood productions: as well as the above mentioned, Netflix’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” arthouse film “The Lost Daughter,” starring Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman was filmed there in 2021.
Read also from Greek News Agenda: Filming Greece | EKOME President Panos Kouanis explains why Greece is your next filming destination