Greece has overhauled the way it attracts foreign film productions to shoot in the country — by increasing incentives even further than the previous government and creating a whole regional network of new film offices that report to one central government agency.
The government has raised the cash rebate from 25% to 35% and has introduced a list of increased benefits, making it easier for foreign film and television production companies to shoot in Greece.
The details of the cash rebate are outlined on the Greek Film Commission’s website.
In a country known for red tape that has turned away massive film projects like the sequel to Mamma Mia, the new Greek government seems determined to keep foreign film companies happy.
A network of 13 regional film offices is being set up by the National Center of Audiovisual Media and Communication (EKOME) to assist shoots in the most far-flung corners of the country.
Vasiliki Diagouma from EKOME reiterated in a Variety interview that the rebate “has been designed in a way that it moves fast, and that it services producers in the most efficient way.”
Greece’s new government initiative to incentivize filmmakers comes after recent incidents in 2017, when the country lost the filming of the sequel of Mamma Mia to the Croatian island of Vis.
The original Mamma Mia film was shot on location on the Greek island of Skopelos with secondary filming in the Pelion region, nearby. The region saw a jump in tourism after the film was released.
The episode sparked outrage in Greek media, including a piece entitled “Why We Lost Mamma Mia 2” in which the author said that the film’s producers opted for Croatia to avoid the lack of infrastructure in Greece for foreign filmmakers. He also cited government bureaucracy and lack of tax credits — which other countries nearby use to attract foreign productions.
In 2015, Greece lost an opportunity to host filming for the latest “Jason Bourne” film, whose producers instead shot a Greek protest scene in the Canary Islands. Other projects planned to shoot in Greece — but which went elsewhere — include Oliver Stone’s “Alexander” (2004), based on famed Macedonian Greek general Alexander the Great.
Stone, one of the most prominent directors in Hollywood, reportedly waited outside of a Greek government minister’s office for 45 minutes to discuss the $155 million production. But he ultimately left after growing tired of waiting.
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