But Greece has quickly become a filmmaker’s paradise, not just tourists, as Hollywood and many foreign production companies explore its rich and diverse landscape for cast, crew and sets, while taking advantage of the generous tax incentives and support services on offer.
Additionally, with an architectural landscape spanning all eras of human history, Greece is the perfect film set, a production designer’s dream, and offers unrivaled production value and opportunity.
Aside from quickly becoming the omphalos of the film world, Greek cinema has also experienced a resurgence in recent years, producing notable directors and films, especially after the financial crisis, in a genre often referred to as the Greek “strange wave”. becomes.
The production of Greek films is rich and has won several international awards, the most important of which is the film by Theodoros Angelopoulos An eternity and a day (1998, Palme d’Or – 51st Cannes International Film Festival).
Until 2017, the few foreign films shot in Greece highlighted the country’s well-known “touristy” aesthetic in locations such as Hydra, Rhodes, Mykonos, Kefalonia, Crete and Athens: boy on a dolphin (1957), Zorba the Greek(1964) For your eyes only (1984), The big blue (1988). Among the latest productions it is worth noting Captain Corelli’s mandolin (2001).
Since 2015, film production in Greece has been transformed with the creation of the National Center for Audiovisual and Communication (EKOME), under the auspices of the Ministry of Digital Governance.
EKOME manages, among other things, the incentives of “horizontal” cash compensation (cost reimbursement): first 25% (with Law 4448/2017) of the eligible film production costs, then 35% (Law 4563/2018) and finally 40% (Law 4704/2020), the is valid until today.
A total of 176 projects have been funded under the cash rebate incentives over the last four years, 94 domestic and 82 cross-border (usually co-productions) or foreign projects with a total budget of 252 million euros. EKOME estimates that these were filmed in 140 locations across Greece.
In 2021 alone, ten very big films or series with a budget of between 8 and 20 million euros were shot in Greece. For the first time we saw many productions funded by major American studios (Disney, Paramount), many of which were shown on the popular streaming platforms Netflix, Apple TV and Amazon.
So why would anyone film in Greece?
Greece is an ideal destination for audiovisual works for many reasons:
- Generous investment incentives: from film facilities, studio infrastructure and production to investment rights, cash compensation and tax relief;
- Modernized licensing process: 15 film offices in 13 regions of Greece;
- Experienced professionals, industry experts and modern venues: Highly qualified filmmakers and industry experts (EKK & EKOME) offer continuous advice and support;
- Production value at competitive costs: excellent crews, quality equipment and rental services, competitive wages;
- Unparalleled natural and architectural beauty: Unique locations and natural light all year round;
- Safe and welcoming environment for international productions: Greece is one of the safest destinations in Europe for tourism, work and production of audiovisual works.
New foreign productions filmed in Greece
Greece has now become the country of choice for international film investment. The creation of investment laws and the continuous improvement of the legal framework for the cash bonus, combined with the technical-material infrastructure, the security and the natural beauty of the country, are strong incentives for international film productions.
Movies filmed and currently filming in Greece: The Lost Daughter (2021) by Maggie Gyllenhaal, triangle of sadness (2022) by Ruben Ostlund, On source for the photo (2020) by Francois Uzan, Born to be murdered (2021) by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022) by Rian Johnson, tin soldiers (2022) by Odette Schwegler, the bricklayer (2022) by Renny Harlin, rise (2022) by Akin Omotoso, crimes of the future (2022) by David Cronenberg, The executor by Richard Hughes (2022), My Fat Greek Wedding 3 by Nia Vardalos (2022), Les Cyclades by Caroline Bonmarchand (2022), The grandson by Nely Reguera (2022), Mediterraneo: The Law of the Sea by Marcel Barrena (2022), Consumables 4 by Scott Waugh (2022) and the Australian film voices in the depths by Jason Raftopoulos, who is in post-production.
Speaking to the Hellenic Film Commission, David Cronenberg noted his reasons for filming in Greece: “When I first wrote the screenplay for crimes of the future two decades ago its location was ambiguous. But once the film came to fruition, we started looking into the possibility of shooting in Greece. As I contemplated the unique buildings and grounds in and around Athens, the incredible textures of an ancient city, the hypnotic presence of an ancient sea, my vision for the film suddenly merged. I fully embraced the gifts that Athens presented me, and now it seems that the film could not have been made anywhere else. And among those Athenian gifts was the passionate and hardworking Greek cast and crew who were a pleasure to work with. They went out of their way to make us feel welcome and their hard work contributed to every frame of the final image.”
Greek production company Argonauts SA, which had worked with Robert Lantos, the film’s producer, was again involved in the project in the past as a minority co-producer and production services company. Robert Lantos said of the filming experience in Greece: “Of course, as it turns out, the Greek technicians and crew are of a very high standard. We had a wonderful mix of Canadians and Greeks on the team! It was a great experience for all our crew and I think the Greek crew enjoyed the experience too!”
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, The Lost Daughter Director Maggie Gyllenhaal spoke about filming in Greece: “One day, out of nowhere, I said, ‘What about Greece?’ In Greece, I can be an outsider looking inward and outward [Leda] an outsider looks in. And while I don’t understand what the groceries look like in the supermarket there, neither do they, so it’s ok.” says Gyllenhaal. “And as soon as I said Greece, we were unstoppable. Three weeks later we were in Greece.”
Australian director Jason Raftopoulos summed up his decision to shoot perfectly voices in the depths in the Greek capital: “Athens has been a place where the lives of millions of people crossed for centuries. It is a city that has been both conqueror and conquered, a place of great enlightenment and great oppression, a meeting point of religions, ideas and sexual ambiguity. For these reasons I chose Athens as the setting to explore ideas of time, despair, identity and freedom.”
Constantinos Yiannakodimos is Press Advisor, Office of Public Diplomacy, Consulate General of Greece in Sydney