Gollywood: More feature films shot, produced in Greece

ATHENS — Reluctant, indifferent and even hostile to the idea of ​​letting Hollywood and foreign filmmakers use the country’s locations as backdrops for their films, Greece is now embracing the idea and attracting the big names.

They join the strange wave of Greek directors who are making more films in their home country and attracting international attention to tourists as well as producers, enticing them with big state incentives, it works.

In an article on the phenomenon, Constantinos Yiannakodimos, press adviser for the office of public diplomacy at the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney, wrote for FilmInk that “Greece has quickly become a haven for filmmakers, not just tourists. , with Hollywood and many foreigners. production companies that explore its rich and diverse landscape for cast, crew, and sets, while taking advantage of the generous tax incentives and support services on offer.

Well, it’s free publicity for the New Democracy government, of course, but also part of the siren song that brings top actors and filmmakers to Greece like Ulysses Returns Home.

Just years after the BBC faced fierce opposition to film part of a TV series near the historic ancient site of Cape Sounion, some 48 miles southeast of the seaside capital Athens.

Now even the Parthenon and the Acropolis are no longer off limits, and Greece has rolled out the welcome carpet and the red carpet at the same time, with a state film and television production office offering generous filming subsidies.

“With an architectural landscape that spans all periods of human history, Greece is the perfect film set, a decorator’s dream, offering unrivaled values ​​and production possibilities,” he wrote.

He noted that the turning point mostly started in 2017 – when the radical leftist SYRIZA was in power – after the creation in 2015 of the National Audiovisual and Communication Center (EKOME), which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Digital governance.


It offers cash rebates for cost reimbursement ranging from 25% to 40%, which funded 176 projects from 2018 to 2022 and are still ongoing, including 94 domestic co-productions and 82 cross-border or foreign co-productions.

EKOME estimates they were shot in 140 locations across Greece with 10 major productions in 2021 with budgets up to 20 million euros ($20.72 million) from companies including Disney and Paramount and released on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Apple and Amazon.

Speaking to the Hellenic Film Commission, acclaimed Canadian director David Cronenberg said: “When I first wrote the screenplay for Crimes of The Future two decades ago, its location was ambiguous. But as the film materialized, we started to explore the possibility of shooting in Greece.

He said he was convinced after checking out the unique buildings and exteriors of Athens and its surroundings, “the incredible textures of an ancient city, the hypnotic presence of an ancient sea”.

He added: “Among those Athenian gifts was the passionate and diligent Greek cast and crew, who were great to work with. They went out of their way to make us feel welcome, and their hard work contributed to every frame in the final photo.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Maggie Gyllenhaal, director of The Lost Daughter, who filmed in Greece, said: “Out of nowhere, I said, ‘What about Greece?’ .. and as soon as I said Greece, there was no stopping us. We were in Greece three weeks later.

Australian director Jason Raftopoulos, who shot Voices in Deep in Athens, said he did so because “For centuries Athens has been a place where the lives of millions have intersected. It is a city that has been both conqueror and conquered, a place of great enlightenment and great oppression, a meeting place of religions, ideas and sexual ambiguity. It is for these reasons that I chose Athens as a setting to explore ideas of time, despair, identity and freedom.

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