Why more and more foreign movies and TV series are being shot in Greece
In 2021, the major foreign film and television productions that chose Greece for filming multiplied. Ten very big films or series were shot all over the country, with a budget of 8 to 20 million euros each: from “Rise” (formerly “Greek Freak”) about the life of Giannis Antetokoumpo that was shot in Sepolia, to a sequel to “Knives out” with Daniel Craig in Porto Heli or “Crimes of the Future” by David Cronenberg with Viggo Mortensen, in Attica and Fthiotida.
This is the positive response of the international market to very strong incentives, such as cash rebates(cost recovery, today at 40% for eligible costs). Corresponding incentives have been valid for decades in other countries and have been introduced in the last four years in Greece.
The new journalistic research of diANEOsis, by the Senior Editor of the organization Ilias Nikolaidis, records both the impact of these measures on the local market and the significant prospects in an industry that is changing rapidly.
Why it’s an opportunity
The audiovisual sector in Greece, quantitatively, is quite limited in relation to the rest of the Greek economy: 433 million euros or 0.26% of GDP in 2018, according to ELSTAT.
The industry has significant potential to grow, according to the survey. In other countries the same activities are twice or larger in relative size. In Finland, the industry has a gross value added of 1.06 billion euros, or 0.45% of GDP.
It is also worth mentioning that large foreign productions indirectly benefit other sectors, such as tourism. In the 2008 season, after the screening of “Mamma Mia!” shot in Skopelos, Skiathos and Pelion, tourism in the area was increased by about 5% compared to the year before.
Through the cash rebate scheme in the last four years a total of 176 projects have been financed, 94 domestic and 82 cross-border (usually co-productions) or foreign, with a total budget of 252 million euros.
According to EKOME, the public company that implements the cash rebate, the productions that benefited, were filmed in 140 locations throughout Greece and created 43,746 jobs.
Establishing financial incentives for the development of the industry is generally a good investment, chosen by many European countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, 1 1 tax deduction for shooting is estimated to bring in 74 3.74 in tax revenue, while in France every € 1 in incentive funding brings back € 2.7 in taxes and insurance contributions. In Italy, finally, every 1 euro brings 1.4 euros in VAT and income tax.
What are the main problems?
According to the research of diANEOsis the main problems are identified in the following:
1) Although entrepreneurs respond positively to incentives, the specialized staff working in the country is not enough to meet the sharp increase in needs, local and imported.
2) Many Greek producers have been finding it difficult for months to find workshops for the fall of 2022 or even for 2023, for upcoming foreign and local productions.
3) The shortages of specialized staff highlight the need to create a reliable and new system of education, training and retraining of professionals in the industry, at all levels.
The market in Greece and in Europe
Every year, about 20 Greek feature films are shot at an average cost, which, in the absence of official data, is estimated at close to 700,000 euros. The cost of Greek films remains significantly lower than the average cost of fiction films in the EU, at 3.16 million euros for 2019.
But there are markets that present opportunities: In 2019, 162 European films were screened in the US and sold 36.1 million tickets, 62 were shown in China (20.4 million tickets) and 887 (non-German European) in Germany (12.2 million tickets).
In 2016, 416 European films, ie one fifth of all European films, were international co-productions.