Magazine article Variety

Greece Sets Incentive to Boost Filming

Magazine article Variety

Greece Sets Incentive to Boost Filming

Article excerpt

In A long-awaited measure to bolster a country fighting to recover from an ongoing economic crisis and seeking to reposition itself in the world economy, the Greek government has introduced a 25% cash rebate it hopes will attract foreign film productions to the Mediterranean nation.

Greece's new incentive is substantial. A total of €450 million ($547 million) has been allocated for the new program over the next six years, offering foreign productions a 25% rebate on all qualifying local spending, with a minimum spend of €100,000 (around $122,000) and a €5 million (roughly $6.1 million) cap.

"I think the impact will be huge," says Venia Vergou, director of the Hellenic Film Commission, who explains that the rebate will offer Greece a chance to capitalize on its rich natural and historic bounty. "We have amazing archaeological sites that no other European country has."

In the past decade, Greece has struggled to attract high-profile foreign productions that were drawn to neighboring countries with competitive tax incentives. The most recent setback came last year, when "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" chose to shoot in Croatia. Vergou says the failure to attract the sequel to the iconic 2008 musical comedy that lensed on the Greek island of Skopelos was a particularly tough blow to the local film industry. "After losing 'Mamma Mia,' many people actually felt ... what that loss meant," she says.

American writer-director Steven Bernstein, who moved to Greece in 2016 and is building a film studio on the island of Syros, sees the incentive as an important sign of progress. …

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