From castles to cathedrals, mountain villages to Black Sea beaches… Georgia in Central Eurasia is a small country with mind-boggling diversity
Georgia is a sovereign state in Central Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the south-east by Azerbaijan. The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi. It is a mountainous country compared to other European countries, with the Likhi Range dividing the country into eastern and western halves. Due to this complex geographic setting, mountains also isolate the northern region of Svaneti province from the rest of Georgia.
Georgia, believed to be a jewel of Soviet architecture, has everything to charm film producers – the old Tbilisi quarter, Soviet apartment blocks and new modern buildings, castles, cathedrals, hill-top churches, a cave monastery, snow-capped mountains, Black Sea beaches and coastal towns, rivers, lakes, wineries, ski resorts and unique mountain villages.
Filming in Georgia is a dream for every filmmaker as the Georgian labour market is much cheaper than most European countries. No licence for filming is required and free filming on the street is the key to saving money.
The climate of Georgia is extremely diverse, considering the nation’s small size. There are two main climatic zones, roughly separating Eastern and Western parts of the country. The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range plays an important role in moderating Georgia’s climate and protects the nation from the penetration of colder air masses from the north. The Lesser Caucasus Mountains partially protect the region from the influence of dry and hot air masses from the south as well.
The wettest periods generally occur during spring and autumn while winter and the summer months tend to be the driest. Much of eastern Georgia experiences hot summers and relatively cold winters. Furthermore, thanks to its temperate continental climate, the country provides a wide range of possible weather types allowing the filmmakers to shoot all year round.
WHY FILM IN GEORGIA?
Filming permissions are easy to obtain in Georgia and the Georgian National Film Centre negotiates with local authorities on your behalf. Unlike many other European countries, Georgia has a very open approach to filming in public areas, on streets or on highways.
While Georgia is tiny, the diversity of its locations is amazing. Thanks to an efficient network of airports, rail tracks and roads, you can get from one location to another in record time.
Labour costs in Georgia are very low compared to those in neighbouring countries. Georgia provides tighter production schedules and is blessed with a stable political environment and moderate levels of taxation.
Georgian National Film Centre
The Georgian National Film Centre serves filmmakers by conducting research and providing information about the region. The Georgian Film Commission is a mediator between the filmmaker and the state when it comes to formalities and legal bondage. All functional international film organisations are eligible to receiving the support, if they are in compliance with the regulations under the Georgian legislation.
Standard VAT rate in Georgia is 18 per cent whereas income tax is 20 per cent and the profit tax in Georgia is 15 per cent. The tax rates are very low in Georgia compared to its European counterparts, making it easy for foreign filmmakers to film in the country.
Government Support For Film Production
Major forms of government support are available in Georgia for filmmakers, from funding to distribution, and from tax regulations to location hunting. If a film producer chooses Georgia for their film project to be shot in the country, the Georgian National Film Centre hosts a delegation for the international producer. Hence, legitimate contact can be made with local Georgian film producers and companies. This is aimed at revealing the country’s film potential so that international film studios will produce films in the country.
A jointly produced film may be considered national, if it was made in collaboration with the local film centre in compliance with international agreements and covenants. Hence, 50 per cent of the principle production on the film should be of Georgian origin. Services for jointly produced ventures include project development, pre-production, production, post-production, filming equipment rentals, and broadcasting solutions.
Many airlines fly direct to Tbilisi. Non-stop flights to Tbilisi are available from Istanbul, Riga, Munich, Prague, Frankfurt, Paris, Athens, Vienne, Amsterdam, Dubai and London. The flying time from Central Europe is 4 hours, and from North America 12 hours.