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It’s All Greek To You

No stranger to Bollywood productions, Greece offers fresh locations ranging from heritage to pristine natural landscapes

Greece is a country in South-East Europe and is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Few countries can boast a heritage as important to Western civilisation as Greece.

A range of historic landmarks remind one of the days when the great Greek emperors and writers made their mark on the development of science, literature and democracy. No less than 17 of those monuments are listed as World Heritage Sites. However, the many charming little islands, sandy beaches and picturesque, whitewashed coastal towns are at least as much a reason to shoot in this Mediterranean country.

The visual wealth of the Greek hinterland is, in essence, virgin territory. The need for new images in the film industry has led to a boom in optical effects and the quest for visually pristine locations. At a time when the film industry has exhausted, visually, many regions of the planet, Greece offers a wide variety of natural locations that are rich in unique historical monuments and traditional architecture.

Athens, the capital of Greece and its largest city, is also one of the oldest cities in the world, with a recorded history of roughly 3,400 years. Apart from its inspiring, breathtaking scenery and natural beauty, the country also offers modern infrastructure for handling international film productions, production companies with a record of participations in international productions, experienced crews and service companies that can provide you with the necessary equipment.

Climate

Summers are warm/hot with a distinct three-month dry period. The wettest season is winter when it is generally mild although cold spells can occur. Snow in winter in the mountain regions is frequent and not uncommon elsewhere although it is rare on the islands. Spring and autumn are short seasons with changeable weather.

Incentives

The Greek Film Centre, the institution for the support of the cinema sector in Greece, provides conditional funding for cinema productions in Greece, co-produced by Greek producers. Also, a VAT rebate system is being implemented. Accordingly, citizens from countries with which Greece has signed double-taxation treaties and EU countries, enjoy the benefits of the agreements.

A new cinema law has also been voted, aiming to encourage investment in Greek audiovisual works. A step in this direction is the establishment of the Hellenic Film Commission as a separate department in the Greek Film Centre, which has already started a long-term campaign to engage with local communities on issues relating to the accommodation of foreign film productions. Many local authorities have joined the campaign by cooperating with the Hellenic Film Commission.

According to the recently approved tax-shelter system, incentives are also introduced to boost audiovisual productions in Greece. Taxable persons in Greece (for example VAT-registered businesses) will therefore be able to benefit from a tax deduction amounting to 40 per cent of the sum invested in audiovisual works, provided that their business activities are not part of the audiovisual industry.

If persons employed or directly linked to the audiovisual industry wish to invest a sum, the percentage of the deduction is limited to 20 per cent. The procedure takes place through the Greek Film Centre, which provides the mechanism that ensures the optimal implementation of this new law.

Permits

A general filming permit is no longer required to shoot in Greece and one only has to contact the local authorities. For any shots in facilities such as archaeological sites, etc, a special permit is required that can be obtained from the competent authorities. For aerial and underwater shots, a special permit from the competent authorities is also required.

As a member of the Schengen Agreement, Greece grants the uniform visa – also known as the Schengen visa – for short stays of up to three months every half year within the policy area. Longer stays are subject to a national visa.

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