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It’s All Greek To You

As a filming locale, Greece seamlessly blends natural beauty with antiquity, not to mention boasting a vibrant nightlife

* Sanghamitra Gogoi

Greece is a glorious country blessed by nature and rooted in an ancient civilisation. In fact, it is best chosen if you’re looking for locales where nature blends with antiquity. Located at the South-East end of Europe, the country also boasts of many islands and mountains that will fire the imagination of any filmmaker.

Filming In Greece

The beautiful and well-maintained mainland and islands of Greece have been serving tourists for centuries. It has since won the hearts of filmmakers, including Indian producers, with films like TashanGameBang Bang and the recent Tiger Zinda Hai being shot here. The country is also blessed with a cinematic past with a vivid and versatile cultural history. If you’re looking to film vibrant and lively nightlife scenes, then this is the country for you.

Climate

Greece is blessed with a moderate temperature with a Mediterranean climate on the coastal islands, where rain showers are mild in winter. The summers scorch with frequent climatic precipitation. Rain is most abundant in the coastal region. But when spring comes, the weather is bright and sunny.

The best time to shoot in Greece is from June to mid-September. During this time, the summer is long and pleasant.

Economic Incentives

Greece is trying hard to work on boosting its economic incentives to draw international producers to film in the country. The Greek Parliament recently cleared a cash rebate of 25 per cent to cover part of the eligible cost of national and international audio-visual productions (documentaries, television series and video games). Productions therefore will need to spend Euro 5,000,000 from 2018 to enjoy this rebate. It must be noted that the Greek Film Centre (GFC), a public benefit non-profit legal entity, recently introduced a requirement that stipulates international film productions must have a local producer attached to their projects.

PERMITS

Filming permits are issued by archaeological, military, municipal and other competent authorities. There is no central or nationwide body responsible for issuing film permits. Also, filming permits vary from location to location. To film on a private property, one needs a permit issued by the owners of that property. In Greece, film professionals are experts at collaborating with international productions, from operating drones to post-production facilities. The services these technologies provide are world class.

 Article 36 of Law 3905/2010 on the Support and Development of Cinema states that:

  1. No permit is required to film (for cinema, TV etc.) in open-air spaces, except in the case of special permits provided for by law and issued by the relevant archaeological, municipal or other authority.
  2. Special conditions and restrictions are in force covering filming (cinematic or otherwise) in areas on Greece’s national borders. These regulations exist to protect Greece’s national interests and were put in place by a joint decision of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Culture and Tourism.

Documents by GFC/HFC

The Hellenic Film Commission (HFC) does not issue filming permits. It can, however, provide information related to the various authorities that do. It can also provide a letter to facilitate filming from the GFC to the competent departments and local authorities related to filming fiction films and television programmes.

The HFC can provide a certificate from the GFC which confirms that the script of the film in question does not promote violence, racism or sexism and is not in breach of any legislation in force in Greece. The certificate has to be submitted to the Ministry of Culture and Sport.

Getting There

A special visa is issued for the purposes of filming. Productions must contact the Greek Embassy in New Delhi.The average flight time from Mumbai to Athens is 10 hour and 10 minutes. Airlines like Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airlines, Qatar Airways, Swiss Airways and others fly to Athens. Flight timings are generally early morning or noon. The average cost per person is about rupees 31,000 one way.

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