Rich with culture and history, the Rep ublic of Macedonia presents a unique canvas and is a cost-effective location for film shootings. An independent country since 1991, it is oozing with tourist attractions that range from large tectonic lakes, the Shar Mountains, the historic Mavrovo National Park with pine forests and blue waterfalls to a thriving night life.
Magnificent and beautiful snow-clad mountain peaks present a landscape that is apt for summer as well as a pristine white wonderland in winter.
As mentioned above, Macedonia boasts a spectacular natural landscape that includes valleys, mountain ranges, rivers, lakes and waterfalls. It also has 1,000 churches and monasteries with 4,200 archaeological sites. A huge bonus for filmmakers is the 280 sunny days a year.
A recent law passed in Macedonia might benefit filmmakers. The government is granting 20 per cent of the gross expenditure incentives for investment in films and television projects with low taxes; VAT of 18 per cent, which will be valid to taxable sales and imports; and personal income tax of 10 per cent from copyright and industrial property rights depending on the type of work. The country also provides quality post-production services to both national and international movie makers.
Macedonia is divided into distinctive statistical regions:
Macedonia has two seasons – moderate Mediterranean and moderate continental. The average annual temperature is 15˚C. If you want to experience the warm sun, then July is the perfect time to shoot. If you want it icy, then January is the ideal time to go. Rainfall is scanty, with an average annual rainfall of 742 mm.
The protocol to film in Macedonia is complex, with filmmakers having to go through various procedures while entering the country. It is recommended that overseas filmmakers team up with a local Macedonian production company so that they receive assistance while executing their projects and adhere to the policies as required. Funding for international projects is provided from various public and private sources by the co-production companies.
Foreign citizens shooting in Macedonia on a temporary basis do not need any working permit but if they stay for more than 90 days, they have to apply for a temporary residence permit. If you are staying in Macedonia through a local service provider or a co-production, then you are automatically registered by the hotelier or a Macedonian partner.
To enter Macedonia, a passport must be valid for three months. Visa is not necessary for US, UK and EU nationals but for people from other nations like India, it is. If there is no Macedonian diplomatic mission or consular post in the applicant’s country, a visa application may be submitted to the nearest Macedonian diplomatic mission/consular post.
MACEDONIAN FILM INCENTIVES & CO-PRODCUTION FUNDING
As part of the new film industry law in Macedonia, the government is making a concerted effort to attract international film projects to the country. Incentives are available in the form of a cash refund of 20 per cent on qualifying Macedonian spend.
Funding for various international films is limited to:
Films supporting Macedonian national interest
Films promoting Macedonian culture and history
Feature films, short films, documentaries, animation and television films and series
Funds for organising domestic festivals with international characters
The journey from Mumbai to Macedonia via Istanbul takes an average 17 hours and 25 minutes. Timings vary with different airlines.
Macedonia has two international airports – in Skopje and Ohrid. The Skopje airport is 15 km away from the main city.
Anita Stojcheska, an executive from the Macedonia Film Agency, explains the rebate for our readers:
“Since 2014, we have implemented measures for stimulating investments for film and TV productions – 20 per cent cash rebate – which is regulated by the Film Industry Law. The cash rebate is aimed at film producers who have invested funds in Macedonia for filming a feature, documentary, animation or television film or series. They can acquire the right to receive a refund of the amount equal to 20 per cent of the gross expenditures made in Macedonia for the filming of the film/television project.
To become eligible for the rebate, you must have a minimum spend of EUR 100,000 in Macedonia. This amount must be spent for eligible expenditures, which can be found on the list published on the official website of the Macedonian Film Agency.
Also, the application for a refund must be submitted by an authorised representative – a film producer — from Macedonia with a film production as its registered dominant activity, that has made and publicly exhibited at least one feature film as a producer or co-producer and is authorized by contract to act as a producer, co-producer or provide production services in relation to the refund procedure.”