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Apart from unique locales, the unveiling of a brand new film incentive programme makes Serbia a hotspot for film and commercial shoots

Serbia, officially the Republic of Serbia, is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans. Serbia offers a well-developed film infrastructure and a comprehensive set of production services. In general, Serbia is a cost-competitive place to shoot.

Serbia borders Hungary to the north; Romania and Bulgaria to the east; the Republic of Macedonia to the south; and Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro to the west. The capital of Serbia, Belgrade, is among the largest cities in Southeast Europe.

Belgrade is emerging as a hot, new destination for international, feature, commercial film markets. Serbia offers low production costs, highly skilled creative talent, scenic locations and a solid industry infrastructure. And there’s more. Belgrade buzzes with an unparalleled energy, from the sublime to the extreme. The city’s frenetic nightlife, cool urban edge, bohemian vibe and safe streets are sure to please even the most discerning customer. Beyond Belgrade, Serbia offers a range of scenery that can serve diverse location needs, from villages, to rivers, mountains and forests. The country’s unique architecture reflects Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman influences, offering rich, distinct backdrops for a variety of productions.

Serbia trades in the Kuna, which offers a favorable exchange rate for visiting international productions. Belgrade is the main production centre and all must travel from there. Serbia boasts an array of various film friendly locations, from a unique mixture of architectural styles to scenic natural and exquisite historical sites – fortresses, castles, villages and the magnificent Danube. Serbia is nestled in the heart of Europe. Its cosmopolitan capital is more than accessible, with over 220 flights in and out. It is a maximum two-hour flight from over 35 major European ports and cities.

Climate

Serbia has a mild, continental, four season climate. The north of Serbia and the upland regions have a continental climate, with typical cold winters and hot summers. The summer months of June to August offer a lovely hot climate and little rain. Precipitation is moderate throughout the year, and includes snow during winter. The mountains experience heavy snowfall, and the ski season is generally from December to April.

Incentives

Serbia has introduced a brand new film incentive programme, which covers commercials alongside film and television productions, making it the first country in Eastern Europe to offer an official incentive for commercials. The country now offers a 20-per cent cash rebate for productions filming on location, with this year’s deadline being set for September 30.

Under the new scheme, the required minimum spend for commercials is €100,000. This increases to €300,000 and €150,000 for film and television, respectively. While there is no cap on the amount that can be claimed per project, the scheme does have an annual budget of €3.2 million. The Serbian Government has implemented a seven-day notice period with the rebate to ensure quick results for all future applicants.

International producers can apply via a Serbian service production company or a Special Purpose Vehicle – a company registered in Serbia for the sole purpose of carrying out a particular production. All costs are incurred by the production and paid to Serbian companies and individuals during the shoot for the purchase or rental of goods and services in Serbia and for the use of Serbian locations.

Minimum Local Spend

  • Feature films, TV films and TV series: €300,000
  • Animated film, audio and/or visual coproduction of an audiovisual work: €150,000
  • Special-purpose film/TV commercials: €100,000
  • Documentary films: €50,000

Application Requirement

  • Power of attorney to apply for the programme (granted by the foreign investor/producer) and a contract between the foreign production company and a local service provider
  • Power of attorney granted by the royalty holder
  • Synopsis and the format of the film
  • A list of the relevant crew members for production of the film
  • A production budget overview, with cost specification and presentation of the budget to be spent in the Republic of Serbia
  • Proof on the foreign origin of funds for the film production expenditures in the Republic of Serbia
  • Schedule of activities underlying production of the film in the Republic of Serbia
    A list of films the applicant production participated in, that is, members or participants in such production (reference list)
  • Other data or documentation envisaged by the committee Any film that receives Serbian funds under this decree must contain (1) language specifying that the Republic of Serbia financially supported the film’s production and (2) a visual representation of the special national brand of the Republic of Serbia logo, in a visible place, in all versions, copies and screenings in various markets.Untitled9
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