Authentic, natural and cultural are words that best capture the essence of Romania. Located in South-Eastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and the Ukraine, Romania has a wealth of extraordinary, undiscovered locations in close proximity to each other. Bucharest is the capital and offers a diversity of looks ranging from gritty city streets through to old European grandeur. The Soviet-era Palace of Parliament is the second-largest building in the world.
Outside Bucharest, you can find Transylvanian looks, castles, classic interiors, Byzantine monasteries, old Saxon villages, winding roads, snowy mountains, white sandy beaches, haunted forests, lakes, rivers, mud volcanoes, offshore oil rigs and abandoned industrial estates.
Agricultural locales include sunflower, corn and wheat fields. The land that gave us the Dracula legend has no shortage of jaw-dropping castles perched precariously on rocky hilltops. The countryside is the heart and soul of Romania, where peasant culture remains a strong force and medieval ways prevail, as they do nowhere else in Europe. Romanians’ vivid imagination and intense spirituality have always been expressed through their architecture, music, crafts and traditions.
Forests are not the only location asset at Romania’s disposal. Famous locations like Cluj and Sighisoara are four to five hours north of Bucharest but it is possible to get remote and beautiful locations closer to the capital.
By European standards, Romania offers a very cost-competitive shoot day. Line item costs are low and a diversity of locations can be reached with little travel required. Of particular interest are Romania’s grand castles and palaces, which are much less expensive than options in Western Europe. Romania is also very well set up for cost-efficient studio shoots. Compared to other East European countries, Romania is generally less expensive than Croatia, Hungary or the Czech Republic, but more expensive than Bulgaria and the Ukraine. And it does not yet trade in the Euro.
Romania has a four-season climate. Winters (November to March) are cold and rainy with snow on the mountains. Spring (April to May) has wildflowers in full bloom. Summer (June to August) is hot and sunny. Fall (September to October) is mild with leaves changing colour. The best months to film for warm, sunny weather are between April and October.
Shooting In Romania
Though there are no tax incentives for foreign productions in Romania, the low labour costs and large quantity of good quality studio spaces make it an interesting place for international producers, especially since it has become part of the EU. The main responsibility for promoting film is the responsibility of a body called the Romanian Film Promotion, which provides information on locations and the production services available.
But there are no extraordinary restrictions or rules applied for shooting in Romania. There are no blanket city-wide permits but permission to shoot on most public locations is generally a quick and easy process. The local crew is non-union and efficient with negotiable buyouts. Romania works on a 12-hour day including a one-hour break for lunch with overtime rates negotiated on a case-to-case basis. For filming on the streets, or where temporary traffic control is needed, it is necessary to inform the local district police and request assistance.
Romania offers a high standard of studio work at very cost-competitive prices. There are three main studio complexes with large sound stages, production offices, workshops, props and water tanks. Studio lands include forest and lake back lots available for set builds. Romania has the standing sets of a Western Town, French Street, Medieval Village, Urban Street all fully equipped with contemporary houses. Romania has a good offering of locally based film equipment ranging from new digital cameras such as Alexas and Reds to lighting and grip equipment including a Technocrane.