Ukraine is a versatile location that offers over a hundred castles, palaces and wooden churches, a variety of landscapes, and even doubles for Western Europe. Better still, it is about to introduce a generous cash rebate
Located at the crossroads of Russia and Europe, Ukraine offers a wealth of locations, ranging from futuristic Soviet architecture to onion-domed churches, from heavy industry to hundreds of castles and palaces, from endless wheat fields to snow covered mountains.
The capital Kiev is Ukraine’s main film production centre as well as the main entry point by air. Kiev offers Soviet-style apartment blocks, abandoned factories, production-friendly metro stations and airports, bridges, a huge interior bus parking lot, several new football stadia, city parks, wide boulevards, museums and orthodox architecture. Of particular interest is the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, a historic Orthodox Christian monastery, and the Golden Gate of Kiev, built in the 10th century.
A couple of hours’ drive from Kiev you can find the deserted Chernobyl city of Pripyat. In the west of Ukraine, you can find Lviv, a city that doubles well for Prague. Market Square is full of beautiful Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo buildings. Lviv also has a beautiful Art Nouveau railway station available for film shoots. Lviv enjoys close proximity to the Carpathian mountains, known for their deep forests, traditional Carpathian wooden churches as well as several ski resorts.
Heading south, the Black Sea city of Odessa is best known for the Potemkin Stairway, Odessa Opera House and a film friendly container port. In terms of agricultural looks available for filming, Ukraine has many apiaries, and wheat and sunflower fields. Ukraine is one of the more cost competitive film production centres in Europe. It’s particularly worth heading to Ukraine for studio builds and locations that double for both Western Europe and Russia.
A variety of Ukrainian landscapes and a wide natural zoning offer producers any possible landscape for exterior shootings. The country is washed by the Black and Azov seas to the South. Those coasts are quite diverse – sands, pebbles, cliffs, shallow waters and lagoons. Landscapes of the Carpathian and Crimean mountains differ from small hills with foliose and coniferous forests to crags and snow-covered hills. The floral world of Ukraine represented by forest, forest-steppe and steppe zone replicates many European landscapes – from Scandinavia to Mediterranean islands. Ukraine has about 116 castles, 110 palaces, 37 town halls, 124 wooden churches, several mosques and
Ukraine has a four-season climate. Summers run from May to September and are hot and dry. Winters run from November to March and are bitterly cold and snowy. The southern coast has more of a Mediterranean climate. Ukraine has a mostly temperate continental climate, although the southern coast has a humid subtropical climate. Lying in a temperate, continental climate zone, Ukraine has mean January temperatures of about –3°C in the southwest and –8°C in the northeast. The July temperatures are about 23°C in the southwest and 19°C in the northeast. The southern shores of the Crimea, between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, have a warm Mediterranean climate.
Why shoot in Ukraine?
Ukraine will soon be offering a cash rebate of up to 25 per cent for qualifying productions. Tax rebate on Ukrainian spending, with applying projects, shall require passing a cultural test. Ukraine is set to install its own system of film incentives after the draft law was passed by the country’s government on January 28 this year. Ukraine is filmmaker friendly and it takes four to 14 days to obtain permits to shoot at a municipal property area, 20 days if it’s top-security or governmental, and two to five days for private areas. Aerial shootings need additional permission only in case of shooting in the state border areas. There are no specific limitations for work conditions for children or animals. Liberal legislation, low prices and a variety of locations create conducive conditions for foreign filmmakers in Ukraine.