Written by Rowena Carr-Allison on Dec 23, 2009. Posted in On Location

Dubrovnik as a destination for filming

Dubbed the ‘Jewel of the Adriatic’, Dubrovnik is a beautiful, fortified town that sits majestically above the glittering waters of the Adriatic. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has had a total facelift, so brilliantly done, that it appears totally timeless.

During the 60's Dubrovnik drew Hollywood’s finest - from Yul Brenner to Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren. Recent big shoots in town have included the Casanova TV mini-series starring Peter O’Toole and a commercial for Celebrity Cruises. Today, the film festival is again drawing big names like Kevin Spacey and Owen Wilson but the industry is slower to follow.

The range of locations on offer in and around Dubrovnik is unique, from the Old Town’s alleys and streets which pass as Paris, Florence or even Venice’s canals, to the intact 15th Century city walls, jails and catacombs. There are also the islands with their sandy beaches – Mljet and Korcula are the most popular.

The area has a number of museums and grand summer villas and just 20km away is Konovle which is known as the Croatian Tuscany: the perfect alternative to Greece or Provence. Another option is shooting on the Adriatic’s crystal clear water. The city is home to two 16th Century replica galleon ships.

As for the logistics, using locals is key. The city prefers to deal with known entities. There are costs involved for permits but there is no fixed price list. It depends, on the time of year, what is involved and who is making the arrangements.

The rule is that cooperation is forthcoming with those who are trusted. It’s all about individual relationships, so having a good reputation is essential. It also helps to know the unspoken rules and regulations. The conservation department is said to be fierce, but can be flexible if handled properly.

Erika Milutin, a Dubrovnik local and Executive Producer started Embassy Films to service the film industry. She says:

“Although we are not yet as movie friendly as Hungary or Bulgaria in terms of tax breaks, we thought this was a great location for shooting, and we happen to be from here! We have a lot to offer including fantastic locations, great English speaking support crew, a good address book and we are working towards setting up a film commission to make things easier.”

As for work permits, none are required for crew or cast staying under one month, while smaller productions like photo shoots can operate 'under the radar' without the required paperwork.

What else? Erika smiles:

“We also have great food, and a good hotel network, like the Adriatic luxury hotels that is very film friendly. And we have a reputation for throwing the best wrap parties!”

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