Family Film’s Georgiana Doman on filming in Serbia and the country’s new incentive rate
Ever since installing its own dedicated film incentive, Serbia's production industry has seen huge growth in just a short period of time. With a newly expanded incentive rate now in tow, its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. We spoke to Georgiana Doman, head of Family Film's Belgrade Office to hear about the experience of working in Serbia and how the new incentive rate might affect the industry.
What can Serbia offer to international producers?
Serbia has recently increased its tax rebate for all productions to 25% and it is one of the few countries worldwide to extend this rebate to commercials and short films. Serbia has world class studio facilities, state of the art equipment, English speaking crew and diverse shooting locations. It's a simple and efficient process to apply for permits to shoot in most places in Serbia and we offer a competitive bid to our clients interested in shooting in this region.
What location types are unique to Serbia?
Serbia has an incredibly diverse set of locations to offer (modern, medieval, national parks, mountains). It’s really interesting for our clients if they need to shoot in multiple locations as we can offer them all within easy traveling distance. For example, Kalemegdan Fortress which is situated on the convergence of the Sava and Danube rivers (in an urban area of modern Belgrade) can be used for shoots as a castle, fortress, ruined city or just as a park.
Other noteworthy locations include Tara Mountain (part of the Dinaric Alps), Devil’s Town (which is a peculiar rock formation and a nominee in the New Seven Wonders of Nature campaign), National Parks like Kopanoik, Derdap (with its fortress Golubac), cities like Belgrade (the capital and largest city in Serbia), Novi Sad (the second largest city in Serbia) and Niš (one of the oldest cities in Europe).
What are the implications of the new incentive rate?
Over the past few years, Serbia has seen an exponential increase in overseas productions shooting locally. The tax rebate programme has given a massive boost to the Serbian production industry, making it a very film-friendly destination. In addition, no visa is required for passport holders from a variety of countries. Film Centre Serbia is very organised and efficient and can provide aid to all production and production service companies.
What projects have you recently worked on?
Our Belgrade office is relatively new, having only been in operation since December but we've already provided services for a few projects. We've been quite busy and we'd like to thank our clients for their support and interest. Family Film has offices in Romania and Hungary and with the addition of Belgrade office, we are now able to give location and cost options for any brief, from all our three offices.
Are there any aspects of filming in Serbia that people should be aware of beforehand?
Nothing major. We can confirm based on our own experience while setting up shop that the local authorities are quite helpful and try to expedite all processes. We agree with all the global surveys that claim Serbia to be one of the friendliest countries!
Shooting in Serbia is similar to shooting anywhere else in this region - organised chaos most of the time, wearing multiple hats and working seemingly impossible schedules and deadlines. You just need to be prepared as with any shoot.
Georgiana, thank you for your time.
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