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Filming in Greece

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Coronavirus Update: Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness, starring Woody Harrelson and Harris Dickinson, is one of the first large productions shooting in Greece as it reopens to international productions.

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter, adapted from Elena Ferrante’s novel, is also among the first international productions to shoot in Greece in Autumn 2020. Initially planned for a North American shoot, The Lost Daughter moved to Greece after the pandemic, and is currently filming with an all-star cast including Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley, Peter Sarsgaard and Paul Mescal.

Guidelines for filming in Greece were published in May. All travellers entering Greece by land are required to produce a COVID-19 negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Greece and complete an online Passenger Locator Form at least 24 hours before arrival.

Greece has increased its cash rebate incentive to 40% of production expenditure for feature films, documentaries, TV series, animated films and digital games.

Daughters, a German-Italian-Greek co-production was among the first European co-productions to re-start filming in Europe in June 2020 and the first to be shooting in Greece after the pandemic spread. The film, produced by Heimatfilm (Germany), Heretic (Greece), Similar (Italy), was shot on the island of Amorgos, one of the Cycladic Greek islands where Luc Besson made the iconic film Le Grand Bleu thirty-two years ago.

Michael Winterbottom retuned to film in Greece in 2019, for The Trip to Greece after filming the feature Greed in Mykonos in 2018. Steve Coogan, lead actor in both productions reflected on the experience in Greece saying “Filming is something unusual… sometimes the things you would be asking for might be breaking the rules, so we need people to be pragmatic and exercise a kind of flexibility. And we have found this in Greece”.

TV series The Little Drummer Girl was the first production to secure a permit for a night shoot at the Ancient Acropolis. The series also doubled locations near Athens for Palestine, Lebanon and the Greek island of Naxos.

The Greek mainland and its 6,000 islands cover locations from traditional villages and unique islands to beaches, forests, snow-capped mountains and volcanoes. The variety of locations appeals to a wide variety of commercial productions. Those looking for underwater or aerial shoots will find suitable infrastructure and technicians throughout the country.

The digital sector is a target area of growth within the Greek creative industries. Digital Games production, as well as VFX and animation work can access the 40% rebate.

Organizing arrivals for cast and crew from Germany, Italy and Athens to a Cycladic island was a challenge. However, our Greek co-producers and crew did a wonderful job and the island of Amorgos has welcomed us very warmly. Our Greek actors are wonderful. I couldn’t imagine the depth of character they’re building. I’m so happy to work with them. We are in love with Greece. Sometimes it feels like shooting in paradise.

Bettina Brokemper (Heimatfilm), Producer

Climate

Greece is an ideal place for shooting in exterior locations as weather conditions remain favourable for filming throughout the year.

Due to the country's geographical position, its rugged relief and its distribution between the mainland and the sea, it has a varied climate.

In the summer, dry hot days are cooled by seasonal winds called the meltemi, while mountainous regions have generally lower temperatures. The winters are mild in lowland areas, with a minimum amount of snow and ice.

Mountains are usually snow-covered. A common phenomenon is the occurrence of different climactic conditions during the same season (for instance, mild heat in coastal areas and cool temperatures in mountainous regions).

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