Philip Fertis is involved in puppetry, but due to the pandemic, the demand for performances in schools and municipalities is low. To make ends meet, he works as an extra in films. And in the last two years, he has appeared in 17 productions, with at least half of them being from overseas.
As Fortune reports, Greece is becoming a hotspot for foreign films lately, attracting big Hollywood productions, well-known actors and equally big budgets.
Nowadays, the sight of crews shooting films, documentaries or commercials in Athens is common. The industry in Greece may still be in its infancy, but it is growing at a high rate.
As the American magazine notes, the incentives given in 2018 to attract foreign producers have since improved and now give a 40% cash rebate on expenses, compared to the 30% offered by Turkey and Spain.
“The success of the incentives has surprised many in Greece,” the publication says.
So far, 171 film productions have joined the rebate system, of which 79 are foreign, bringing in €255 million in investment. These productions have employed 42,000 people. And the budgets are getting bigger and bigger as the Greek film industry matures. According to Fortune, the budgets of productions made in Greece are usually in the ballpark of €20 million, whereas in previous years they were no more than €3 million.
The summer months were packed, with films such as Netflix’s “Go” starring Daniel Craig and Edward Norton, and “The Enforcer” with Antonio Banderas.
In the last few days, there is buzz that the next Expendables movie, starring Andy Garcia, Megan Fox and Sylvester Stallone, will be shot in Thessaloniki in early November.
As Panos Kouanis, head of the National Centre of Audiovisual and Communication (EKOME), tells Fortune, the increase in demand is “crazy.”
Among Greece’s advantages are the long hours of sunshine, which allow crews to cram a lot of filming into one day, bringing down production costs.“But not everyone is happy with the success. Critics say the government has given away too much in its attempt to draw large productions, adding that other crucial sectors also need the generous assistance,” Fortune notes.
Lefteris Kretsos, who initially introduced the incentives in 2018 as deputy digital policy minister under the previous Syriza government, describes the recent changes as “being problematic and driven by short-termism.”
“There are teething problems, but we are catching up. The movie industry in Greece is showing a lot of promise, and people are realizing this,” a film official notes.
This article was previously published in Greek at moneyreview.gr.