The Greek government has promised to make Greece ‘film friendly’ with new incentives for the local industry and international producers. The move follows last year’s adoption of a legal framework for the development of the country’s audiovisual sector, and at its heart is a 25 per cent cash rebate to film and TV companies producing in Greece.
The scheme covers the whole audiovisual media sector, including fiction and documentary films, TV programs, animation, and games. Under the new system, Greek or international production companies can apply for a refund of up to 25 per cent of eligible production expenses, if the expenses are realised on Greek territory. A minimum of €100,000 has been set for eligible expenses incurred in Greece, while the maximum amount of funding, via cash rebate, is set at €5 million.
Production companies can apply by setting up a branch in Greece, or by recruiting a Greek company to execute the production. Applicants will also have to pass a ‘cultural test’ that values the project’s relevance “to the cultural, historical, geographical and touristic singularity of Greece”.
Devised to complement other EU member-state film support schemes, the overall aid amount for international co-productions is limited to 60 per cent of total production costs. Productions that fall under a category described by the EU as ‘difficult’ audiovisual works i.e. a first or second-time director’s or producer’s work; an independent low budget production; or projects that are deemed ‘commercially difficult’, up to 70 per cent of production costs may be applied for.
In a statement to media, Greece’s National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication (NCAMC) promised a “smooth and fast” process to the application process, with decisions made in less than 45 days.
In 2017, Greece’s Minister for Digital Policy, Nikos Pappas, described the scheme as a means to reinvigorate the recession-hit domestic production industry, and that it could “tone up the local economy in many sectors that are directly or indirectly influenced.”
Paxos Kouanis, CEO of NCAMC which is administrating the program, said: “This is a cash rebate system like they have in most countries around us. We want the new incentive to boost fiction, the kind of fiction that is expensive and high quality.”
Australian producers looking to establish productions in Greece are advised to contact the Hellenic Film Commission for initial assistance at filmcommission.gr