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Culture Ministry Aims to Make Greece Appealing Filming Location

The creation of a film commission, setting up special units of the Central Archaeological Council in key locations and offering tax incentives topped the agenda of Culture Minister Nikos Xydakis’ meeting on Thursday, with the new board of the Greek Film Council (GFC) as part of its plans to make Greece an attractive filming destination and promote Greek productions abroad.

“We need to coordinate our efforts, and we expect to do so very soon,” the ministersaid, adding that Greece must keep up with European competition and referring to the benefits for the economy and for tourism.

“Until now there had been no tax facilitation system in place while public entities viewed foreign film productions with some hesitation,” he said.

Scenes of the film 'The Two Faces of January' - starring Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst - were shot at the Acropolis and at other Greek locations

Scenes of the film ‘The Two Faces of January’ – starring Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst – were shot at the Acropolis and at other Greek locations

Mr Xydakis said that the finance ministry has agreed to introduce tax breaks for foreign film productions, which will foresee tax return in cash or transferable tax credit, pointing to the examples of Malta, Croatia and Bulgaria, where some 40-50 film productions are carried out annually providing tax returns of around 25-30 percent.

He added that the ministry was looking into setting up Central Archaeological Council units across Greece so that they can authorize film productions on the spot.

“Every year we have requests for filming in everything from prehistoric settlements to Byzantine castles,” he said. “In this way, permits will be issued faster provided of course that archaeologists and guards supervise the activities so that no damage is done to the monuments.”

The minister also proposed the creation of a Film Commission, a national committee which will facilitate filming in Greece and act as a go-between.

In the meantime, GFC President Alexis Grivas stressed the need to boost Greek productions, proposing a more flexible funding plan.

“We want to see awards and distinctions for Greek productions at international festivals be translated into commercial clout,” Mr Grivas added.

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