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Greece’s Steep Taxes, Tedious Bureaucracy Push Film Producers Away

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High taxes and bureaucratic hurdles are still turning away international filmmakers who may want to carry out productions in Greece but find it hard if not impossible to do so.

Producers from across the globe have repeatedly and for decades expressed interest to film productions in Greece but the country has failed to create a friendly environment for such endeavors.

The port of Syros. Photo by Theodoros Georntamilis

The port of Syros. Photo by Theodoros Georntamilis

The latest move was by Cannes Golden Lion winner Steven Bernstein, who expressed interest in setting up a permanent film studio on the island of Syros. Cyclades Deputy Regional Governor Georgios Leontaritis, however, was quick to point out that for the 6.5-million-euro investment to move ahead, Bernstein had requested the harmonization of Greece’s legislative framework for film production with the relevant EU legislation as well as the support of the local government and community once the project gets off the ground.

To add insult to injury additional “side costs” including fees for filming at archaeological or historic sites as well as actually getting the green light from public authorities to move ahead with production are time-consuming.

According to the Association of Greek Producers for Cinema, revenues to the tune of 2-3 million euros go into state coffers annually from foreign films shot in Greece. If legislative reforms are in place, income could reach an annual 30 million euros, including the added value of tourism promotion.

The culture, finance, development and tourism ministries are responsible for preparing a bill that would pave the way for incentives to attract film productions to Greece. The bill was set to be tabled in parliament in November last year, instead it was put on the back burner.

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