American Film Market 2011: Territory Report
Romania continues to draw resourceful producers in need of dramatic backdrops and affordable crews — and to its credit, it draws shoots such as MPCA projects “William & Kate: A Royal Love Story” and “One in the Chamber” and actioners including “Six Bullets” without the aid of tax incentives or rebates. Neither type of sweetener is in the cards in the foreseeable future but that hasn’t slowed work from prolific MPCA, which has launched four productions at Bucharest’s MediaPro Studios.
Instead of rebates, international co-production pacts are the ones drawing productions. These deals make pics eligible for public coin if they meet various criteria for percentages of crew or cultural content, and are increasingly the default budget formula.
Spanish TV 3D docudrama “Dracula Meets Stoker” and Austria’s “Our Big Time” are recent examples, the latter partnering with local shingle LibraFilm, which typifies Romania’s eagerness to work with outsiders. Indeed, U.S.-based producers can partner with Euro projects to take advantage of the local film support system if they can work within the setup’s sometimes frustrating rules. Helping the process along, if indirectly, is the rise of Romanian production grants from the National Center for Cinema, which totals some $3.2 million this year, for which such co-productions should be eligible.
Orgs such as Romanian Film Promotion remain relatively healthy and active — arguably an achievement at a time when those in neighboring countries have all but collapsed under burdens of debt and austerity measures.
Meanwhile, the busiest facilities, Castel and MediaPro, continue to hum with activity, and the latter has now become the source of growing slates of original programming for TV, in particular skeins for Central European Media Enterprises, the five-country web launched in the region in the mid-’90s by Ron Lauder.
Castel has been hosting several Hollywood projects, from Nicolas Cage starrer “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” to History miniseries “The Hatfields and McCoys: An American Vendetta.”
Alongside its 16 soundstages, MediaPro’s post facilities in Bucharest, which now include advanced vfx and 3D suites with well-trained techs, attract projects in need of slick processing — “Saw VII 3D” is one — from modeling to compositing and Rotoscope work.
Crew depth is sound for at least two major productions.