The scoop: It’s cheap, has internationally experienced crews plus big studios and is loaded with landscapes.
With the dollar headed south, Romania looks like even more of a draw. Producers boast 30%-35% savings over Prague, 50% or more over London and up to 80% over U.S. prices. Costs have risen about 10% over the last year, but studios such as Castel still bend budgets to work with dollar-strapped U.S. producers.
CNC, the national film funding org, encourages Romanian producers to partner with foreigners, with limited funds going out to 20 or more films per year (through semiannual competitions), financing up to 55% of a budget up to around E300,000 ($402,000).
Last year, Romania was so booked it turned away films, but the situation is stabilizing with new soundstages and upgraded facilities.
Bonus: Got a big costume epic? Romania has one of the Continent’s biggest textile industries. Follow the lead of “Cold Mountain,” which created fabrics and costumes on the cheap locally, or build there and ship to shoots elsewhere in Europe.
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Shot there: “Borat,” via Castel Film; “Youth Without Youth,” Francis Ford Coppola’s return to independent, low-budget filmmaking; “The Dark Is Rising,” 20th Century Fox; “Town Creek,” from Lionsgate, directed by Joel Schumacher; “California Dreamin'” by Cristian Nemescu
Hot spot: Studio spaces are blossoming at both new (Kentauros) and established (Castel Film) studios, but newly expanded studio space at Media Pro Pictures (3,900 square feet on two new stages) were designed to attract the big studio pics heading farther east.