Though a rising number of COVID-19 cases pushed Greece into its second lockdown on Nov. 7, production has continued apace since early summer, with the government putting its weight behind measures to ensure cameras continue to roll on film and television shoots despite the pandemic.
Principal photography on the Woody Harrelson-starring “Triangle of Sadness,” directed by Oscar-nominee and Palme d’Or winner Ruben Östlund (pictured), wrapped Nov. 13, even after cinemas, bars, restaurants and most non-essential businesses had shuttered across this Mediterranean nation. “The Lost Daughter,” an upcoming adaptation of the Elena Ferrante novel, written and directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and starring Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson, wrapped just days earlier.
“The efficiency and responsibility with which Greek production companies, like Faliro House and Heretic, serviced these demanding productions during the pandemic proves that Greece offers highly skilled Greek film professionals capable of working on all types of audiovisual works,” says Venia Vergou of the Hellenic Film Commission.
The film commission and the Ministry of Culture have worked together to introduce strict coronavirus protocols for all film and TV shoots, while the Greek government this summer raised the cash rebate from 35% to 40%. A new 30% tax relief for incoming film and TV productions has also been finalized, and can be used in combination with the rebate.
Such measures, Vergou insists, will help the local industry bounce back in 2021. “Policy makers and the authorities in Greece have realized the important impact of the audiovisual works on economic recovery from COVID-19,” she says.
A can-do attitude prevails. Vergou points to the cooperation between the industry and local authorities for the recent shoot of an ambitious Perrier ad campaign, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga with Oscar-nominated DP Phedon Papamichael, which she describes as “one of the biggest recent shoots in Greece.”
“Even in these unprecedented times,” she adds, “Greece is growing as a unique filming destination.”