I just spent a few days on location in Belgrade, Serbia on a movie set and I thought I would share some of the experience in this blog.
Firstly, why do films shoot on location?
- Film is a visual experience & filmmakers look for ‘cinematic’ imagery – so, is there a location that has never been seen?
- Iconic locations audiences love to see.
- The desire for something different – does the location have futuristic cities; undiscovered countryside; unique urban environments.
- Film sets are easy to use – everything can be built and the camera has easy access. However, it is expensive to build sets.
- Location shooting offers a choice i.e. stages to shoot interiors; standing sets; local environments.
- Incentives – all movies, at all budgets, look to be cost effective.
- This is why rebates / incentives are popular across the world. e.g. THE WHITE CROW shot in the Serbia – and accessed the local rebate.
Serbia – as a location shoot
- Belgrade is a city that can double for other cities e.g. London, New York, Germany, Russia ..
- A few hours from Belgrade is beautiful countryside – it can even double for Japan (which, if you’re a European production, will mean cost savings).
- Costs – Serbia is around 40% cheaper in terms of production costs – a big difference when budgeting your film.
- Incentives – a 25% cash rebate for shooting in Serbia. Applicable on spend. (not VAT – which is 20% on goods / services and 10% for hotels)
- This rebate applies to features, animation, VFX, documentaries etc.
- The 2019 fund is set at EUR7.5m with no cap on film budget.
Belgrade Film Festival
- Belgrade Film Festival is now in its 47th year.
- It has four main sections – “The main competition programme” – international selection; “Serbian Film” – national selection; “Frontiers” – subversive, controversial and arthouse films; and movies from the region that compete for “Nebojša Đukelić” Award
- This year’s Festival takes place 22 February – 3 March 2019
- Belgrade is an easy city to get around.
- It is a “film friendly” city and the local people and officials want to embrace filmmakers.
- The city makes access as simple as possible – especially when applying for permits and clearances.
- There are film studios with good sound stages within each reach of Belgrade, the capital city.
- Belgrade is an ‘east meets west’ destination – a hub for shooting across the region.
- The local currency is the Serbian Dinar (but US dollars and Euros are widely accepted).
- Local language is Serbian but English is widely spoken.
- Population is 7.5 million; area of 88,361 sq. km
- Nightlife is good – there are great bars, restaurants and cafes.
- Air Serbia is the national carrier. Flying in 2.5 hours from Belgrade to many European destinations.
- Weather – Serbia has four seasons – with cold winters, hot summers & moderate annual rainfall.
For more information on location shooting a movie in Belgrade, Serbia check out the Serbia Film Commission.