Plans are underway, according to the Greek Culture Minister himself, to set up a new Greek Film Commission whose goal is to attract film production to Greece.
The minister, Aristides Baltas told a local Athens radio station that a study is in the world, which will be released next month, creating a commission similar to film organizations in other countries whose main purpose is to make the country approachable to Hollywood and European production companies.
“They have this in all countries and we will launch one as well”, he said, adding that foreign film producers face mainly bureaucratic problems in Greece, become discouraged and then chose another country to make movies.
Filming in Greece has been a thorny issue over the years with successive governments promising to create such a commission to bring the business of filmmaking to the country, seen by many as the perfect place to shoot given the diversity of its terrain and natural beauty.
As recently as September of 2015 the production of the latest Bourne film abandoned plans to shoot in Athens and created a set of Athens in Tenerife in the Canary Islands, complete with anti-austerity demonstrations, fake Greek advertising— not to mention thousands of locals hired as extras and millions pumped into the local economy.
The Canary Islands Become Greece
Numerous other projects had intentions of filming in Greece but abandon plans for numerous reasons, namely the unfriendly government environment and bureaucracy involved in the process.
In the radio interview, Baltas said that foreign producers would be properly informed on all issues involving taxes and other regulations. He made no mention of creating incentive programs to attract new projects, including VAT tax exclusion, like so many other countries, in order to attract filming.
In the cover photo, Maya Vision International films a special about Sappho on the Greek island of Lesvos for BBC4.