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World of Locations May-September 2015

World of locations Showcasing the world’s f ilm, TV & commercial locations

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38 Cover image Cover photograph taken by Kurt Arrigo for the Malta Film Commission UK office MBI, Zetland House, 5-25 Scrutton Street, London EC2A 4HJ Tel: +44 (0) 20 3033 4267 editorial supplement editor Louise Tutt screen International editor Matt Mueller Broadcast editor Chris Curtis



shots editor Danny Edwards Group head of production and art Mark Mowbray Group art director Peter Gingell Production manager Jonathon Cooke Contributors Nikki Baughan, Martin Blaney, Sarah Cooper, Sandy George, Melanie Goodfellow, Jennifer Green, John Hazelton, Geoffrey Macnab, Matt Mueller, Jean Noh, WY Wong Advertising and publishing Commercial director Nadia Romdhani +44 (0) 20 7391 4518 UK sales manager Scott Benfold +44 (0) 20 7391 4533 Germany, scandinavia, Benelux, eastern europe Gunter Zerbich +44 (0) 20 3033 2930 Italy, Asia, India Ingrid Hammond +39 05 7829 8768 VP sales & business development, north America Nigel Daly +1 323 654 2301 / 213 447 5120 Us sales and business development executive Nikki Tilmouth +1 323 868 7633 sales executives Luke Heywood +44 (0) 20 3638 5068 Lucy Tibbits +44 (0) 20 3033 2924 Chief executive, MBI Conor Dignam +44 (0) 20 3033 2717 Brought to you by

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World of Locations May − September 2015

04 Introduction Europe 06 United Kingdom 10 Ireland 12 France 14 Italy 16 Netherlands 18 Germany 20 Spain 24 Malta 26 Croatia 28 Slovenia 29 Russia 30 Czech Republic 30 Hungary 31 Austria 32 Poland

36 Scandinavia 38 Iceland North Africa & Middle East 41 Morocco 42 Abu Dhabi 43 Dubai Australasia & South Africa 44 Australia 46 New Zealand Asia 48 Taiwan 50 South Korea 52 Malaysia 56 Thailand

Latin America & Caribbean 58 Panama 60 Argentina 60 Chile 62 Colombia 64 Dominican Republic North America 68 California 70 Hawaii 72 New Mexico 76 Virginia 78 Illinois 80 Louisiana 82 New York 84 Mississippi 86 Oklahoma 87 Canada

Screen International, Broadcast and shots



European Funds for the development of the Lodzkie region. The project is co-financed by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund.


The city of Hull in northern England stood in for post-Second World War London in Ecosse Films’ A Royal Night Out

WELCOME Our third World of Locations report goes the extra mile to bring together practical advice and inspirational ideas from around the globe


uring my travels to film shoots around the world, I’ve visited the gardens at the pre-Revolutionary Palace of Versailles in Romania, a 1950s Athenian flea market in Istanbul, a Venice Beach surf shack on the Gold Coast of Australia and the mean streets of New York in Toronto and Vancouver. I’ve been back and forth in time across the UK, from the Roman era to the 22nd century, and visited fantasy worlds in New Zealand, Canada and Detroit. The point is that the world of locations is wide and wonderful, with no restrictions to what can be shot anywhere around the globe apart from a creator’s imagination — and, of course, the resources at a production’s dis-

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posal. In this age of globalisation, when relatively cheap travel and finding an internet connection in the remotest corners are accepted as absolutes, film and TV productions have more choice than ever before about where to take their project. Along with our sister publications Broadcast and shots, Screen International is proud to bring you the third edition of World Of Locations, drawing again on our international network of correspondents to deliver in-depth analysis of what key territories around the globe have to offer. World Of Locations delves into everything from tax incentives and funding opportunities to breathtaking locations, local support bodies

and production service companies. Speaking to producers and film commissions, we also report on studio facilities across territories, the strength of local crews and the realities, for cast and crew, of making a new country their home for the duration of a production. The world of locations is no longer brave or new. It’s a big business and it seems every country is keen to get in on the act. Ultimately, however, as well as the budgetary enticements, infrastructure support or jaw-dropping vistas that might make a production decide on a particular country (or perhaps even more than one), it’s about finding the best place for creative inspiration to prosper for your project. Matt Mueller, editor, Screen International

Screen International, Broadcast and shots

FILM IN SCOTLAND FOR THE PERFECT LOCATION E T +44 (0) 141 302 1723/35 North Uist, Outer Hebrides Photo: Allan Wright/Scottish Viewpoint


On the season five set of Game Of Thrones, Titanic Studios, Northern Ireland

United Kingdom James Bond, Macbeth, Arya Stark and the Rebel Forces all call the UK home, thanks to a stellar tax incentive and world-class crew and facilities. But has capacity peaked? By Geoffrey Macnab


t is boom time in the UK for international production. There was a massive surge in incoming shoots in 2014, thanks to both an enhanced tax incentive for feature films and a new mechanism to attract high-end TV dramas. There has also been an increase in the number of animated features and games filming in the territory. In the last year, UK facilities have

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housed some of the biggest titles being shot in the world today. These include Disney’s Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (Pinewood), Sony’s latest James Bond movie Spectre (Pinewood), Marvel Studios and Disney’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron (Shepperton), Warner Bros’ Pan directed by Joe Wright (Leavesden), Paramount Pictures’ Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (Leavesden), Ron Howard’s

In The Heart Of The Sea for Warner Bros (Leavesden) and Justin Kurzel’s Cannes Competition title Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender, for The Weinstein Company which shot on locations in Skye and throughout England. These are just the tip of the iceberg — and one of the ongoing issues for the UK is capacity: is there the studio space and crews to cope with the very high level of

demand? In the short term, that demand is not going to wane. In March, the government confirmed the rate of film tax relief will increase to 25% for all qualifying expenditure on big-budget films. Many UK facilities are working on expansion plans to meet the demand including Pinewood, which is expected to double its present size by 2018, and Ealing Studios, which is developing more »




FIRST FOR WORLD-CLASS FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCTION For generous tax reliefs for film and television, competitive costs, leading talent and crew, outstanding facilities and stunning locations, base your next production in the UK. With offices in the UK and US, the British Film Commission provides free, tailored support to major productions from development through to delivery.

The British Film Commission thanks its gold sponsors

Supported by @FilmInUK_BFC

World of locations United Kingdom

workshop and office space. When it opens, Pinewood Wales will host Relativity Media and The Weinstein Company’s remake of The Crow, and there is optimism that work may finally begin on a new studio complex in Scotland. Meanwhile, the refurbished West London Film Studios has hosted projects such as The Weinstein Company’s The Imitation Game and Channel 4’s TV series Misfits. Many film and TV productions are also using old warehouses or temporary studio space. For example, old Bristol factory The Bottle Yard was used by the BBC for Poldark and ABC’s Galavant, while Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude utilised a warehouse in west London. Historically, the UK’s popularity as a location for international film-making has ebbed and flowed, with periods of frantic activity followed by prolonged slumps. But many in the industry believe the paradigm has changed. “It’s not just about huge movies. It’s about

good to KnoW Don’t accept the received wisdom that London is “ridiculously expensive”. Film London prides itself on suggesting affordable solutions for film-makers working at all different budget levels.

the lowdown financial incentives

‘We’re developing production hubs around the UK and we have a bigger crew base than ever before’ Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude shot in Barnes, West London

Adrian wootton, Film london

a range of projects and a range of productions because we have a different suite of tax credits,” says Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London. “We’re developing production hubs and centres around the UK and we have a bigger crew base than ever before. We have a VFX industry and a post-production industry we didn’t have 10 years ago.”

Since April 2015, the minimum level of UK expenditure required to access the Film Tax Relief for a UK-qualifying film is now 10% of a film’s overall budget. The tax relief is now worth 25% of the qualifying UK production expenditure, no matter what is the budget. There is tax relief for video games, animation and television as well as for films. Further information www.britishfilm infrastructure

UK crews have an outstanding reputation but one issue is whether there are enough technicians of the required standard to cope with the upsurge in demand to shoot in UK. The territory is not just trying to attract production — it is flagging itself as one of the best places for post-production and VFX. locations

The UK offers everything from rugged, remote locations for historical dramas to modern city settings. There are many additional incentives to lure producers

World of locations


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to the most attractive locations. For example, regional agency Screen Yorkshire runs the $22m (£15m) Yorkshire Content Fund, with investment from the European Regional Development Fund, and has invested in films including Dad’s Army, Testament Of Youth, A Royal Night Out and Hunter’s Prayer. Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland also offer incentives. HBO’s Game Of Thrones has remained based in Belfast thanks to both the tax relief for high-end TV drama and production investment from the Northern Ireland Screen Fund. Where to stay

Crew and talent enjoy visiting the country. The A-listers have their familiar London haunts — hotels include Claridge’s and the Dorchester. Those shooting at Leavesden in Hertfordshire, some 20 miles northwest of central London, tend to stay in luxury country house hotel The Grove, which has a helipad. London has plenty of funky boutique hotels, including Ham Yard and The Soho Hotel, as well as The London Edition (formerly Berners Hotel). Those

The crews are extraordinary and have years and years of expertise. Then there is an excellent incentive programme in place in the UK.” Would he come back? Yes. What could be improved? Harrogate, Yorkshire, stands in for Switzerland in Jonathan Mostow’s Hunter’s Prayer

with families tend to hire private houses near Pinewood in Buckinghamshire, also around 20 miles out of town. london calling

The capital city has an obvious pulling power thanks to its hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, cultural life and rich history. Regular flights to New York and Los Angeles are an added attraction. getting around

The major UK studios (Pinewood,

Shepperton and Leavesden) are within fairly easy reach of central London. Traffic can be heavy and public transport is not always dependable but there are plenty of airports. Scotland, Wales and Ireland are all easily accessible from London, as are the other major English cities.

Even though there has been a huge investment in skills and training, Ketcham calls for more training of crew. “There will be more stage space available as Pinewood doubles its capacity. Right now, if I was to say I had yet another movie to get into London, I wouldn’t be able to find stage space. But a year from now, I believe there will be almost another full studio on line. To support those productions, it would be helpful that there is more crew trained. The UK has such excellent mentors to train them. Hopefully, in a year from now, there will be that many more available crew.”

Jerry Ketcham, senior vice-president, physical production, disney

first person to call

“There are top-notch facilities in London and Northern Ireland and an excellent workforce with plasterers and set builders.

Samantha Perahia, senior production executive, British Film Commission

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Ireland Dramatic vistas, experienced crews and a new upfront tax credit make Ireland a compelling choice for both feature and high-end TV productions. Sarah Cooper reports

On the set of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful

reland is becoming the go-to territory for returning high-end TV dramas. MGM/History Channel’s Vikings, Showtime’s horror series Penny Dreadful and the BBC’s Ripper Street have all chosen to base themselves there. The country’s international offer has become even sweeter thanks to its enhanced 32% tax credit which, unlike any other in the world, can be claimed upfront. It makes Ireland an even more compatible co-production partner, particularly with the neighbouring UK. Incoming productions shooting entirely on the island of Ireland can now theoretically access relief on 100% of their budgets via the Irish and UK tax credits. They are also eligible for further production funding from the Irish Film Board and Northern Ireland Screen. Ireland continues to attract a crop of international features, including Universal’s Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, and Disney’s Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. The latter shot on the island of Skellig Michael (just off the coast of County Kerry in south-west Ireland) and saw the Irish army and navy enforce a maritime exclusion and no-fly zone during the shoot.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

The Section 481 incentive has been upgraded this year from an investorbased scheme to an enhanced tax credit that applies to feature films, high-end TV drama productions, animations and documentaries. Projects can now claim on up to 32% (up from 28%) of eligible Irish spend (up to 80% of the total budget with a cap of $53m [¤50m]), which now includes cast and crew from any nationality rather than just from the European Union. Post-production costs also qualify for the tax credit, which has been in place since January 1, 2015. Further information www. Infrastructure

Irish crews are welcoming, skilled and professional, with strong heads of departments across the board.

GOOD TO KNOW Productions are increasingly choosing to carry out their post and VFX work in Ireland, thanks to the world-class facilities at post-production houses Windmill Lane and Screen Scene. A Good Day To Die Hard, for example, shot in eastern Europe, but came to Ireland for its VFX work.

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The country has two main studios: Dublin’s Ardmore Studios (where the second series of Penny Dreadful has now wrapped) and Ashford Studios in County Wicklow. Smaller studios include Dublin’s Blackthorn Studios, which has a soundproof 12,000 sq ft stage. Ireland can accommodate two large-scale long-running TV productions as well as numerous features shooting on location. The go-to production companies include Element Pictures and Octagon Films. Locations

Castles, mountains, beaches, lakes, rolling hills, ancient buildings and caves are all within a short distance of each other. Dublin has regularly doubled for Victorian London, with production costs around 10% cheaper than in the UK capital.

village, known as the ‘Irish Riviera’ and home to film-maker Neil Jordan and U2’s Bono. Enjoy the craic

Ireland is synonymous with friendly locals and lively nightlife. Crews can get their Guinness fix at Dublin pubs such as The Stag’s Head, The Long Hall and The Temple Bar pubs. Dublin’s two Michelinstarred Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is always a hit and the city’s Abbey Theatre offers world-class productions (John Logan is a regular when in town). While cast and crew can zip back to London or Paris within an hour, they often choose to take a road trip to Ireland’s stunning Atlantic west coast on their weekends off. Size matters

Where to stay

Cast and crew spread themselves across Dublin’s five-star hotels The Shelbourne (whose own private members club The Residence is popular with A-listers), the InterContinental (formerly the Four Seasons) and The Merrion. The Ritz, in the grounds of a stately home in Wicklow, is popular with cast based out of Ardmore Studios. On long-running TV shows, crew tend to stay in high-end corporate lets in the exclusive Dalkey

Both of Ireland’s major studios are within a 30-minute drive from the centre of Dublin and the airport. Dublin is a small city with relatively free-flowing traffic, and the country’s rural and coastal locations are never more than a couple of hours away.

Michael Hirst, creator and writer, Vikings

“Television production is more demanding than ever but our Irish crew is so professional, so creative and so generous that making the show is both thrilling and pleasurable. I look forward every year to returning to the small apartment in Dalkey that I rent. It’s right on the water and I can’t think of a more perfect place to sit down and write the saga of Ragnar Lothbrok.” Would he come back?

Yes. Hirst is shooting season four. What could be improved?

As a result of the influx of large-scale returning series, Ireland’s studios are often full, so Ireland could do with more sound stages. The government is currently looking into options. First person to call

Naoise Barry, film commissioner naoise.barry@

(Left) Vikings


Amazon Studios’ The Cosmopolitans

France France is a costly dream location. But a new and improved financial incentive could be a game-changer for the country in 2016. Melanie Goodfellow reports


ith its illustrious cinema heritage, creme-de-lacreme crews and studios, iconic monuments and variety of landscapes, France is a filmmaker’s dream — but there’s one hitch… it is an expensive place in which to shoot. But this may change as of 2016 when the Tax Rebate for International Production (TRIP), rises to 30% from 20% of eligible expenses and the cap per project is lifted to $32m (¤30m) from $21.4m (¤20m). These enhancements, combined with the weakness of the euro, are expected to increase the territory’s attractiveness to international producers. In the past 18 months, incoming shoots, usually in need of an authentic French backdrop, have included Lionsgate’s Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2; Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment’s Tamasha, directed by Imtiaz Ali and starring Bollywood actors Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, which shot for 16 days in Corsica; low-budget title The Five Misfortunes Of Francois Jane by Australia’s Patrick Pearse; Whit Stillman’s The Cosmopolitans pilot for Amazon Studios;

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Stephen Frears’ Lance Armstrong feature Icon for Working Title Films; Hajime Hashimoto’s Japanese drama Ohi No Yakata; and Leon Lai’s Chinese action film Wine Wars for Paciwood Music and Entertainment Corporation.

GOOD TO KNOW TRIP extends to France’s overseas ‘departments’. Death In Paradise — a joint production between Red Planet Pictures

and Atlantique Production — was shot on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. It qualified for both the TRIP and financial support from the Guadeloupe region.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives


French connections

To access TRIP, live-action films have to shoot a minimum of five days and spend at least $1.1m (€1m) in France. If a project is budgeted at less than that figure it must spend at least 50% of its budget in France. Official co-productions can also access French subsidies but they have to pass a strict cultural test. Further information rebate@

Although most productions shoot France for France, the country does offer a wide variety of locations. Hunger Games for example shot against the backdrop of the modern housing estates of IvrySur-Seine and Noisy-le-Grand on the outskirts of Paris.

Where to start? France and the French lifestyle have long been beloved of visiting Americans. They enjoy the shopping, the fashion, the culture, the sites and the country’s love of cinema.


France boasts one of the most skilled and experienced crew pools in the world thanks to the size and strength of its own film industry. The territory has a number of studios including Les Studios de Paris, part-owned by EuropaCorp, where Lucy and Three Days To Kill were both shot.

Where to stay

There are some 17,500 hotels in France so securing accommodation is not a problem unless you want to shoot in Cannes during the film festival. There is a plethora of four and five-star venues suitable for cast and crew across the country. Some of the favourites in Paris include Le Meurice on Rue Rivoli, and Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere off the Champs Elysées.

Size matters

France is the largest territory in Europe, measuring 211,208 square miles. It has good air, road and rail networks and getting around is straightforward. First person to call

Film France CEO Valérie Lépine-Karnik valerie@ Lépine-Karnik heads up the agency charged with promoting France as a location and acts as a conduit to locations, services and the country’s regional commissions.

Philippe Antonello

woRLd oF LoCAtIonS ItALY

Emilia Clarke on the set of Zanuck Independent’s Voice From The Stone

Italy A revamped tax credit has catapulted Italy to the premier league of international locations. Melanie Goodfellow reports

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ot since Martin Scorsese took over Italy’s iconic Cinecitta Studios for the shoot of Gangs Of New York in 2002 has Rome been so awash with international stars. After a decade in the doldrums, the country is back in the game following the bolstering of its tax incentive scheme in 2014. Films to have shot recently, are shooting or are due to shoot in Italy include Zoolander 2 and Timur Bekmambetov’s Ben-Hur, both for Paramount Pictures; supernatural thriller Voice From The Stone, starring Emilia Clarke for Zanuck Independent; Focus Features’ adaptation of Anne Rice’s biblical novel Christ The Lord: Out Of Egypt; Sony Pictures’ James Bond film Spectre; US indie The Tourist; Baltasar Kormakur’s Everest for Working Title Films; Huayi Brothers’ romantic comedy Only You; and the Polish thriller Framed, directed by Piotr Smigasiewicz. Under the changes to the 25% tax credit, first introduced in 2011, the cap on the support has been raised to $10.7m (¤10m) from $5.4m (¤5m) and is now per production company, rather than per project. Alongside the improved incentive, the country’s regional film commissions also offer logistical support and in some cases financial support too. The tax credit can be combined with regional funds. “When we decided to move forward with making Ben-Hur, we knew we would be shooting a small part of the film in [the southern Italian city of ] Matera, but couldn’t support shooting the entire film in Italy until the new fiscal benefit was approved. Once that crucial step was made, we were confident it would allow us to shoot the entire movie in Italy,” says Peter Oillataguerre, executive vice-president physical production, MGM. Ben-Hur, which stars Ayelet Zurer, Jack Huston and Morgan Freeman, moved on to Cinecitta after finishing its Matera shoot. Ancient Jerusalem has been reconstructed in Federico Fellini’s favourite Studio 5 as well as on other parts of the backlot. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the effectiveness and reliability in collaborating with Cinecitta Studios, who have been assisting us with every aspect of production,” adds Oillataguerre.

the lowdown Financial incentives


when in Rome

Italy offers a 25% tax credit capped at $10.7m (€10m) per company. All invoices made out to international film companies are VAT-free. Qualifying productions must pass a cultural test by scoring at least 50 points and meeting additional conditions. The use of Cinecitta facilities earns supplementary points. The credit is based on the production expenses incurred in Italy, which must not exceed 60% of the overall film production budget. Expenses incurred in another EU country can be treated as expenses incurred in Italy up to a maximum of 30% of the overall film production budget on the condition they are paid by an Italian production service company. For now the credit is for film but is set to be extended to cover high-end TV. The country’s regional film commissions also offer support and incentives. Business Location Sudtirol Alto Adige, the commission for the northern region of Alto Adige, put $758,000 (€700,000) into Everest, shot partly in the region’s mountains. Toscana Film Commission recently supported Korean director Park Heung-sik’s Second Twenty. Further information

Thanks to Italy’s rich cinema heritage the country has a large pool of skilled technicians and its cinematographers, set designers and decorators are worldrenowned. Ben-Hur, for example, has employed local set expert Alessandra Querzola as the chief set decorator on the film. “I would rate the Italian crew as some of the best in the world,” says Dean Zanuck, producer of Voice From The Stone. Cinecitta Studios is back on its feet — its landmark Studio 5, which was damaged in a fire 18 months ago, has been fully renovated and is being used on Ben-Hur. The site encompasses 22 stages and a large backlot, and also offers a wide range of services and equipment.

Enjoy la dolce vita… and la cucina.


The country’s Mediterranean landscapes, Renaissance towns, Roman ruins and world-renowned cities of Rome, Florence and Venice are much in demand. The Dolomite mountains are doubling for Nepal in Everest. where to stay

As a world-class tourism destination, Italy has a huge pool of luxury hotels suitable for talent. In Rome, talent generally stays in one of the five-star hotels around the Spanish Steps and Via Veneto. Because of the good metro links between the centre and Cinecitta, producers and key foreign crew often rent a house or an apartment in that area.

Size matters

Italy covers some 120,000 square miles and flying is the most efficient way of travelling around the country. A number of local airlines connect the main cities. There is also an extensive train network with the high-speed Pendolino connecting Rome with Florence in one hour and 20 minutes. In Rome, it is a 25-minute metro ride from the historic centre to Cinecitta. dean Zanuck, producer, Voice From the Stone

“We had an awesome experience. It’s very hard to complain about making a film in Italy. The locations were stunning, the food amazing and the lifestyle a perfect experience. We never considered shooting Voice From The Stone anywhere else. “The film is based on the awardwinning Italian novel La Voce Della Pietra set in a castle in Tuscany during the 1950s. We wanted to remain in the country of origin, believing it would provide both tangible and intangible value that couldn’t be gained elsewhere. “Italy offers a strong tax incentive, arranged and cash flowed by our Italian producing/production services partner Panorama Films. We also benefited from our timing as the US dollar was very strong against the euro.” First person to call

Italian Film Commissions umbrella group

(Clockwise from main picture) Monica Bellucci and Daniel Craig ahead of the Rome shoot for Spectre; on the Dolomites set of Baltasar Kormakur’s Everest; filming The Tourist

Good to know Cinecitta has a collection of some 15,000 pieces of set dressing items related to ancient Rome, which it rents out all over the world.

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Netherlands A new cash rebate is making the Netherlands an attractive location and partner for mid-sized international productions. Geoffrey Macnab reports

The Fault In Our Stars on the Leidsegracht


t is a year since the Netherlands announced its 30% cash rebate for film production. This has already had a transformative effect. Films shooting or doing post-production work here include Thomas Vinterberg’s The Commune and David Keating’s Cherry Tree. The incentive has made it much easier to set up international co-productions such as Virgil Widrich’s The Night Of A Thousand Hours, a co-production between Vienna and Luxembourg- based Amour Fou and the Netherlands’ Key Film. The project has used key creative personnel (including the art director and costume designer) from the Netherlands and much of its VFX and post-production takes place in the country, working with Filmmore Amsterdam.

GOOD TO KNOW The office of film commissioner Bas van der Ree serves as a general resource and clearing house for all film-related information throughout the country including general information on financing possibilities offered by the Netherlands Film Fund.

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THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives


Going Dutch

International producers can access a 30% cash rebate on eligible local production spend for features, feature documentaries and feature animations budgeted up to $1.1m (€1m). Additionally, Netherlands Film Fund supports minority co-productions, offering production grants of up to $267,000 (€250,000) for a feature film and $53,000 (€50,000) for a documentary. Productions backed through the fund can also receive distribution support for theatrical release in the Netherlands. The total Dutch share in the project needs to be at least 10% of the production costs. The fund also offers $1,600 (€1,500) as support for research by a local post-production supervisor, location scout and/or line producer. Further information international

Coastal locations are in demand — white beaches and sand dunes. There are also scenic forests and rolling meadows in the Netherlands. Cosmopolitan cities offer everything from ultra-modernity to an old medieval feel — and, of course, there are plenty of canals and places of historical interest, for example, Anne Frank’s house was used prominently in The Fault In Our Stars. That film also featured the loving couple on a bench on the Leidsegracht.

There are very good restaurants throughout the country, for example Amsterdam’s fish restaurant Visaandeschelde, and the bistro of the Conservatorium Hotel. Rotterdam boasts Las Palmas and FG (formerly Ivy) as well as cult favourite Tai Wu, a Chinese restaurant Jackie Chan liked so much he is said to have filmed Who Am I? (1998) in the Netherlands just so he could eat there.


There is a wide range of highly qualified film professionals, all fluent in English.

Size matters Where to stay

The InterContinental Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam is a favourite with international film visitors shooting in the city, as is the Waldorf Astoria. Other destinations popular with film talent and crews include the Conservatorium Hotel, the Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy and Hotel Arena. The new nhow Rotterdam, designed by architect Rem Koolhaas, is also likely to attract A-list talent shooting closer to Rotterdam.

It is a small country and easy to navigate due to the finely meshed infrastructure. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is one of the world’s busiest and biggest, offering regular direct flights to all parts of the US and to many far-flung locations. Most filming locations are less than two hours drive from the airport. First person to call

Bas van der Ree, Netherlands Film Commission


Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg on the set of Bridge Of Spies

Germany Germany’s well-established network of federal and state funds, and efficient film infrastructure means many big footloose productions base themselves in the territory. Martin Blaney reports


By The Sea

Eran Creevy’s Autobahn, starring Nicholas Hoult, filmed in Cologne

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he big US productions based entirely or partly in Germany in the last year have included Warner Bros and Alcon Entertainment’s Point Break, Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2, and Steven Spielberg’s Cold War thriller Bridge Of Spies, starring Tom Hanks, for DreamWorks. The big independent productions, set up as German co-productions include Stephen Hopkins’ Leni Riefenstahl drama Race (France-Germany-Canada), starring Carice Van Houten, and Eran Creevy’s action film Autobahn (US-UKGermany), starring Felicity Jones and Nicholas Hoult, while Elie Chouraqui found locations in Weimar and the nearby former concentration camp Buchenwald for the France-Germany collaboration The Origin Of Violence. This year has seen Taron Egerton and

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

Although its annual budget was cut to $53m (¤50m) this year, the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) is a key partner for international producers wanting to shoot in Germany. A producer needs to partner with a qualifying German co-producer to apply for a rebate of up to 20% on the film’s qualifying spend ( DFFF funding can be combined with production support accessed from the regional funds such as FFF Bayern and Film und Medienstiftung NRW as well as the German Federal Film Board (FFA) Further information Infrastructure

International productions tend to bring heads of departments and the rest of the English-speaking crew can be recruited locally. The major studio complexes are Studio Babelsberg (Berlin/Potsdam), Bavaria Film Studios (Munich), MMC Studios (Cologne) and MP Medienpark NRW (Cologne). Locations

Steven Spielberg shot at Berlin’s Glienicke Bridge for Bridge Of Spies, while the city’s 1936 Olympic Stadium has been used for Race. Germany’s huge

variety of landscapes includes islands, mudflats, forests, lakes and mountains. At a pinch, desert scenes can even be shot at the open-cast mines in former East Germany, but productions normally travel to locations in Morocco. Where to stay

Soho House in Berlin — in the former East German Politburo building — is a popular base. George Clooney stayed here while making The Monuments Men as did Spielberg during Bridge Of Spies. The Waldorf Astoria and Adlon Kempinski hotels in Berlin are also popular addresses. When hotel living does not suit, Matt Damon rented a flat in the hip Mitte district for three months when shooting The Bourne Supremacy, while Brad Pitt and family decamped to a villa in leafy Zehlendorf near Studio Babelsberg during the shoot of Inglourious Basterds. When in Berlin

Germany is a culture vulture’s dream. Days off are often spent taking in exhibitions at Munich’s Pinakothek, Berlin’s Martin Gropius Bau and Bode Museum, as well as the Jewish museums in Berlin and Munich. Popular restaurants include Borchardt and Vau in Berlin, the legendary Schumann’s Bar

at Munich’s Hofgarten, and Seerose in Munich. It is worth noting, dogs can be taken into restaurants in Germany. Size matters

Although one of the biggest countries in Europe, Germany is roughly 85% the size of California. Berlin is an hour’s flight from Munich and Cologne, while Hamburg is one-and-a-half hours by train from the capital. A well-developed network of autobahns crisscross the country. Jean-Charles Lévy, Forecast Pictures, producer on Race

“While we shot the race sequences at a stadium in Montreal, it was very special to be able to shoot in Berlin’s original Olympic Stadium.” Would he come back?

Yes. Lévy has established a production company with local producers Karsten Brünig and Thierry Potok to produce international projects based in Germany. First person to call

The 11 members of the German Film Commissions Network, from SchleswigHolstein in the north to Bavaria in the south

Hugh Jackman shoot Marv Films’ UKUS-Germany co-production Eddie The Eagle for director Dexter Fletcher in the Bavarian ski resorts of Oberstdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and Oliver Stone is working on interiors at Munich’s Bavaria Film studios and locations throughout Bavaria for his biopic Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

GOOD TO KNOW You will never be short of extras. Around 3,500 men turned up at Studio Babelsberg in freezing temperatures on a Saturday morning for the chance to appear in The Monuments Men, while 700 locals answered a casting call for Eddie The Eagle when it arrived in Oberstdorf for crowd scenes at the ski jump.

Race shot scenes at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium

2015 World of Locations 19



Alcazar Palace

Mamma Team’s executive producer/managing director Toni Schulz and senior producer Carla Genoud share their insights on shooting in Spain. Mamma Team is a production house and services company that operates from Barcelona, Madrid, Palma, Montevideo and Buenos Aires.


Why does it make financial sense to shoot a commercial in Spain?

Can a new 15% tax credit — and Francis Ford Coppola — boost Spain’s appeal as an international shooting destination? Melanie Goodfellow reports

Toni Schulz The main benefit is the country’s long-lasting reputation in service, plus its flexibility and capacity to adapt to each project’s requests and needs. The best example of that is the lack of extra costs for weekends or holidays. During the past few years, talent buyouts have become highly competitive. And, of course, there is also our 300 days of sun a year. Is there a minimum spend?

TS Not really. Each project is different and Mamma has always been open to work with the smaller, as well as the bigger, projects. We are proud to be trusted by our clients with their budgets and production challenges. Having said that, on average, prices can vary from ¤55,000 to ¤85,000 ($59,000 to $91,000) per shooting day. How well connected is Spain?

Carla Genoud Very. We are just two to three hours from almost all of Europe’s main cities and have daily flights to and from the US, China and eastern countries. Tell us about Spain’s range of locations


pain is the latest territory to welcome the Game Of Thrones travelling production caravan and the buzz that accompanies it. HBO’s spectacular TV show landed in the southern region of Andalusia last autumn, stopping off in the regional capital, Seville, where it shot several scenes in the Moorish Alcazar Palace, as well as the nearby town of Osuna. HBO is one of the first to benefit from the introduction of Spain’s first nationwide incentive for international film and TV productions. Visiting film and TV shoots can now access a 15% tax credit on their eligible spend in mainland Spain. It joins the Canary Islands’

20 World of Locations 2015

existing generous 35% rebate for international productions, which has made Spain’s mild-weathered archipelago off Morocco’s southern coast a popular destination. Productions to have visited the Canaries recently include Andy Tennant’s Wild Oats, starring Shirley MacLaine, Demi Moore and Jessica Lange for The Weinstein Company; BBC series Woody, which stars Kayvan Novak as a framed tabloid reporter hiding out on a fictional Spanish island; Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s feature documentary Human; and the latest series of the BBC’s Doctor Who, which reportedly shot two episodes on Tenerife. »

CG We have a broad option of locations. For example, Spain can have an American feel. We have produced for US brands such as Hershey’s because we could deliver a great combination of Americanlooking talent and locations, competitive buyouts and production budget. We also have breathtaking views and winding roads for car commercials and have produced for clients such as Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Porsche and Aston Martin. And due to the great ethnic mix and high standards of our talent, Spain has become a great destination for worldwide campaigns, such as our recent nine-day shoot for [potato crisp brand] Lay’s. TS We also have an amazing variety of urban locations, from international business districts to gothic quarters, Roman walls to Latin Americanstyle neighbourhoods. We have 4,900 miles of coastline, 2,600 miles of mountains and 1,650 square miles of desert. We also have great ports and marinas, clear waters and a great pool of boats and yachts, including experienced underwater crew. Do incoming productions need to bring their own crew with them?

CG Not at all. Spain has highly experienced, worldclass bilingual crew and award-winning DoPs. It’s often the case that once they meet in Spain, they are off with our clients shooting around the world. Contact Toni Schulz; Carla Genoud

World of locations spain

the lowdown financial incentives

The country’s new tax credit for international productions of 15% on eligible spend up to $2.8m (€2.5m) came into force on January 1. In the Canary Islands, the credit for international productions has been kept at 35% with a cap of $5m (€4.5m). infrastructure

Spain has a large pool of highly skilled and experienced crew. Pedro Almodovar regular Jose Luis Alcaine was the cinematographer and one of several Spanish heads of department on Wild Oats. Most productions shoot on location but there are several small facilities, including Palma Pictures’ 4,500 square metre complex on the Balearic island of Mallorca and the four-stage Parc Audiovisual de Catalunya facility near Barcelona. The future of Spain’s biggest facility, Ciudad de la Luz, just outside the southwestern port city of Alicante, remains unclear. The troubled complex, which played host to some 60 productions, closed in 2012 after the European Commission ordered the facility to repay state aid to the tune of $313m (€290m). The European Commission has now authorised the sale of the site and a number of buyers are understood to be interested, including a consortium involving Francis Ford Coppola.

22 World of Locations 2015

and Kanye West are among the celebrities spotted on the country’s beaches this year. There is also plenty of culture — and tapas. Game Of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau said he loved Seville for its beauty, while his co-star Emilia Clarke reportedly celebrated her birthday in the Hotel Palacio Marques de la Gomera, in a former baroque palace in Osuna.

(Main picture) Buyers are circling Ciudad de la Luz; (right) Game Of Thrones in Seville

size matters

Spain is the third-biggest country in Europe. It is well served by domestic flights, which are the most timeefficient way to cross the country. There are also good rail and road networks; a high-speed train connects Madrid and Barcelona in less than three hours. There are daily direct flights to Madrid from North America.

Where to stay

As a popular tourist destination, Spain has no shortage of accommodation — at all price points — for talent and crew. In Seville, the Game Of Thrones cast reportedly stayed in the central Hotel NH Collection. reign in spain

A-listers flock to Spain in the summer for its luxury hotels, beaches, water sports and nightlife. Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom, Justin Bieber, Madonna, Kim Kardashian

Bernadette caulfield, executive producer, Game of thrones

“Game Of Thrones is all about new and exciting worlds. Spain succeeded in expanding our worlds and made it possible for those new worlds to leap off the page. Our Spanish team of industry professionals exceeded all expectations. Enthusiasm was the word of the day in Spain.” first person to call

Spain Film Commission

2015 World of Locations 23


Comino island

Malta It’s no surprise the world’s biggest film-makers and stars enjoy shooting on Malta, as the holiday island has it all — a California climate, competitive tax rebates and a fun-loving, can-do attitude. Sarah Cooper reports


ngelina Jolie found the perfect coastal setting to stand in for 1970s France on the Maltese island of Gozo for her latest feature By The Sea, in which she stars and directs. Thanks to Malta Film Commission, she was able to close the stretch of beach — a popular spot with tourists and divers — from August to November. “The priority was to get the film done and we got it done,” explains film commissioner Engelbert Grech of the decision, which reflects Malta’s ‘can-do’ attitude and film-friendly government. The latter has pinpointed bringing international productions to Malta as one of its key priorities. In the last year, production on the island has increased dramatically thanks to the new and improved cash rebate (up to 27%), which now also applies to high end TV drama series. In 2014, Malta accommodated four large-scale productions simultaneously — Jolie’s By The Sea for Universal Pictures, CBS’s TV miniseries The Dovekeepers, Kevin Reynolds’ Jerusalem-set

24 World of Locations 2015

‘The priority was to get the film done and we got it done’ Engelbert Grech, Malta film commissioner, on closing a stretch of beach for Angelina Jolie’s By The Sea

By The Sea

GOOD TO KNOW Malta is on the same latitude as Los Angeles, meaning the light on the Mediterranean island is almost identical to that in Hollywood. This abundance of sunshine means productions are able to shoot for up to 12 hours a day from April to November.

Clavius and Francesco Cinquemani’s sci-fi movie Andron — The Black Labyrinth for Luxembourg-based Ambi Pictures. All took full advantage of Malta’s highly trained, multi-lingual crews, competitive rates and stunning locations. Malta’s three fully equipped water tanks, one of only a few in the world that use the natural ocean horizon as

a backdrop, have also featured in Captain Phillips and Kon-Tiki over the past few years. The Maltese archipelago is now hosting Michael Bay’s epic 13 Hours for Paramount Pictures, while Working Title’s comedy drama TV series Apocalypse Slough has wrapped shooting on Malta for NBC Universal. As well as doubling for various Mediterranean settings, the island regularly stands in for war-torn countries that are inaccessible to film crews. In fact Malta prides itself on being one of the safest countries in the world, second only to Qatar, according to the United Nations’ World Risk Report in 2013.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives Since April 2014, incoming productions that satisfy a cultural test are eligible for a cash rebate of up to 25% of eligible expenditure incurred in Malta, with an additional 2% if the production features Malta in a cultural context. The rebate has recently been extended to cover high-end TV drama productions. The incentives take the form of a cash grant that is awarded once filming is complete, and post-production spend now counts as an eligible cost. In 2014, Malta Film Commission also launched a $1.1m (¤1m) coproduction fund to encourage collaboration between local Maltese companies and international production companies. Malta has a co-production treaty with Canada, with more treaties due to be signed. Further information www.maltafilm Infrastructure Thanks to its long history of hosting international productions, dating back to the UK film Sons Of The Sea (1925), Malta boasts an experienced, accomplished crew base. Technicians speak very good English, as well as Italian and French, and authorities make quick decisions on questions such as road closures and locations clearance. It is easy to find crew and local heads of department, and Malta is particularly strong when it comes to set construction. Labour and facilities costs are around 30% lower than in mainland Europe. Malta’s main post

facility is Stargate Studios, with several further companies now eyeing Malta as a base thanks to the changes in the rebate. Locations Steven Spielberg famously shot Malta for seven countries — Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, Greece, Italy, Palestine and Spain — for his 2005 film Munich and capital city Valletta is a master of disguise. It can stand in for almost anywhere in the Mediterranean or Middle East with its narrow streets, churches and palaces. It even doubled for Peru for Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg’s Norway-UK co-production Kon-Tiki in 2012. The rest of the island offers a huge range of locations, including the atmospheric 70,000 sq m Fort Ricasoli, which has doubled for ancient Troy, Alexandria and Rome. For Gladiator, Ridley Scott built on the existing architecture to create the city, complete with amphitheatre. Malta’s spectacular Grand Harbour is a popular location, as is the medieval walled city of Mdina perched on a hill in the centre of the island. Just half an hour away by boat, Malta’s sister island Gozo boasts a medieval hilltop town and secluded beaches as well as the Azure Window, a natural stone arch that was used in HBO’s Game Of Thrones. Where to stay Thanks to its thriving tourist industry, Malta has an abundance of hotels, villas and apartments to suit every budget. Five-star hotel rates are competitive compared to the

rest of Europe and accommodation spend is rebatable. Tom Hanks stayed at the Hilton Malta during the Captain Phillips shoot, while Dominic Cooper and the cast and crew of The Devil’s Double were based at Le Meridien Hotel in picturesque St Julian’s. Many productions base their offices in hotels, negotiating favourable rates in the process. With its private marina and beach, the swanky Grand Hotel Excelsior is another popular choice with productions. Jolie and co-star, co-producer and husband Brad Pitt chose to stay in a secluded villa at Ta’ Cenc on Gozo with their children while filming By The Sea. The good life Malta attracts 1.5 million tourists every year for a reason. The crystal clear waters, yachts, white sandy beaches, rich and varied history and lively nightlife are not lost on international cast and crews. “If you’re here for four months, it’s important to be able to have a life. When you wrap after a long day shooting, you can go out, have fun and recharge,” says Grech. A favourite restaurant among crews is I Monelli in bustling Paceville, while Palazzo Parisio, housed in an 18th century palace, is popular with UK crews looking for a hearty Sunday lunch. The lack of media intrusion and the friendly but respectful locals are big draws for A-listers such as Pitt, who was able to walk to work untroubled while shooting World War Z in 2013. Malta is easily

accessible: London and Paris are both three hours away via direct flights with British Airways, Air Malta and several budget airlines. Flights from Los Angeles arrive via London, Munich and Dubai. Getting around It takes 45 minutes to drive from one end of Malta to the other. The capital, Valletta, is a 20-minute taxi ride from the airport and all the major hotels are within a short drive. Chris Brigham, executive producer, By The Sea “We finished on time, we finished within our resources and we had a tremendous experience both in terms of working with the Maltese crew and the Maltese community. The government in particular worked very hard to support us. We will certainly be great for the film industry here.” What could be improved? Malta has plans to build several sound stages, as part of a long-term vision to create a fully functioning film studio. The film commission has also allocated $745,000 (£500,000) to train locals in 2015, partnering with the UK’s Film London to bring microbudget scheme Microwave to Maltese film-makers. First person to call Engelbert Grech, film commissioner, Malta Film Commission engelbert.

Valletta, capital city of Malta

Fort Ricasoli

Brad Pitt stars in World War Z, part-filmed in Malta

Captain Phillips used Malta’s water tanks

2015 World of Locations 25



he real measure of a territory as a bonafide international production hub is how often visiting producers return. In terms of the high-end TV it attracts — and keeps — Croatia is one of those territories. Indeed US producer Rick McCallum, who works closely with George Lucas, has shot several productions in this country nestled between the Balkans and central Europe. He has seen the territory stand in for Mediterranean locales such as Italy on Red Tails in 2011, while Borgia, which McCallum produces for Canal Plus, shoots modern-day Croatia for 17th century Italy and Spain. McCallum is back this year with StudioCanal’s English-language crime thriller Crossing Lines, starring Donald Sutherland. Another Croatia regular is HBO, which films Game Of Thrones in the majestic coastal town of Dubrovnik. Further high-end TV series to shoot in the territory include SVT’s Swedish series The Lost Treasure Of Aquila, BBC America’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and NBC Universal’s Dig. In 2014, the territory attracted several European feature films, including David Verbeek’s Netherlands-Croatia collaboration Full Contact, Mitko Panov’s The Witness, starring Bruno Ganz, which is a Switzerland-Macedonia-Ireland co-production, and German TV film Winnetous Weiber, directed by Dirk Regel, for UFA. Fan, starring Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, and the first official India-Croatia co-production, also shot partly in Croatia for Yash Raj Films. Coming into the territory this year are Marion Hänsel’s feature River Upstream, starring Sergi Lopez, and EuropaCorp’s Baltic-set action thriller The Lake, produced by Luc Besson and directed by Steven Quale.

Croatia Croatia’s enthusiasm and chameleon-like ability to look like other places are helping to woo international productions. By Geoffrey Macnab

On the set of Canal Plus’ Borgia

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives


International film and TV producers can access a 20% rebate on costs incurred in Croatia. The rebate is administered by the Croatian audiovisual centre, HAVC, and producers say it is straightforward to use. It takes less then 90 days for the producer to receive the rebate. Further information

This is why productions come to Croatia. Zagreb is an attractive central European town and the historic coastal towns of Dubrovnik, Šibenik, Zadar, Split, Trogir and Rijeka offer well-preserved medieval and renaissance architecture as well as film-friendly authorities. Size matters


There is a new generation of young, smart technicians and thanks to returning series such as Game Of Thrones, Croatia boasts fantastic construction crews. In terms of studios, the only stages are in Zagreb and are used mostly by the local film and TV industry.

26 World of Locations 2015

Croatia is a relatively small country, interconnected with highways and airports. Where to stay

As it is a popular tourist destination, Croatia has many moderately priced hotels and restaurants as well as five-

star ones. While filming Fan, Shahrukh Khan stayed at the Valamar Dubrovnik President Hotel. Rick McCallum, producer, Red Tails, Borgia, Crossing Lines

“The tax rebate is totally transparent. It’s a rigorous application process but nothing major. You get the money back in two-and-a-half months. “The crews are wonderful. And it’s a fantastic place to take your crew if you’ve been shooting in northern Europe for a long time. There are so many islands. The water is spectacular. You have rich and diverse countryside from Dubrovnik to Istria. It’s very easy to close off a city, a town or roads. Permissions are

instantaneous in Croatia. The filmmaking experience is still new enough that everybody jumps on it and wants to be a part of it.” What could be improved?

A studio complex is planned for the outskirts of Zagreb. “We often have to improvise with deserted sports halls and industrial warehouses,” says Hrvoje Hribar, chief executive of HAVC. First person to call

Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Filming in Croatia department For further information

‘When I open my eyes in the morning, I see a movie.’ *

croatian cash rebate * Tomislav Gotovac (1937-2010), one of Croatia’s most important contemporary artists, considered the precursor of performance art. —



Classic mountain and forest scenery in Slovenia

SHOOTING COMMERCIALS Jure Horvat, production manager at Ljubljana-based production house Super 16, reveals what commercials directors can expect to find in Slovenia. What commercials have you worked on recently in Slovenia? Jure Horvat We work with local

and international clients including Nike, with whom we shot Mercurial Superfly: The Machine, and Sweden’s Radiotjanst on Tusen Och Ett Tack. The big commercial to have shot in Slovenia this year was a live-action campaign for Game Of War, starring model Kate Upton, for Anonymous Content, although we didn’t work on that one. Most commercials are shot in Slovenia due to its geographic diversity and similarity to different countries, while offering film-friendly options to foreign productions. What type of locations can Slovenia offer to international commercials producers? JH Slovenia is a small country, known

Slovenia Slovenia is a country on the verge. Geoffrey Macnab reports on its stunning locations and efforts to introduce a financial incentive

for its pristine nature and a wide variety of shooting locations within a two-hour drive. These include the Alpine mountains, the Mediterranean coast, green meadows, Karst caves, lakes, vineyards, castles and much more. The capital city of Ljubljana is also attractive for commercial shoots, as it offers a European city look on a smaller scale. What studios does Slovenia have? JH Most of the studios are located


lovenia has plenty to offer producers, including spectacular scenery — from forests and castles to industrial sites and old European-style architecture. But the lack of a financial incentive means it is not top of many producers’ lists — yet. Slovenia Film Commission points to the country’s skilled film crews and production companies, its mostly Englishspeaking technicians and the small country’s safe working environment. Walden Media’s The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian shot in the country in 2008, but there have been few big international projects since. Sky One’s UK military thriller series Strike Back recently shot briefly in Slovenia.

28 World of Locations 2015

in the main production centre of Ljubljana. Viba Film is the largest and offers two studios measuring around 720 square metres and 460 square metres. Productions can also find other, smaller studios in the capital or nearby cities.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

There is no tax incentive to shoot film, TV or commercials in Slovenia, although it is hoped an automatic scheme to return at least 20% of eligible production costs will be in place within two years. Infrastructure

According to Slovenia Film Commission, the country is able to provide logistic and technical support to international film production companies. The three biggest film studios are Viba Film, VPK and Arkadena. The main service

companies tend to have a regional footprint, working in Bosnia, Croatia, Italy and Austria, as well as their home turf, of course. Locations

Snowy mountains, lakes, ski slopes, green forests, sea and various types of old European, socialist realism, modern and industrial architecture and sites.

Do incoming productions need to bring their own crew with them? JH There is a small pool of directors

and directors of photography in Ljubljana. Local technical crews, art departments, costume and wardrobe are also available for international productions. Is language an issue? JH Most Slovenian crew speak fluent

English. First person to call

Ales Gorisek, Slovenia Film Commission






ussia has extraordinary potential as a location for international filmmakers but, as insiders acknowledge, this is a tough place for setting up a production. There are no financial incentives to rival those offered in other territories, English is not spoken widely and bureaucracy can be awkward. Countering the problems, there is the beauty and range of locations as well as the sophistication of the film technicians, who rank among the best in the world. It is a country steeped in history, one reason the new BBC and The Weinstein Company version of War And Peace, directed by Tom Harper and starring Paul Dano and Lily James, shot in the territory. Geoffrey Macnab

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives


Sochi is known for its strong infrastructure

Think beyond Moscow and St Petersburg. The holiday resort of Sochi boasts excellent infrastructure (partly a legacy of the Winter Olympics), many hotels and good roads, though you may have to bring equipment from Moscow. Crimea has a long film-making tradition and a big, old cinema studio, albeit with outdated equipment.

There is no incentive to attract international film and TV shoots and production costs are much higher than in other territories in eastern Europe. Incoming productions need strong local support from an insider for shooting in Russia. However, by co-producing with a local partner, an international film-maker can qualify a project as a ‘national film’ and thereby become eligible for state funding and a waiver on VAT (18% in Russia). But projects must comply with sometimes restrictive local laws. Infrastructure

There are state-of-the-art studios,

talented technicians and a great range of locations, from baroque churches to rural steppes, Soviet-era brutalism to exquisite pastoral scenery. However, political tension between Russia and western governments is proving offputting to international film-makers. Where to stay

There are plenty of luxury hotels in Moscow and St Petersburg, but they can be expensive. Size matters

This is a vast country with different time zones, straddling two continents. It is not always easy to get around.

Are you looking for a suitable location? Come to our magnificent country of Slovenia and we will help you to create your very own story. We offer a variety of splendid locations while presenting the glamour of our land. Taking you all the way from the mountains, beaches, cities and long forgotten roads. We also have a great price range! Contact us.

2015 World of Locations 29



The renaissance backlot at Korda Studios

On set with The Musketeers


tudios in Hungary, including the big three of Mafilm, Origo and Korda, are enjoying brisk business since the government enhanced the already generous tax rebate to a competitive 25% of qualifying spend in late 2014. Projects to have come to Hungary include Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s TV pilot Casanova for Amazon, Ron Howard’s latest Dan Brown adaptation, Inferno starring Tom Hanks, for Columbia Pictures, Brady Corbet’s US indie The Childhood Of A Leader starring Robert Pattinson, and Nic Mathieu’s actioner Spectral for Legendary Pictures and Universal. Geoffrey Macnab

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

Films and high-end TV series shot in Hungary are eligible for a 25% rebate based on their expenditure in the country. It is overseen by the Hungarian Film Fund and producers view it as a prompt and efficient scheme. Further information whats-on/76-film-support-scheme-isto-be-raised-to-25.html Infrastructure

The studios are considered among the best in Europe and Hungary’s many English-speaking technicians are wellregarded — but in relatively short supply. For this reason, the Hungarian Film Fund is launching a training initiative to create a new generation of crew members. Most US and UK productions bring in their own heads of department and extra crew for the art department, props, costume and make-up. Locations

Budapest offers all kinds of architecture and can double for many other places

GOOD TO KNOW Colleen Bell, US ambassador to Hungary, is a producer on TV soap The Bold And The Beautiful, and so should understand the issues facing film-makers.

30 World of Locations 2015

Czech Republic


he Czech Republic has been busy with the shoots of Michael Apted’s thriller Unlocked, starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Douglas and Orlando Bloom for Di Bonaventura Pictures, a second series of The Musketeers (with the third series set to begin production) for the BBC, Danish fantasy feature The Shamer’s Daughter, made at Barrandov Studios for Nordisk, and a Chinese production, Xu Jinglei’s Prague-set Somewhere Only We Know for Beijing Kaila Picture Company. Geoffrey Macnab

THE LOWDOWN such as 18th century Vienna for Virtuoso. The city famously stood in for Buenos Aires for Alan Parker’s Evita. Where to stay

Budapest has many five-star hotels, including the Four Seasons and the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus. Many of the Virtuoso crew stayed in the Boscolo Budapest Hotel. The city has plenty of high-end restaurants and is famous for its spas of thermal waters.

Financial incentives

International productions can claim a 20% rebate on qualifying Czech spend and 10% on qualifying international spend. Further information incentives/the-rebate/ Infrastructure

The three main studios are just outside Budapest, which is where most productions base themselves and shoot. There are no direct flights from the US to Hungary so most US film-makers travel via London, Paris or Berlin.

Experienced crews speak English and German while Barrandov Studios is one of Europe’s leading facilities. Equipment is easy to access and Prague-based Petra Novotna (War Horse, The Hobbit) is one of the world’s best ‘horse masters’ and can provide vital crew members for the historic and fantasy films that shoot in the territory. Try Czech-Anglo Productions for location managers and UPP for CGI.

Laurie Borg, producer, Bel Ami


“We looked at Prague, Austria and London. Creatively, we came to Hungary because we could make it work better than in Prague and Vienna. And we looked at the costs. With Budapest you’ve got a great infrastructure, great locations. They know how to do it. Budapest has got a vibrancy.”

There is a huge diversity of locations within Prague itself, including many picturesque vacant properties. Location owners tend to be film friendly.

Size matters

First person to call

Agnes Havas, chief executive, Hungarian Film Fund havas.agnes@

Where to stay

In Prague, the InterContinental is preferred by crew while stars like the Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental. Also popular is Augustine, where Michael Douglas stayed while shooting Unlocked. He reportedly appreciated the hotel’s inner courtyard, where he

could leave and arrive without drawing attention. Apartments are available for longer shoots. Czech it out

Prague is a beautiful city with a vibrant cultural and café life. Michelin-starred restaurants include La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise and Alcron. Colin Wratten, producer, The Musketeers

“Everything we needed was there in abundance. We were taken to castle after castle, and endless subterranean ceilinged rooms that were ideal for inns or intriguing spaces for our world.” Would he return?

Yes. The BBC is making a third series of The Musketeers in Prague, despite the introduction of tax credits for high-end TV drama in the UK. What could be improved?

Its depth of technicians. “There’s an A crew, a B crew and a C crew,” says Wratten. “Beyond that, I wouldn’t know who you were going to get. You want to do the homework and find out what other commitments the country has.” First person to call

Ludmila Claussova, film commissioner




ustria has emerged as an attractive location in the last 12 months. Paramount’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, BBC Films’ Woman In Gold and Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros’ Point Break shot in the territory in 2014, while 2015 has seen the arrival of Bond film Spectre for Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Marv Films’ biopic Eddie The Eagle in the Alps. Martin Blaney and Geoffrey Macnab

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

Café culture

Film Location Austria (FISA) offers non-repayable grants of up to 25% of eligible Austrian production expenditure. International productions can also access funding from the Austrian Film Institute, Vienna Film Fund and the federal states. High-end TV can’t access these incentives. Further information

Vienna is a pulsating city with a striking historical backdrop and rich cultural life.


David Thompson, producer, Woman In Gold

Austria can accommodate two to three big productions at a time although it lacks top-notch studio facilities. There are experienced heads of department though productions based only partly in Austria tend to bring their own.

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt on the roof of Vienna State Opera for Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation

Size matters

Austria is relatively small and it is not far from Vienna to the Alps. It is close to the shooting hubs of Budapest (a 2.5-hour drive) and Prague (a 3-hour drive). There are direct flights from New York.

“Vienna Film Commission was enormously helpful, providing location and physical support on our recces. This is some of the best support we’ve had from a film commissioner abroad.”

Where to stay

First person to call

Vienna’s Hotel Sacher, Ritz Carlton and Hotel Imperial are all popular. Le Meridien is often used when scouting.

Arie Bohrer and Julia Schmölz, Location Austria

2015 World of Locations 31

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives



oland is making up for lost time. For many years, the country has languished behind neighbouring Hungary and the Czech Republic when it comes to courting international film productions. Poland is a far bigger country than many other eastern European territories and has a huge range of locations. It is also a prolific and proficient co-producer, with the ability to

32 World of Locations 2015

Anne Fontaine (right) on the set of Innocent

That’s the hitch — there’s not yet a tax incentive system but the industry is lobbying the government to introduce one. International projects set up as Polish co-productions can access financing from the Polish Film Institute and from the nine regional film funds, although this is not automatic. Polish producers work closely with German partners through the Polish-German Co-Development Fund, a collaboration between the Polish Film Institute, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MDM) and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. Infrastructure

board projects as a minority partner. Recent films to have shot in Poland include Anne Fontaine’s 1945-set Innocent, (formerly Agnus Dei), Danish director Mads Matthiesen’s Model, Agnieszka Holland’s new feature Game Count and HBO’s The Pack. Steven Spielberg has also been in Poland, shooting Bridge Of Spies in Wroclaw for DreamWorks. Geoffrey Macnab

Many of the country’s most beautiful old buildings are state-owned and easily accessible. Thanks to Lodz Film School, the industry boasts outstanding crews with high levels of craftsmanship, including Oscar-winning production designer Allan Starski and leading cinematographer Janusz Kaminski. There are several modern studios in Poland,

including Alvernia Studios in Krakow, and ATM Studio and WFDIF Studio in Warsaw. Locations

Castles, baroque architecture, cities that can stand in for Paris and Milan. With 13 airports, the transport links are improving and it takes less than an hour to cross the country by plane. Where to stay

Tom Hank and Steven Spielberg stayed at Hotel Monopol in Wroclaw. There are also plenty of Intercontinental hotels and luxury boutique hotels. Philippe Carcassonne, producer, The Innocent

“The experience was good overall. But Poland is not cheap compared to Romania, probably to Yugoslavia and even to Hungary.” First person to call

Tomasz Dabrowski, film commissioner, Film Commission Poland dabrowski@

Anna Wloch/Aeroplan Film


Promotional Feature

Grazyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music in Lodz

The interior of Saint Stanislaus church in Boguszyce

On the set of Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida

Lodz: ready to compete The Polish city of Lodz boasts world-class technicians, a thriving cultural scene and an innovative film commission, as well as pristine locations and untouched architecture. No wonder it’s a location on the rise


he city of Lodz lies in the heart of Poland, a country bordered by Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. Mirroring its location, Lodz (pronounced ‘Woodge’) plays a central role in the country’s film and TV production activities as well as a vital part in developing Polish ambitions to lure international film-makers to set up shop despite several challenges. While having to overcome an enormous fiscal disadvantage — Poland offers no national or local government backed financial incentives for film and TV unlike almost all of its European neighbours — Lodz is on the map for reasons both current and historical. Poland’s third largest city, after Warsaw and Krakow, boasts its own film commission, various annual cultural festivals and is also home to the prestigious Lodz Film School. The school opened its doors in 1948 just after the end of the Second World War and famous alumni — many of whom jetted off to Hollywood and beyond to ply their trade — include Oscar-winning film-maker

34 World of Locations 2015

Roman Polanski (The Pianist) and Oscar honouree Andrzej Wajda, along with a who’s who of celebrated DoPs including Andrzej Bartkowiak (Speed, Falling Down) and Adam Holender (Midnight Cowboy). Leading the charm offensive locally and internationally is the relatively youthful Lodz Film Commission (LFC), a city-backed organisation set up in 2009 and a member of global umbrella organisation the Association of Film Commissioners International. But with no big-ticket financial incentives to rival the draw of its cross-border neighbours, LFC is hoping a strategy of reputation building and the offer of help from the city will pay off in the long run. From small acorns, giant oaks can grow. Plan of action “We are trying to find other solutions to help us compete to attract international productions,” says Lodz film commissioner Monika Glowacka. “We are trying to create a dedicated fund for co-productions, which would be paid for directly by the city for next year [2016].”

‘We are trying to create a dedicated fund for co-productions’ Monika Glowacka, Lodz Film Commission

The city has created a series of small, local incentives for film and documentary makers. These include a 90% reduction in the price of the permit required to mount a shoot on the city’s roads and highways. And it will also discount city permits by 85% for film-makers taking cameras into its city parks and public squares during the shoot. It means producers pay just $10.70 (¤10) for every $107 (¤100) demanded by the permit cover price to close down the city’s main drag Piotrkowska Street — which boasts a Hollywood-style star walk of fame. Lodz has a road layout that mirrors New York City, while its film school and walk of fame has helped the city earn the nickname HollyWoodge. LFC can lay claim to growing the business for the city since its set up and offers a small local film fund for Polish productions. “When we started the film commission in 2009 we had three projects. Now we’ve got 20 different projects from feature films, TV series, TV programmes, documentaries and advertising and the numbers are growing,” Glowacka says. LFC also works with the city’s film school

Orthodox church in Piotrkow Trybunalski

Uniontex Factory in Lodz

Piotrkowska Street

Jan Komasa’s Warsaw 44

Kinderman’s Villa in Lodz

to help second-year students find suitable projects and receive invaluable on-the-job training during their studies. Recent international projects to have shot in the city include Pawel Pawlikowski’s Oscar-winning Ida, Cellin Gluck’s debut feature Persona Non Grata and Agnieszka Holland’s In Darkness to TV shows such as Great Continental Railway Journeys for the BBC and a Snoop Lion project that coupled Polish singer Iza Lach with the rapper’s reggae incarnation. Lodz has also been the go-to location for a host of high-profile Polish projects such as Jan Komasa’s Warsaw 44, about the 1944 uprising. natural selection The city is home to Opus Film Studios, which includes an 800 sq m sound stage, equipped with lighting catwalks, winches, an artificial horizon and full back-up facilities with everything from make-up rooms and costumes to set-building workshops. Post-production outfit Toya Sound Studios is also located in what was one of only two Polish towns, along with Krakow, not to have been razed to the ground during the Second World War.

As a result of avoiding the destruction, Lodz and the region of which it is the capital, offers a heady mix of old and new, with palace complexes such as Biedermann, medieval castle towns, Second World War bunkers, 19th-century mills and churches dating back to the 12th century. And the region also boasts forests, a cave system, peat bogs and marshes as well as a brown coal open-cast mine so large it is visible from space. Polish, Jewish, German and Russian communities all arrived to build fortunes, shape the city and influence Lodz’s present-day look and feel. It emerged in the 19th century as a textile industry centre for which it became known as the Manchester of the Russian empire, referencing the Northern English town’s wealth-creating industry. After the war the film school stayed in Lodz after initial plans to move it to Warsaw were shelved, boosting the city’s cultural and film influence. Pawlikowski described Lodz as a “melancholy place but with a great beauty” in an interview for US publication The Jewish Week, before noting it was a relatively inexpensive place to make a movie. Lodz is just over 100km southwest of the Polish capital Warsaw, which boasts an international airport with direct flights to and from Chicago and New York as well as hops from Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands among others. Direct flights to Lodz land from the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland and Norway. Visiting international talent can take in the view of the city from the roof terrace of the four-star Andel’s Hotel, a renovated former red-brick textile factory. And on rest days events include Triennale of Textiles, a nod to the city’s heritage as the world’s oldest event dedicated to the art of textiles, a biannual fashion festival, an international festival of photography, Lodz Design Festival and Tansman International Festival of Music Personalities. Quirkier annual events include the International Festival of Pleasant and Unpleasant Plays, the Urban Forms Festival, celebrating street art, and — since 1991 — comic-book creators and enthusiasts have visited the International Festival of Comics and Games. Lodz is ready to compete.

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Alex Garland’s Ex_Machina shot in Norway’s Juvet Landscape Hotel

Scandinavia Scandinavia is renowned for its locations, highly trained crews, generous local film funds and efficient film commissions. Sarah Cooper reports

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives


hat the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway lack in tax incentives they more than make up for as prolific and popular international co-production partners. Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is housing Working Title Films’ The Danish Girl, starring Eddie Redmayne, thanks in part to the city’s $5m (DKK35m) film fund (due to be extended in 2016). Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, has welcomed a number of international productions including Greg Poehler’s NBC TV series Welcome To Sweden and the city has just launched its first film fund, worth $3m. Alex Garland’s UK-US sci-fi drama Ex_Machina filmed at Norway’s stunning Juvet Landscape Hotel last year and the entire region regularly attracts big international commercials. Volvo and Renault just shot their new adverts in Sweden.

36 World of Locations 2015

Of the plethora of film funds across the region, the most prominent is Film i Vast in Trollhattan, west Sweden. It has an annual investment budget of around $11m. International film-makers are eligible for support from the region’s state funds if they work with local partners. In Denmark, key funds include the West Danish Film Fund, the Copenhagen Film Fund and FilmFyn. The Danish Film Institute backs between five and nine minority co-productions every year. Infrastructure

Highly trained English-speaking crews are well versed in working on large international productions. Crew rates may be slightly more expensive than across the rest of Europe, but they tend to work in smaller teams, so overall, prices remain competitive. Sweden’s Film i Vast houses big productions in its studio and office complex in Trollhattan, with credits including Force Majeure and Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt. HanWay Films’ Kon-Tiki was shot partly at Storm Studios in Norway, which also offers the Filmparken studio, located just outside Oslo. Stockholm has four studios. Locations

The region boasts stunning locations that

cannot be found anywhere else including volcanoes, fjords, mountains and forests. Within a small area, productions can shoot in modern cities, rural villages, arctic wildernesses and archipelagos. The region’s main cities are well kept and unspoilt, such as Copenhagen’s completely intact historic centre. Rural locations are all a short distance away. Where to stay

Scandinavia offers an excellent selection of four and five-star hotels, although hotel rooms can be more expensive and smaller than elsewhere in Europe. Still, there are plenty of apartments to rent in cool neighbourhoods such as Sodermalm in Stockholm, popular with film crews thanks to its bohemian bars and proximity to the old town. Live like a Scandi

From its noir thrillers to its design and architecture, Scandinavia is one of the coolest destinations on the planet. It also

GOOD TO KNOW The paparazzi is virtually non-existent in the Nordic region, which makes it a great draw for big stars looking for privacy while shooting.

boasts world-class restaurants and a liberal approach to life, which manifests itself in a lack of red tape and quick decisions when it comes to closing roads and clearing locations. “It’s one phone call to the power,” according to Sweden’s film commissioner, Ingrid Rudefors. Long daylight hours in summer are welcomed by directors and short days in winter enable ‘night’ shoots to be carried out during the day. The Scandinavian countries are well connected to the rest of Europe, with Los Angeles an 11-hour, direct flight away. Size matters

Travelling by car is easy and safe and unpopulated wildernesses are just 30 minutes from modern cities. First person to call Sweden Ingrid Rudefors, film

commissioner, Stockholm Denmark Noemi Ferrer Schwenk, head of international, Danish Film Institute Norway Truls Kontny, head of commission, Film Commission Norway Finland Tiina Laasonen, film commissioner, Finland Film Commission


Interstellar; (above) Michael Gambon on the set of Fortitude

Iceland Iceland’s dramatic landscapes, experienced crews and generous tax breaks give international film-makers a range of unique shooting opportunities. Sarah Cooper reports


celand’s otherworldly landscape, a 20% tax rebate, as well as low production costs, skilled, hard-working crews and accessible locations, make the territory a favourite for some of the world’s leading film-makers. Darren Aronofsky came to shoot Noah, Christopher Nolan made use of the glaciers for Interstellar (having shot Batman Begins on the island), Ben Stiller recreated the Himalayas, Greenland and Afghanistan for The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty and Clint Eastwood found the perfect stand-in for the black sands of Iwo Jima in Flags Of Our Fathers. Nikon and Mercedes have shot commercials in Iceland, and big scale TV series including HBO’s Game Of Thrones and Tiger Aspect/Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude have both chosen to shoot in the country.


Iceland offers a 20% tax rebate to film and television productions shooting in the country — but not to commercials for which there are no incentives. The rebate is available on eligible costs incurred in Iceland, with applications made to the Ministry of Industries and Innovation. The rebate is secure until at least 2016, when the government will carry out its five-yearly review. Further information

Minnesota and Scandinavia — and post-apocalyptic vistas — among many other landscapes. Sci-fi features are well served thanks to the geothermal glaciers, lava fields, lagoons with floating icebergs, snow-clad mountains, active smoking volcanoes and black sands. The country also has beaches, small towns, majestic waterfalls and lakes as well as the modern city of Reykjavik, the most northerly capital in the world.


Where to stay

Iceland has English-speaking crews with experience on large-scale international productions. Incoming shoots tend to bring heads of department. The largest studio facility is Atlantic Studios, complete with 2,220 sq m sound stage. Local production services companies include Pegasus Pictures and Sagafilm, which will process and fund the tax rebate. When it comes to production costs, Iceland is cheaper than its Scandinavian counterparts.

When the cast and crew of Fortitude descended on the small town of Reydarfjordur, they took over the two main hotels and a number of apartments for six months, boosting the population by 20% in the process. Reykjavik has a good range of hotels and luxury apartments. Hotels that are popular with film crews include the boutique 101 Hotel, Hotel Borg and the Radisson.

Financial incentives

directors long shooting days. Crews can ski or take part in the local tradition of an early morning dip in the hot tub. Reykjavik is bursting with art galleries, hip cafés and bars, and provides a good base to strike out for the rest of the country, which is considered one of the safest in the world. Regular direct flights from Europe take two to three hours, and about five to six hours from the US east coast. Getting around

Be part of the cool crowd Locations

Iceland has doubled for Siberia,

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From mid-May to mid-August, the sun sets for only three hours, allowing

Diverse they may be but far away from each other they are not, making Iceland a surprisingly accessible place to shoot. Atlantic Studios is just five minutes from Keflavik International Airport and 45 minutes from central Reykjavik.

GOOD TO KNOW Local production services will provide four-wheel drives, or for more remote locations, helicopters. And mountain guides are a must for shoots in difficult terrain and in harsh weather conditions.

Roads are good, with the main one being Route 1, an 832-mile ring road that takes in the entire circuit of the island. Matthew Bird, Fifty Fathoms, producer, Fortitude

“We looked at Greenland, but we would have had to use helicopters to get everywhere. Iceland was a really good choice. We shot for 11 or 12 weeks out on the east fjords, which doesn’t get much filming. But the infrastructure is brilliant. We picked up a lot of crew locally and we had great support from Pegasus Pictures.” Would he come back?

“Yes, it was a great experience.” What could be improved?

A boost to the 20% rebate would make Iceland even more competitive (locals are hoping for 25%), as would a studio facility in Reykjavik. First person to call

Einar Hansen Tomasson, film commissioner, Film In Iceland

Holmaslod 8 101 Reykjavik Iceland

FILM SERVICES IN ICELAND 20% REBATE ON ALL PRODUCTION COSTS TRUENORTH.IS Sense8 Andy & Lana Wachowski / Netflix The Huntsman Cedric Nicolas-Troyan / Universal Captain America: Civil War Anthony Russo & Joe Russo / Marvel Money Monster Jodie Foster / TriStar Pictures Noah Darren Aronofsky / Paramount Oblivion Joseph Kosinski / Universal The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Ben Stiller / 20th Century Fox Jupiter Ascending Andy & Lana Wachowski / Warner Bros. Thor: The Dark World Alan Taylor / Marvel Transformers 4 Michael Bay / Paramount Prometheus Ridley Scott / 20th Century Fox

T +354 511 1510

Fall in love with Denmark on screen

Creating value for Danish film or TV productions VisitDenmark, the official tourist organization of Denmark, is strengthening the international exposure of Danish film and tv-series. Learn more about the co-branding possibilities we offer to creators and distributors of Danish films: Contact: Signe L端th Di Liberto, VisitDenmark,

Film in the heart of Denmark

123 castles and manor houses 1130 km of coastline unique and accessible locations regional funding and service strong track record for film and TV series

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Relativity Media’s Damascus Cover on location in Morocco

Morocco Film-friendly Morocco regularly doubles for Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. By Melanie Goodfellow


bastion of stability in an otherwise turbulent region, Morocco is a popular destination for productions set against Middle Eastern backdrops too dangerous to visit in real life. The country welcomed a record 38 international productions in 2014, including Barry Levinson’s Rock The Kasbah, starring Bruce Willis and Zooey Deschanel, Paramount Pictures’ Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper for Warner Bros, Relativity Media’s Syria-set spy thriller Damascus Cover and Joachim Lafosse’s Les Chevaliers Blancs. Ang Lee’s Iraq-set drama Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, starring Vin Diesel and Kristen Stewart, and Todd Phillips’ comedy Arms And The Dudes, are among films set to shoot in Morocco this year.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

All expenses are exempt from VAT, which ranges from 14% to 20%. Social charges for crew are also waived for shoots lasting less than six months. Further information Infrastructure

There are three studios: CLA Studios and the Atlas Studios, close to Ouarzazate, and Cinedina Studios in Casablanca. Morocco has a pool of experienced crew although most productions bring in heads of department. There are a number of well-regarded line production companies, led by Marrakech-based Dune Films, Zak Productions and Casablanca-based K Films.

deserts and the majestic Atlas Mountains. The capital, Rabat, was transformed into war-torn Iraq for American Sniper, while the souks of Marrakech doubled for Afghanistan in Rock The Kasbah.

moving around the country is relatively straightforward, getting around big cities such as Casablanca can be complicated because of chronic urban congestion.

Where to stay

“Local crews are very experienced. Language can be a bit of an issue. Our first assistant director was from the UK but you need local assistant directors too to manage the extras.”

The Sheraton in Casablanca, the historic La Mamounia in Marrakech and Le Berbere Palace in Ouarzazate. On your days off

Go carpet and trinket shopping in the souks of Marrakech, take in the beaches of Agadir, sample beauty treatments at the country’s world-famous hammams and spas and don’t miss sightseeing and trekking in the area around Ouarzazate.



Size matters

The Moroccan military is very supportive of the film industry and can provide military equipment, uniforms and extras.

Morocco’s historic cities have a Europemeets-the-Middle East look, while the country also boasts atmospheric

Slightly larger than California, Morocco is a compact country with good rail, road and air networks. But while

Hannah Leader, producer, Damascus Cover

What could be improved?

The country needs to increase its crew pool to accommodate all the shoots. Leader brought in more technicians than usual on Damascus Cover due to competition for top crews from other international shoots. First person to call

Laila Tounzi, Moroccan Cinematographic Center

2015 World of Locations 41


Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens

Abu Dhabi International film-makers are impressed by the emirate’s aim to become a regional ‘content hub’ and its 30% cash rebate. By Melanie Goodfellow


t has been a high-profile 12 months for Abu Dhabi. The state attracted two of 2014’s most coveted international shoots, Fast & Furious 7 and Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, and also played host to TV shows including the BBC’s Top Gear, NBC’s The Bold And The Beautiful and Bollywood productions Bang Bang! and Baby. It is also proving a popular destination for Arab productions including the Arabic version of Sesame Street (Iftah Ya SimSim) and the region’s Entertainment Tonight spin-off ET Bil Arabi.

GOOD TO KNOW A number of the luxury cars in the Abu Dhabi-shot scenes of Fast & Furious 7 were provided by a local company called PP-Performance.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

Abu Dhabi Film Commission offers a 30% cash rebate on all productions — including feature films, all television formats, commercials and music videos — shot in Abu Dhabi. The scheme also applies to post-production, digital content services and visual effects (PDV) services for projects shot inside or outside Abu Dhabi. Further information: Abu Dhabi Film Commission www. Infrastructure

Abu Dhabi’s ongoing drive to turn itself into a content hub for the region means there is a growing pool of crew and post-production professionals, trained and nurtured by the government-backed

media group twofour54. The group recently won the best editing award at the regional Digital Studio Awards. It is about to relaunch refurbished postproduction facilities that first opened in 2009. International productions still import key crew for now. Locations

Deserts and futuristic cityscapes are the main draws. The rolling dunes of its western desert were used to recreate the backdrop of Jakku in Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens and also feature in Akshay Kumar’s Baby. In Fast & Furious 7, one major stunt involves Van Diesel’s character driving off the 45th floor of one of the five landmark Etihad Towers.

Where to stay

More than 40 hotels opened in Abu Dhabi in 2014, which gives international productions plenty of choice at a range of price points. This spend is usually eligible for the 30% cash rebate. Luxury hotels suitable for A-list cast include the seven-star Emirates Palace and the St Regis, which boasts the highest suspended presidential suite in the world. Downtime in Abu Dhabi

As well as the beaches, the list of culture must-sees is headed by the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. There is also Ferrari World and the Grand Prix Circuit, where Fast & Furious 7 stars Vin Diesel and Tyrese Gibson reportedly tried out the popular local pastime of ‘dune-bashing’ — or hitting the dunes in a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Size matters

Fast & Furious 7 director James Wan in Abu Dhabi with star Vin Diesel

42 World of Locations 2015

The largest of the United Arab Emirates’ seven states, Abu Dhabi covers an area of 67,340 square kilometres. It has a modern and well-maintained road system but beware — the state has one of the highest rates of road fatalities in the world. It is a two-hour drive to Dubai and a 40-minute taxi ride from Abu Dhabi International Airport to the centre of the city.


Downtown Dubai

Dubai Dubai’s dazzling urban architecture is becoming a popular backdrop to international films and TV. Melanie Goodfellow reports


he glitziest of the United Arab Emirates’ seven states, Dubai is home to a burgeoning advertising industry with a focus on MENA markets, which makes it a popular location for commercials aimed at the region’s consumers. Recent commercials to have been shot here include luxury watch-maker Ome-

ga’s campaign featuring golfer Rory McIlroy, which was set against the backdrop of Dubai’s Championship course. Campaigns for BMW, Toyota and Ford were also recently filmed in Dubai. The emirate hosted 16 features in 2014, including nine Bollywood titles. One of those was Welcome Back, which shot 90% of its scenes in the state.

Dubai is also a popular destination for international television series. These include local broadcaster MBC’s Ramadam blockbuster Saraya Abdeen, which was shot between Dubai and Cairo. The TV show used the sound stages and post-production suites of Dubai Studio City, the largest facility in the region.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

Dubai, which is a tax-free state, does not have an official rebate but instead offers soft incentives such as discounted accommodation, flights and visas for productions.

infrastructure, including green-screen studios, underwater tanks and postproduction facilities. It has supported TV formats of all sizes including MasterChef Arabia (the largest MasterChef set to date), The Cube and El Beit.

renowned shopping malls and world-class restaurants. Dubai also boasts iconic urban landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab and Palm Jumeirah.

First person to call Size matters

The emirate occupies around 2,400 Infrastructure


The state is home to a growing local talent pool — there are more than 200 production companies based in the emirate. International productions increasingly use local talent when filming in Dubai. Dubai Studio City’s sound stages house cutting-edge post

Dubai’s sumptuous luxury hotels, beach resorts and futuristic architecture are the big draws, as is the surrounding desert.

GOOD TO KNOW Dubai may not offer hard incentives but is always worth talking to Dubai Film and TV Commission to see what soft help it can offer.

Dubai Film and TV Commission

Where to stay

Dubai is home to a wide range of accommodation options, including luxury, mid-range and more affordable hotels and apartments. Dubai Film Commission often helps with discounted rates. While in Dubai

Don’t miss the beaches, gold souks,

square miles but keeps growing because of the addition of artificial islands, in the style of the Palm Jumeirah.

Dubai Studio City

2015 World of Locations 43



combination of factors makes the east coast of Australia attractive to international producers. These include diverse locations, world-class studios, financial incentives, reliable service companies and excellent crew and talent. The Australian dollar has been weakening against the US dollar, which is good news for attracting international production. Securing Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was a big win, basing itself in Queensland with nearly 800 locals making up 70% of the crew. US indie Truth, starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford, filmed in Sydney, and Melbourne hosted Childhood’s End for NBCUniversal’s Syfy. The 30% incentives for post, digital and visual-effects work helped Melbourne’s Illoura secure work on The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water and Sydney’s Animal Logic has two spinoffs from The Lego Movie: Ninjago and The Lego Batman Movie.

Queensland-based Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Australia The territory’s laidback lifestyle and advanced film infrastructure are big attractions for film-makers and talent spending six months or more Down Under. Sandy George reports

GOOD TO KNOW Producers who film in Australia generally become fans. Following The Sun And The Moon, Bill Mechanic is looking to return with Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge. Disney had a long-running relationship with the country before doing deals on Pirates.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives


When in the land of Oz

A national uncapped 16.5% location tax rebate is available to films with minimum qualifying Australian production expenditure (QAPE) of $11.5m (A$15m) — for television $800,000 (A$1m) per finished hour. There is a 30% rebate for post and VFX work, and 40% for co-productions with Australia. There are also state incentives. Further information www.ausfilm.

Australia has great range. Queensland delivers tropical beaches and jungle, and has a water tank, while Melbourne is often chosen for its cityscapes and surrounding countryside that resembles the UK. Pop over to New Zealand for the wide aerial shots of snow-covered mountains.

Visiting talent and film-makers often finish with a holiday — to Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef for example — but during filming they take advantage of cultural, sporting and dining options. When on the Gold Coast for Unbroken, Angelina Jolie and her family went to theme park Dreamworld and arranged an after-hours dinner and curated tour of Brisbane’s impressive Gallery of Modern Art. Pierce Brosnan worked on his golf and went to the opera when in Melbourne for The Sun And The Moon.


Crews speak English, are driven and experienced. It is unnecessary to import heads of department. Having three studios — Docklands Studios Melbourne, Sydney’s Fox Studios Australia and Village Roadshow Studios on Queensland’s Gold Coast — is the only limit to capacity. Adelaide has an additional boutique facility.

44 World of Locations 2015

Where to stay

Australia has high living standards and abundant accommodation. The QT and the Sheraton on the Park in Sydney’s CBD, and the Park Hyatt opposite Sydney Opera House, are popular. Good choices in Melbourne include Adelphi Hotel and Hotel Lindrum in the city’s heart and the Como in South Yarra. Palazzo Versace and Sheraton Mirage Resort at Main Beach are popular Gold Coast spots. For longer stays, Surry Hills through to Elizabeth Bay are favoured in Sydney, Toorak and Port Melbourne are popular in Melbourne. Broadbeach on the Gold Coast has many serviced apartments.

Getting around

Australia is vast but international features usually base themselves somewhere with good access to all they need. All three major studios have many service companies on site and are close to airports and main arterial roads, although Sydney and Melbourne are subject to rush-hour traffic snarls.

Jerry Bruckheimer, producer, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

“We decided to film in Queensland because it presented very attractive benefits — an excellent studio base for offices and stage work at Village Roadshow, beautiful locations, firstrate talent both behind and in front of the camera and the wonderful cooperation of federal, state and city governments.” What could be improved?

A separate fund that effectively pushed the location rebate up to 30% is now used up. The federal government says its door is open, but formally renewing that money would give Australia more bargaining power and certainty. First person to call

Kate Marks, executive vice-president, international production, Ausfilm


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The Auckland set of Power Rangers

New Zealand James Cameron’s substantial use of New Zealand for Avatar and intention to settle there permanently speaks volumes for the territory’s film-making capability and the allure of its lifestyle. Sandy George reports


ild, rugged environments now share the limelight with New Zealand’s knack for digital creation of imaginary worlds and creatures. Other drawcards are generous financial incentives and crews that have honed their skills on Peter Jackson’s blockbusters. The leading production hubs are Auckland in the north, capital city Wellington, and Queenstown and surrounds on the south island. In the last year New Zealand has hosted Disney family adventure Pete’s Dragon; Legendary Pictures’ feature Krampus for Universal; Light Between Oceans for DreamWorks SKG; Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend for The Weinstein Company; the Thunderbirds Are Go! remake for ITV; The Shannara Chronicles for MTV; series Ash vs Evil Dead for Starz; and Power Rangers Dino Charge, a further instalment in the Saban franchise.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

An uncapped (cash) grant, equivalent to 20% of qualifying New Zealand production expenditure (QNZPE), is available if the QNZPE is more than $11.3m (NZ$15m) for features and $3m (NZ$4m) for television. An additional 5% is subject to an economic benefits test. Further information financial-advantages/internationalincentives Infrastructure

The English-speaking crews include several Oscar winners. Auckland Film Studios, Studio West and Stone Street Studios are the biggest stage complexes. Locations

Jaw-dropping scenery whether mountains, forest, lakes or coastline.


Where to stay

New Zealand has opposite seasons to the northern hemisphere so offers snow in July and golden wheat fields in February.

Five-star hotels, luxury lodges and boutique hotels abound, with houses and apartments hired for longer stays. Popular

46 World of Locations 2015

Whether it is the background to a hiking adventure or just observed through a car window, the scenery is bewitching. The food and wine are also exceptional. Favourites include the Auckland’s Britomart district, Wynyard Quarter or Ponsonby Road; Wellington’s Cuba Street; and Queenstown’s Cafe Vudu and Amisfield winery and bistro.

Studios, Park Road Post and Weta Digital are the type of world-class facilities you come to depend on to deliver groundbreaking films. The exceptional cooperation we received from the forestry industry and a timber mill allowing us to operate as though we were on a backlot was essential to both our creative vision and the safe execution of our production plan. The assistance from Film New Zealand and the communities of the greater Wellington region — Rotorua, Tokoroa, Tapanui, Gore and Invercargill — cut through red tape and made us feel at home.”

Getting around

Would he come back? “Definitely.”

luxury hotels in Auckland include The Langham and Sofitel. In Wellington, the Museum Art Hotel impresses. Heritage Hotels is a reliable boutique brand. Fantasy islands

New Zealand is a compact country, only slightly bigger than the UK. Both main islands have international airports and short flights connect the regions. Barrie M Osborne, producer, Pete’s Dragon

“I love the spirit and ingenuity of the crews. The facilities such as Stone Street

What could be improved?

“Stay competitive and build additional infrastructure,” says Osborne. First person to call

Philippa Mossman, director, business development and enquiries, Film New Zealand


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Avatar © 2009 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Spartacus: War of the Damned © 2013 Starz Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved. NZFC0007 Top of the Lake Paradise © See-Saw (Top of the Lake) Holdings Pty Ltd.


X+Y films outside the landmark Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei



aiwan’s swift ascent to the top league of world locations started with Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi, which was filmed in Taichung in 2011. It was followed by EuropaCorp’s Lucy, in which Luc Besson showcased a Taiwan-set story. Then John Woo filmed part of The Crossing with high-profile Japanese and Korean actors, including Takeshi Kaneshiro and Song Hye-kyo in 2014. And now comes Martin Scorsese’s Silence, starring Liam Neeson and Andrew Garfield, in which Taiwan is doubling for 17th-century Japan. Other foreign productions include UK director Morgan Matthews’ X+Y, Hong Kong director Oxide Pang’s Detective Gui, Fuji TV’s Japanese drama GTO and SBS’s Korean reality show Roommate, as well as Hunan Television’s China reality shows Where Are We Going, Dad? and Hubei TV’s Perhaps Love.


Taiwan has a tendency to get under the skin of visiting film-makers. Just ask Luc Besson and Isao Yukisada. WY Wong reports

Beware of paparazzi — not only from Taiwan but also from Hong Kong, who are considered more notorious.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives


International film, TV and TVC crews shooting in Taiwan can access subsidies of around $1m per production. These include a 30% rebate on locally hired cast and crew, a 25% rebate on all pre and post qualifying spend and a 15% rebate on insurance costs. Additionally, Taipei City offers further production subsidies of up to $2m per annum for international productions. There is also a case-by-case incentive scheme for special projects. Further information

While Lucy came to Taipei for its modern urban landscape, X+Y featured a local high school, night markets and the landmark Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. Taiwan also caters well for period films. The Crossing built an old Japanese-style house on Yangmingshan, a mountain national park famous for its beautiful landscapes. The park was also a location for Silence, and doubled as 17th-century Japan.


Thanks to the vibrant local film and TV industry, Taiwan has plenty of studios — the biggest ones are Central Pictures Corporation and Arrow Cinematic Group. In terms of post-production, Tu’s 3H Sound Studio is so renowned for sound mixing that Japanese director Isao Yukisada’s Five Minutes To Tomorrow chose to do its audio post in Taiwan although it was not filmed there. Taiwanese crews are generally hardworking and well-trained, although not all of them are fluent in English. Translators are available.

48 World of Locations 2015

Where to stay

Luc Besson, his producer-wife Virginie Silla and actress Scarlett Johansson stayed at the swanky Regent Hotel, which featured in the opening scenes of Lucy. Some international crew stayed at the Grand Hyatt. Rented apartments are easily available. Taiwan life

While Johansson had fun at the zoo and the night markets, Besson kept going back to local chain Din Tai Fung

for xiaolongbao (steamed dumplings filled with minced pork). He now has plans to open a xiaolongbao restaurant in Paris to satisfy his cravings. Shrimp pools were the favourite entertainment for Yukisada, who has decided to include the shrimp fishing game in his next film. Size matters

Taiwan is an island nearly the size of Switzerland. Taipei City, situated in the north, offers a variety of locations, from the glamorous Xinyi District and popular youth hangout Ximending, to neighbourhoods with traditional Chinese, Japanese and modern characteristics. Yangmingshan is a 40-minute drive from downtown Taipei. Virginie Silla, producer, Lucy

“The French crew and the Taiwanese crew collaborated very well. Everyone [in Taipei] was a hard worker. (Left) Lucy

The Crossing

When we went to the production office late at night, everyone was there, seven days a week.” What could be further improved?

Brush up the English-language skills of the local crews. First person to call

Taipei Film Commission service@


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ti n g film ons ents taffs n u a l ti o n s c o u n fo r 2 s l o c a l t a l a p p l i c a ti e t s n A o ‧ g y ca mark o d a ti oosin ubsid ee lo ‧ F r a c c o m m o n o f c h n g a n d s ti o n a l fi l m a ki a ti ee ‧Fr mmend h filmma nd intern o t a i c ‧ R e s t a n c e w o m e s ti c i s t s rg a d ‧A on.o ti o n i s o s i m o omm ‧Pr filmc 880 i e p i .t a 93 www 6 (2) 270 8 T: + 8


Xiao Youkeng, the Yangmingshan National Park Photo: Te-Fan Wang


The Avengers: Age Of Ultron shot in Seoul

Seoul’s Deogsugung Palace

Green tea fields in Bosung

S South Korea A good film infrastructure and generous rebate has helped attract two highprofile international shoots to South Korea in the past year. Jean Noh reports

outh Korea’s cityscapes, including the large Han River flowing through the middle of Seoul, are relatively fresh to foreign eyes, although the rise of the Korean Wave has been influencing international casting and locations choices. Nike recently shot a commercial in the capital and the Wachowskis’ upcoming high-end TV series Sense8 for Netflix also shot there, featuring homegrown star Bae Doona. Marvel Studios and Disney’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron, also filmed in South Korea last year with local actress Claudia Kim in a supporting role.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

Where to stay

The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) offers up to 30% cash rebate for international feature films, TV series and documentaries. This can be combined with other cash incentives from Seoul Film Commission, Busan Film Commission and in-kind support from them and other regional commissions. Further details

In Seoul, the Avengers and Sense8 productions both stayed at Conrad Seoul. Further popular hotels are the Grand Hyatt, the Park Hyatt and W Hotel. For serviced apartments, Somerset Palace, Fraser Suites and Oakwood are the most used by crews.


English is not spoken widely in South Korea, but more and more internationally educated film-makers are returning to the country, and production managers such as Danny Kang at production services company Mr Romance, which worked on Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Sense8, can put together crews with bilingual members and co-ordinators. Locations

It’s not just cities; South Korea boasts glorious vistas of rivers, mountains and fields.

50 World of Locations 2015

can take anywhere from 15 minutes to more than an hour to navigate major spots depending on traffic, but inside Seoul it rarely costs more than $28 a trip. A lot of productions shoot in Busan and Jeju Island, which are both less than an hour’s flight from Seoul.

The Seoul path

Nick Laws, production manager, Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Sense8

Itaewon and more recently Gyeongridan and Hannamdong are hip Seoul neighbourhoods for bars and restaurants where English is spoken widely. The Avengers and Sense8 productions spent free time in and around the Conrad, the IFC Mall and Yeouido in general. Insadong is a good place for antiques and souvenirs, and visit Bukchon — immortalised in auteur director Hong Sangsoo’s The Day He Arrives — for small shops and eateries.

“A production coming to South Korea needs to decide in advance whether it will adapt to the availability of local equipment, crew and facilities or, depending on the scale of the production, what crew and equipment they need to bring in. There are many excellent technicians working on Korean films but communicating in English will limit the choice of people to work with, depending on the expectations and scale of the international project.”

Size matters

First person to call

Depending on where you are headed in Seoul from Incheon International Airport, it can take from 45 to 90 minutes by bus or taxi. Seoul is a metropolis that

Mark Siegmund, international team manager, Korea Film Commissions & Industry Network

For more information




On the set of Indian Summers

In it for the long haul Why did the UK’s Channel 4 film its epic India-set TV series Indian Summers in Malaysia? The producers tell Matt Mueller about the attractions of Penang for the mammoth shoot


hen Channel 4 was deciding where to make its flagship series Indian Summers, which is set during the dying days of the British Raj, India seemed the most obvious choice. But it was Malaysia that ended up landing the gig, and a lucrative one at that: at $24m (£16m), Indian Summers is the most expensive commission ever for the UK broadcaster. Charles Pattinson, the executive producer of the lavish 10-part drama through his company New Films, did kick off his search in India. He investigated the actual location where Indian Summers mostly takes place: the Himalayan hill town of Shimla, where the civil servants who ran India decamped for their holidays, its cooler climes making it the ideal colonial summer capital. But Shimla’s relative isolation (a 10-hour

52 World of Locations 2015

drive from Delhi) made it unsuitable for a cast and crew, the majority of them from the UK, who would be living there for up to nine months each year over a planned five-year series. “There are a number of things to think about when you’re choosing to shoot a long-running series,” says Pattinson. “If you ask your crew and cast to relocate for nine or 10 months, it has to be somewhere enjoyable. The other factors, of course, are the weather and cost.” Weather led Pattinson to also rule out southern India, subject to a fierce monsoon season, and he subsequently switched his attention to Malaysia, where he had worked on a shoot some 25 years earlier. He quickly settled on the island and city of Penang, which is situated in the northwest coast of the Malay peninsula near the border of Thailand. Penang has

‘If you ask your crew and cast to relocate for 10 months, it has to be somewhere enjoyable’ Charles Pattinson, executive producer

a colonial history of its own — its surrounding hills were also a preserve of red-faced Brits seeking refuge from the heat — and a local preservation order established in 1936 meant historic buildings were readily available, albeit in need of substantial refurbishment. “At least three of our major locations had been

overrun by the jungle for the past 30 years,” Pattinson notes. Combine that with the country’s Film In Malaysia Incentive, and the Indian Summers production had found its perfect home. Modelled loosely on the Australian tax credit, the Malaysian incentive offers a 30% rebate on qualifying spend for international shoots: pre-production, production and post-production. Penang offers other advantages, too: it has large Indian and UK ex-pat communities, meaning the casting of extras for Raj-era India was not an arduous task. It is also a hub city with easy flight connections to the rest of Southeast Asia. “You’re an hour from Bangkok, an hour from Singapore, 40 minutes from Kuala Lumpur and 20 minutes from a tropical paradise beach,” says Pattinson, who put up most of his cast and crew in rented apartments in George Town, the »

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capital of Penang state. “There was a real opportunity for the cast and crew to get away and have rest and recreation — incredibly important for a long shoot.” Pattinson worked closely with the Film In Malaysia Office (FIMO), taking steps to ensure Indian Summers became eligible for a rebate. Among other things, that included a script-approval process and a commitment to hire local crew. For the most part, Pattinson and the series’ producer Dan McCulloch operated on a model of hiring heads of department plus one from outside Malaysia, mostly the UK, and staffed the rest of the crew locally. While the Malaysian industry is not blessed with great depth in that respect, a focus on commercials and advertising shoots means it is improving all the time. Strong support With Indian Summers the first major international television series to shoot in Malaysia, there were teething issues on both sides, admits Pattinson. But overall he found FIMO supportive and helpful, particularly when it came to gaining permits to shoot in historic locations. During the actual production, they collaborated with the Penang government to organise road closures and

‘It was one of the best years of my life, living out there in Penang with my family’ Dan McCulloch, producer

Indian Summers is the first major international television series to shoot in Malaysia

arrange extra police presence for filming in public areas, and relied on local production services firm Biscuit Films. Pattinson’s stoutest recommendation for other productions considering a shoot in Malaysia is to “find a good service company and make it your partner”. Both Pattinson and McCulloch were impressed by the industry and initiative of their local crew, and the adaptability of the country’s filming infrastructure.

“At the beginning,” says McCulloch, “we couldn’t get a hover cam. But towards the end, lo and behold, someone in Kuala Lumpur had set up a hover cam company and sent one of the best operators I’ve ever worked with. Once you’re there and making it clear what you need, invariably people will come up with it.” The long-term ambition is to produce 50 episodes of Indian Summers over five series, with the story leading up to India’s

independence in 1947. Convincing local government officials they were going to be there for the long haul was crucial in building trust. “Apart from seeing how talented and willing the local crew was,” says Pattinson, “one of the most satisfying things was seeing the government become very proud of what we’d done together.” “It was one of the best years of my life, living out there with my family,” adds McCulloch. “Penang is an interesting place to get to know. It’s growing rapidly but it also takes its heritage seriously in terms of culture and food. People from all over Southeast Asia come to Penang for the food. I’ll never experience curry that good again.” Contact

ADVERTISING FEATURE Set in the heart of Southeast Asia, among some of the most beautiful beaches, jungles, rainforests, rice fields, palmoil plantations and old-town colonial buildings, Malaysia has quickly become renowned as one of the most attractive film destinations in the world. Seven Sunday Films, a film production outfit and support company newly located in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, is devoted to innovative and inspiring films. With its name derived from the famous saying “every day is a Sunday”, its clients are able to experience the ease of a “seven Sunday week” when working with the company. Executive producer Rodney Louis Vincent and head of production Saifful Shah Razi, natives to the country, can show clients the best of the locale, landscape, customs and language, as well as the crew’s expertise in production. At Seven Sunday Films, productions are crisp, the people are intelligent, and professionalism sits at the pinnacle. In working with their clients, Seven Sunday Films strives to provide five-star service, including the best rental deals, equipment and value that is the best bar none. Its extensive client list includes international brands such as Procter

54 World of Locations 2015

Sunday every day Based in Kuala Lumpur, Seven Sunday Films combines ambition and professionalism to make shooting in Malaysia both easy and successful

Colonial buildings are an attraction

& Gamble, Audi, Johnson & Johnson, Philips, F&N, Mead Johnson, Gillette, Colgate-Palmolive, Olympus, Silverstone, Sony Ericsson, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Mazda and Unilever. A financial incentive to filming in Malaysia is that all foreign companies using the country for location and/or post-production will receive a 30% cash rebate, and Seven Sunday Films can provide help with the application. Qualifying formats include feature films, telemovies, TV (mini) series, documentaries, commercials, animation, digital games and other narrative formats. The country is also home to Pinewood Iskander Malaysia Studios, a world-class facility located in Johor Baru. Some popular movies filmed in Malaysia include Anna And The King, Entrapment, Thunderbolt and The Sleeping Dictionary. Seven Sunday Films specialises in taking great ideas and turning them into reality. The company does its best work with clients who have ambitious mandates and share its values of humility, respect, courage and the desire to be the best they possibly can. It does all this while providing top-notch service and value through its vast experience.










On the set of Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear

THE LOWDOWN The financial incentives

One night in Bangkok…

Thailand has double-taxation avoidance treaties with several countries; income tax is 10% for foreign actors. Further details

In Bangkok, A-listers often frequent Ku De Ta restaurant and nightclub, Vertigo and Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree hotel for rooftop dining, and Maggie Choo’s restaurant and bar concealed beneath the Novotel Fenix Silom.


The country has several sound stages including Moonstar Studios and ACTS Studio in Bangkok, and warehouses can be rented cheaply to build indoor sets. Production services companies such as De Warrenne Pictures tap a large pool of freelance film crews, often bilingual, handling everything from low-budget to big-budget shoots.



ot only does Thailand boast exotic jungles, beaches and a tropical climate, it also has experienced technicians who are used to working on international productions and are good value for money. They have recreated 1970s London street scenes in Bangkok for Millennium Films’ Mechanic: Resurrection, starring Jason Statham and Jessica Alba, and modern-day

Osaka for Thailand-US co-production Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear. A new series of Sky’s military TV series Strike Back also shot in the territory last year. However, ongoing political instability is putting off some, with a 12% drop in the number of international film and TV productions in 2014 but with a still hefty 122 from Europe and 37 from China. Jean Noh

Where to stay

Thailand has a variety of world-class hotels at competitive prices. Jason Statham, Jessica Alba and Michelle Yeoh stayed at Six Senses Resort off the coast of Phuket for Mechanic: Resurrection. In Bangkok, crews often stay in apartments on Sukhumvit Road.

Size matters

Similar in size to France at 513,000 square kilometres, Thailand has good travel infrastructure, with everywhere 70 minutes by plane from Bangkok. The main sound stages and locations in Bangkok are usually reachable under an hour by road from Sukhumvit Road. Frank DeMartini, producer, Mechanic: Resurrection “Mechanic: Resurrection cost about $40m to shoot in Thailand. To shoot where it’s located in the script would probably cost $100m-$120m. But you can ‘double’ Bangkok for a lot of places in the world. The construction teams here are fantastic, just as good as in Hollywood.”

PROMOTIONAL FEATURE D’Hive, the planned international media hub, broke ground in the Songjiang district of Shanghai on April 27, 2015. It is expected to take 18-24 months to complete the first phase of construction in China’s most densely populated city. When fully built, D’Hive will encompass 390,000 square metres of media facilities, a conference centre, two hotels, a business park and residential and commercial areas. The $1.5bn project is being driven by Singapore-based consultancy and film financier Cubix International and Chinese-US real-estate developer Bestlinkage Group, with backing from the district government of Songjiang. D’Hive will offer local tax, rental and set-up incentives, along with production funding and on-site consultation. It will be the first facility of its kind in Asia. “There is no similar model that houses a majority of foreign companies and individual media professionals in a single location, producing international quality film,” suggests Benjamin Toh, chairman and executive managing director of Cubix. “D’Hive is being developed for international co-productions, providing a one-stop service for film, TV and media production companies looking to produce content in custom-built studios. It will advise on

56 World of Locations 2015

An artist’s impression of the D’Hive building

D’Hive is buzzing Shanghai’s D’Hive is set to be the leading one-stop shop for international media companies in Asia, helping them to navigate China’s media terrain all aspects of co-production, including licensing, HR, artist management and film distribution in the international market.” China is the world’s second biggest film market after North America, and this growth has brought with it attractive production and location opportunities. Organisations to have already taken

advantage of these new relationships include Disney, which will open Shanghai Disneyland later this year, and Dreamworks Animation’s Oriental DreamWorks, which is building its Dream Center in the city. “Market size and turnover are key in attracting international companies to shoot and produce their projects

in China,” acknowledges Toh. Equally important are the availability of globally competitive incentives. Those companies who make their home at D’Hive will benefit from the waiving of local district company tax for the first two years of operation, with only 50% being payable in the third year, along with a 50% subsidy in their incorporation fee. D’Hive will serve as a valuable entry point into China’s potentially lucrative but unfamiliar market by providing handson navigation of the country’s business terrain. Toh explains the facility will “speed up a company’s learning curve in China, by assisting with WOFE [Wholly Foreign Enterprise] incorporation, development grants for co-production friendly projects, business matching with Chinese companies and professional training programmes. We have also created a management system, whereby we facilitate the administration of things such as application submissions and approval.” With so much on offer, it’s little surprise a raft of companies are already in negotiations to take offices in D’Hive, including Singapore’s Yellow Box Studios and Shooting Gallery Asia, Canada’s Mokko Incubation School and the US’s Latitude Entertainment.


Hands Of Stone

Panama A film-friendly government is impressing international producers who choose to shoot in Panama. Jennifer Green reports



S president Barack Obama’s visit to Panama made news this April but it was another famous guest that had a lasting effect on the country’s film industry: Bond. James Bond. The Panama portion of the shoot on Quantum Of Solace helped inspire the 2007 creation of the country’s film commission. A new law was created in 2012 to offer financial incentives to international producers as well as funds for local productions. Since then, film and TV crews have been taking a closer look at Panama although most production is still driven by commercials. One of the territory’s biggest incoming features is Jonathan Jakubowicz’s Hands Of Stone, based on the real-life story of Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran, which shot in Panama in 2014 and stars Robert De Niro. (Right) Quantum Of Solace

58 World of Locations 2015

Financial incentives

A 15% rebate programme offers a cash rebate for production costs incurred in the country. The full rebate can be escrowed upfront with the bond company to cashflow the production. Requirements include a minimum $3m spend (maximum $40m) and conditional approval based on an audit and certification of expenses by a locally based public accountant. Most public locations are free. Full details www. Infrastructure

Backed by an enthusiastic and helpful national government, Panama is just starting to build up its industry, and two South American rental companies have opened fully equipped houses. The Panama Film Commission, which has a service directory on its website, acts as a one-stop shop for whisking foreign crews through customs tax-free and obtaining shooting permits. There are no unions and the US dollar is the local currency. International productions bring in their heads of department.


Keep an eye on the weather: it can be extremely humid and wet, which causes traffic snarl-ups and technical problems.


The territory’s paradise islands are a popular setting and it also has locations ranging from modern cities to jungle to coast. Former US military bases have been used as locations. Quantum Of Solace used some of Panama City’s classic colonial architecture to stand in for Bolivia’s La Paz and northern Colon City doubled as Haiti. Hands Of Stone recreated New York City and New Orleans.

Size matters

It is a quick non-stop flight to Panama City from several launching-off points in the US, and the country itself can be crossed in around eight hours. This makes logistics a breeze and means crews are just a car-ride away from any location. Ben Silverman, producer, Hands Of Stone

Panama has no shortage of beachfront resorts and luxury hotels, and Panama City has plenty of hotel options. Hands Of Stone co-star Robert De Niro was spotted at the upscale La Posta restaurant next door to the Waldorf Astoria.

“Panama originally did not have any infrastructure to shoot down there. So we decided to shoot in a place that had a very similar feel to it, but with a great film infrastructure. Also there was no film law in Panama. But once the Panamanian government heard of our project, they sped up the approval of their film law and helped by giving us a significant amount of resources for our film. “There are very little services and infrastructure but thanks to our production, new services houses have been established and are now providing a lot of the needs for the industry.”

When in Panama

First person to call

A visit to the Panama Canal is obligatory. There is also great fishing and beautiful beaches.

Gabriel Padilla, international project manager, Panama Film Commission +507 560 0638

Where to stay


Knock Knock


Chile Argentina stood in for Chile on Colonia


rgentina’s geographic diversity and its easy substitution as settings from Paris to New York make it a magnet for international television crews, commercials and feature film productions. Recent shoots include Warner Bros’ Will Smith caper Focus and Florian Gallenberger’s English-language film Colonia, starring Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl, in which Argentina doubles for 1970s Chile. It is produced by Majestic Filmproduktion. Jennifer Green



hile is a country offering a huge variety of landscape and climates, broad ethnic diversity and counter seasons to the northern hemisphere. Already renowned as a high-end commercials location, the country also draws occasional international film shoots including Patricia Riggen’s The 33, a drama based on the men who survived the collapse of the Chilean mine for Phoenix Pictures, Sony Pictures’ Quantum Of Solace and Eli Roth’s Sundance title Knock Knock. Jennifer Green


Financial incentives

Where to stay

Financial incentives

None at present beyond a return on the country’s 21% value-added tax. But relatively low costs and beneficial exchange rates mean hiring crews, services and accommodation can make it worth the expense of travelling to South America or lugging local crews anywhere beyond Buenos Aires. Small and midsized companies with offices established in the province of Buenos Aires or the city’s designated Audiovisual District can access further tax exemptions. Some discounts on production services and accommodations in Buenos Aires are also available through the film commissions. Further information

Sophisticated Buenos Aires has plenty of upscale and boutique hotels, particularly in the Palermo and Puerto Madero districts. The Philippe Starckdesigned Faena Hotel was used as a location in Focus. Visiting international stars have been known to stay at the luxury Sofitel Cardales resort, 60km outside the city.

International film productions can access a 19% exemption on VAT for local production services. Further information: Joyce Zylberberg Serman, general co-ordinator, Chile Film Commission

Tango unchained

Buenos Aires is considered the most European of South America’s big cities, renowned for its nightlife, steak and local wines. Visiting A-listers also take in tango shows and polo matches. Getting around


The country is known for fully equipped services and facilities, as well as experienced crews and talent. Film commissions in Buenos Aires offer assistance with permits, locations and local connections, including an online guide to some 4,500 local companies. Locations

There is plenty of variety, from mountains to jungles to coasts. The architecturally diverse Buenos Aires is a popular low-cost stand-in for European and North American cities, especially when seasons need to be swapped.

60 World of Locations 2015

It is more than 3,300km from the northernmost Jujuy province to the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego, making Buenos Aires’ coastal location near the middle an ideal launching point. Benjamin Herrmann, producer, Colonia

“It was wonderful to work in Buenos Aires, the actors and crew members were very talented and perfectly complemented our European crew. There was the challenge of strict shooting regulations and union rules, however our local service production company, Pensa y Rocca, were amazing.”

views over the city and the Andes in the distance. Keanu Reeves was spotted at popular restaurant Pinpilinpausha when he was in Santiago shooting Knock Knock. The 33 members of cast and crew stayed in Copiapo, about 800km north of Santiago, and were impressed by the food and the friendliness of the people.


Chilean crews are generally bilingual and Santiago has various warehouses and sound stages used for filming. Chile is one of only two South American countries (along with Mexico) that accepts the ATA Carnet, the international customs document allowing companies to temporarily import goods and equipment. Locations

Chile boasts a wide variety of locations all within the same distance as Los Angeles to New York: the Antarctic ice cap, urban centres, Easter Island, a coast the length of the country, the Andes mountains and the world’s driest desert — the Atacama. A sampling of this diversity can all be accessed within an hour’s distance from capital city Santiago. Where to stay

Santiago’s luxury San Cristobal Tower is a favourite for its floor-to-ceiling

Getting around

Most of the country is accessible within a few hours by plane or longer by car. Santiago, where much of the film business is located, is near the centre of the ribbon-shaped country. Mike Medavoy, producer, The 33

“Chile is probably one of the most beautiful places on Earth. There is an enormous diversity in terms of the topography. You could almost put it next to California and you probably wouldn’t notice a huge difference outside of the cities. And everybody loves the people in Chile.” How can it improve further?

There is not yet the depth of experienced crews so visiting productions have to bring in equipment and technicians. There are also few direct flights from North America or Europe, apart from Spain.


Hector Alvarez


Mickey Rourke in the South America-set The Effects Of Blunt Force Trauma

Colombia A generous new tax rebate and the end of its devastating drug wars have opened up this stunning territory to international production. By Jennifer Green


olombia is now appearing on producers’ radars thanks to the creation of the Colombia Film Fund in 2012. Among other incentives, it offers a 40% rebate for international productions shooting in the country. Among the seven features that shot in Colombia last year with the

rebate incentive were The Effects Of Blunt Force Trauma, starring Mickey Rourke and Freida Pinto, and Phoenix Pictures’ The 33 with Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche. The country is now lining up new productions from the US, Europe and elsewhere in South America. The territory is working hard to shed

its violent image. “The initial reaction of most Americans is still ‘Pablo Escobar, scary’, so we had to convince everyone we would be safe there,” says Gary Preisler of ETA Films, producer of The Effects Of Blunt Force Trauma. “Once we got there, we felt very safe. We all ended up dropping our bodyguards.”

GOOD TO KNOW Watch out for currency fluctuations — the value is known to change dramatically. Right now US producers are getting real bang for their buck.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

Colombia offers a 40% cash rebate or cash reimbursement for films partially or totally produced in Colombia that hire at least one local services company. There is also a 20% rebate for local film logistics services, including flights from overseas bought through a Colombian travel agent. There is a minimum spend of about $600,000 and no cap per project, but the film fund has a limited annual budget of $12m. The city of Medellin has also set up its own film commission, with local incentives and investment in a local infrastructure. Full details Infrastructure

Colombia’s own industry is healthy, particularly in TV production, so the infrastructure is quite good. Colombian crews and services are low cost, and there are no unions or fixed rates for

62 World of Locations 2015

services or labour. An English translator can be a useful addition.

just a 45-minute boat ride to the idyllic Rosario Islands.


Enjoy Colombia

Colombia seemingly has it all: modern and colonial cities, villages and towns, jungles, mountains and coasts. Bogota, Medellin and Cali are key urban locations. It is easy to plan around year-round seasons and equal-length days in this equatorial country. The film commission can help with all permits.

Beyond the natural attractions, the nightlife and food are appealing. Hotel rooftop terraces are popular in Bogota, and a mandatory stop is the Andres Carne de Res restaurant that becomes a nightclub after dinner.

Where to stay

In Bogota, three connecting neighbourhoods known as the Zona G, the Zona Rosa and Parque 93 together form the most popular area with a plethora of hotels and restaurants. If there is time to get away, the colonial coastal town of Cartagena de Indias boasts upscale resorts as well as luxury boutique hotels in the old town, and it is

Size matters

Colombia is a big country — South America’s fourth largest — but most of the territory, besides the deepest Amazon, can be reached comfortably by land or air. Traffic in urban areas is notoriously bad. Gary Preisler, producer, The Effects Of Blunt Force Trauma

“The Effects Of Blunt Force Trauma is set in South America so we were looking for a place there. The main reason we

started the process in Colombia was that they have a very solid rebate programme. The key is finding the right services company. We used 64A and that proved extraordinarily helpful. It’s inexpensive. The crews were terrific; they worked incredibly hard. The equipment was very good. If anything was lacking, it was the honey wagons. You have to find your own trailers so it depends on what actors you’re bringing down there. “Things do tend to take longer there. They’re so concerned about corruption that there’s a tremendous amount of paperwork. It was a great deal of work to put all of that into place. If I were to do this again I would start much earlier — it’s not five weeks, I would say up to six months.” First person to call

Silvia Echeverri, director, Colombian Film Commission +57 1 287 0103


Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios’ horizon water tank

Dominican Republic The Caribbean nation aims to become a major film-making hub in the region. Melanie Goodfellow reports


ith its palm-lined beaches and stunning landscapes, 25% transferable tax credit and state-of-the-art studios, the Dominican Republic is rapidly becoming one of the most popular

64 World of Locations 2015

shooting destinations in the Caribbean. Even prior to the introduction of the incentives in 2010 and opening of the studios in 2013, the country has long been a sought-after shooting location, hosting productions such as The Godfa-

ther: Part II in the early 1970s and The Good Shepherd, directed by Robert De Niro, in 2005. International productions to touch down at one of the country’s eight airports in the past year include thriller Our

Father, produced by Frank E Flowers; and Spanish-language films Ladrones, a small-time crook caper, and the romcom Complices. The country is also popular with US TV shows such as Survivor, Newlyweds, »


worLd oF LocatIonS domInIcan repubLIc

Dominican Republic is renowned for its palm-lined beaches

House Hunters: Where Are They Now? and Ordinary Lies. Los Angeles and Santo Domingo-based Lantica Media — formerly known as Indomina and a partner in Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios — has teamed up with Relativity Media for a slate of films to be shot on the island, of which Our Father is the first.

Good to know Use line producers and agents who are registered with Direccon General de Cine (DGCINE) to avoid any surprises. Only registered professionals can arrange permits and customs clearance. Registered producers have a unique ID with a registry number.

A Dark Truth

the lowdown Financial incentives

A transferable tax credit of 25% for both local and international film and TV productions, based on a minimum spend of $500,000. Eligible expenses include kit, services and crew as well as above-the-line costs. There is also VAT and custom duties exemption on eligible production and related expenses. Thriller A Dark Truth, which shot there in 2011, was the first film to qualify for the incentives. Further information Infrastructure

The four-stage Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios is owned by Lantica and managed by Pinewood. It boasts

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a 32,375 square metre water-effects facility with a 5,620 square metre exterior horizon water tank and interior tank for underwater shoots. It also houses office space, dressing rooms, make-up rooms and workshops. The main language in the country is Spanish but English is spoken throughout. There is a growing crew pool, although productions tend to bring in key technicians. Locations

A selection of idyllic beaches, inland jungle and river systems, mountains, colonial architecture of the capital city Santo Domingo, luxury resorts and beachfront mansions.

where to stay

The country has a wide range of accommodation from low budget to five-star boutique hotels and exclusive resorts. Size matters

Dominican Republic covers some 48,000 square kilometres as one half of the island of Hispaniola (the other half is Haiti). It has a well-maintained road network and eight airports, so getting around is straightforward, although slower in rural areas. First person to contact

Alejandra Bonetti, director general, DGCINE



United States Rather than international projects, most US state incentives are accessed by film and TV projects that may otherwise have shot in California. But from May 2015, California’s own offering makes it one of the world’s most attractive places to shoot. John Hazelton reports CALIFORNIA


alifornia has many attractions for producers — a vast production infrastructure, famous locations and film-friendly light and weather among them — but it took the launch of an incentive programme in 2009 to start stemming the tide of projects that were leaving to shoot in other US states. Production levels — particularly of TV projects — have risen steadily since then and over the past year the state has hosted features including Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, the big-screen version of Entourage, indie films such as Message From The King and Sleepwalker, and TV series including Teen Wolf and Justified. But levels are likely to increase much faster in coming years, thanks to the launch of an incentive programme that will triple the amount of credits available to $330m annually and eliminate the budget caps. The programme, which begins taking applications in May, replaces the old programme’s lottery with a selection procedure based on a ‘jobs ratio’ formula and establishes separate funding pots for different kinds of projects.

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

California’s new programme offers a 25% tax credit to independent features (the credit applies only to the first $10m in qualified spend) and relocating TV series, and a base 20% credit to non-indie features (applying only to the first $100m in qualified spend), TV pilots, movies, miniseries and new TV series. Projects getting the 20% credit can claim an extra 5% for shooting outside Los Angeles and for music and VFX work. Further information Infrastructure

The state has more than 400 stages, the largest selection of production, post-production and VFX facilities in the world and a huge pool of crew and talent. Locations

Los Angeles and San Francisco, Hollywood Boulevard, beaches and the 800-mile Pacific coastline, Death Valley and the Mojave Desert. California dreaming

(Right) American Sniper

GOOD TO KNOW California has 315 sunny days a year, but around Los Angeles the ‘June Gloom’ weather pattern can result in overcast morning skies from May to as late as August.

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This is Hollywood, baby! Incoming cast and crew can mix with local actors, producers and agents at restaurants including Nobu and Tavern, clubs like Colony and Voyeur and shops such as Kitson and Fred Segal. Stay at the up-market Beverly Hills Hotel or Beverly Wilshire, West Hollywood’s trendy The Standard, the iconic

Chateau Marmont, Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel or, for ocean views, Shutters On The Beach in Santa Monica. Size matters

California is the third-largest state in the US and from Los Angeles in the south to San Francisco in the north is about 90 minutes by air or a seven-hour drive. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport are the major hubs, but there are about a dozen large commercial airports in the state. Stephen Cornwall, writer-producer, Message From The King

“We wanted to have the vibe of Los Angeles in the movie. [And] we won the lottery and got the tax credit and that is the equivalent of a very significant international sale or even a US domestic sale. It really creates the tipping point in terms of financial feasibility.” Would you come back?

“Absolutely. I love the energy of working here.” What could be improved?

“It should enshrine an incentive system that is there for all, that isn’t necessarily capped and that very actively engages with the film industry.” First person to call

Amy Lemisch, director, California Film Commission





hough they often come to the state for specific kinds of locations — notably jungles and beaches — film and TV productions sometimes find ways to get other looks in the island state of Hawaii, alleviating the need for long trips back to the US mainland. The state’s refundable tax credit is also a lure, especially since it was increased nearly two years ago to make Hawaii more competitive with other tropical locations. Major films shot in Hawaii recently include Nickelodeon Movies’ The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water, Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World, Columbia Pictures’ Aloha and Alcon Entertainment’s remake of Point Break. TV series Hawaii Five-O has been based in the state for the past five years. Production has increased since the state introduced its incentive a decade ago, but spending dipped slightly in 2014 to $223m, down from $229m in 2013.

GOOD TO KNOW A common tradition in Hawaii is for a kahu, or priest, to perform a blessing on the first day of shooting at a particular location.

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On the set of Hawaii Five-O

THE LOWDOWN Financial incentives

A refundable tax credit on Hawaii expenditure on qualified film, TV, commercial or digital media projects. The credit is 20% on Oahu, the most populous of the state’s islands, and 25% on the neighbouring islands, with a per-project cap of $15m. Further information filmoffice.hawaii. gov/incentives-tax-credits

Patrick Crowley, producer, Jurassic World

Jurassic World

“We were able to find all the exterior locations we needed for the film. The incentive was important, but there was a certain point at which we didn’t have much choice. Puerto Rico doesn’t really have the amount of jungle we would be interested in and Mexico is still difficult to film in.” Would you come back?

“I would definitely come back.”


The workforce is three crews deep and the state has several local chapters of the major Ad film labour 1/2 Page Color • SCREEN INTERNATIONAL • SPECS: 210 mm x 143mm Size matters unions. The state-owned Hawaii Ranch and historic Pearl Harbor. APRIL 2015 The Hawaiian archipelago’s 132 Film Studio in Honolulu, Oahu, is Urban cityscapes are hard to find. islands and atolls stretch for mostly occupied by Hawaii Five-O. Hawaii living Lokahi Studios is in development around 1,500 miles across the Enjoy the natural beauty, the Pacific North Pacific Ocean. Honolulu on the Big Island, but the future of cuisine and the fact that even the the planned Aloha Film Studios on International Airport, on Oahu, is most remote locations are within Maui is unclear. about 30 minutes from Hawaii an hour of a five-star hotel. Stay at Film Studio and about five hours Locations Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu, the Four by air from Los Angeles. There are Beaches, jungle, volcanoes (extinct Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island also large airports on Maui and the and active), the scenic Kualoa or Grand Wailea Resort on Maui. Big Island.

What could be improved?

“They’re trying to address stage space. To shoot in a place that’s as green as you need Hawaii to be, you’re inevitably going to run into rain. And you need to be able to go somewhere to cover yourself until the rain goes away,” says Crowley. First person to call

Donne Dawson, state film commissioner, Hawaii Film Office


YOUR BUDGET. NOT AS STEEP AS OUR HILLS. Combine the new California State Film Tax Credit and our Scene in San Francisco Rebate Program and save more than 25% the next time you film in SF.

VISIT: CALL: 415.554.6241

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ew Mexico was one of the first US states to offer film incentives and its 25% refundable tax credit is now well established and reliable. The state has also benefited from its film-friendly weather — 300 sunny days a year — and an infrastructure that, since the incentives were introduced in 2002, has become one of the most developed in the US. Over the past year, films shooting in the state have included Paramount Pictures’ Fun House, Warner Bros’ Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Fox’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, The Condemned 2, Captain Fantastic, Transcendence and Sicario, Denis Villeneuve’s drama set on the Texas/Arizona border with Mexico. Among TV

Better Call Saul

‘The crews are great and they’re used to big studio movies’ Basil Iwanyk, producer, Sicario

shows shooting in the state have been Longmire, House Of Cards and Better Call Saul, the spin-off from New Mexico-shot Breaking Bad. Some 61 credit-qualifying projects (18 of them budgeted at more than $1m) shot in New Mexico in 2014, up from 53 (21 of them over $1m) in 2013, though total project spending was down from $233.5m in 2013 to $196.5m. Levels may be boosted in the coming year by new legislation that extends to pilots the 30% credit for TV series, and allows independent film and commercial production companies to pre-assign their tax rebates to a third party.

Captain Fantastic

Good to knoW Waiters often ask, “Red or green?” They mean either red or green chilli sauce, in one of which New Mexican dishes are typically smothered.

thE lOWdOWN financial incentives


size matters

A 25% refundable production tax credit with an additional 5% for qualifying TV series or payments on resident crew wages. Post-production work done in New Mexico also qualifies for the 25% credit even if the project is shot elsewhere. Further information incentives.aspx

Modernist architecture, classic western sets, historic Native America, the Rio Grande and other unique landscapes. The state’s mountains are sometimes used to double for Middle Eastern deserts.

New Mexico is the fifth-largest state in the US, with a total area of 122,000 square miles. It is crisscrossed by numerous highways and has major airports in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Roswell. Albuquerque and Santa Fe are about an hour’s drive apart and both are less than two hours by air from Los Angeles and six hours from New York.


Facilities include Albuquerque Studios and I-25 Studios in Albuquerque, and Santa Fe Studios and Garson Studios in Santa Fe. The state has enough crews for about seven major productions.

When in new mexico

Cast and crew tend to stay at La Posada resort, Bishop’s Lodge resort and Hotel Santa Fe in Santa Fe, and the Hyatt Regency Tamaya in Albuquerque. New Mexico is less than two hours by air to Los Angeles. For fun, the state has 20 Indian pueblos to visit, plenty of golf courses and ample opportunities for skiing and hiking.

Basil iwanyk, producer, sicario

“New Mexico doubled perfectly for Arizona and Texas, and we also found places that doubled for Mexico proper. The stages there are fantastic, the crews

are great and they’re used to big studio movies. And it has a great tax rebate.” Would you come back?

“Yes. Denis [Villeneuve, Sicario director] and I are desperate to do more movies there.” What could be improved?

“If there is anything — and this is true for a lot of the states that have tax rebates — it’s just [offer] more local cast.” first person to call

Nick Maniatis, director, New Mexico Film Office +1 505 476 5604

» 72 World of Locations 2015


Producers are discovering

Tulare County

From Giant Sequoias and a Second World War airport to facilitating urban car chases at two days’ notice, Tulare County is impressing feature, commercial and music video directors from all over the world


y name, Tulare County, California is not a film location that rolls off most location managers’ tongues when pitching visuals to their clients. But frame the scene visually — in terms of where to shoot within the scenic majesty of Giant Sequoia groves, amid the rural splendour of winding roads that thread through rolling foothills, or rows of grapevines and fruit orchards bursting with spring blossoms — and they begin to place the area located just three hours up Highway 99 from Burbank in the Golden State’s Central Valley. “By far, our biggest location draw is the Giant Sequoias,” says Tulare County film commissioner Eric Coyne. “Productions can choose from filming in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, within the Giant Sequoia National Monument or on US Forest Service lands, or we tell them about Balch Park.” Located in southeast Tulare County, Balch Park is a large county-owned park with hundreds of the biggest Giant Sequoias that grow anywhere in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. While filming in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks requires a federal permit — something Coyne can help arrange with his federal colleagues — filming in Balch is a comparatively simple process. Filming anywhere within Tulare County is comparatively simple — officials don’t even charge for the required county film permit. “Our permit application is a one page form, a simple description of your film activ-

74 World of Locations 2015

ity, and verification of your production insurance,” Coyne says. “We like to have a week to review applications but often our approvals take just a business day or less if your insurance is in order.” Home to more than 3,400 miles of public roads, and with half its land mass taken up by national parks, forests and other public lands, Tulare County is very popular with producers who want to film scenic road shots for features or automobile, motorcycle and tyre commercials. “We still have a military-style airport from the Second World War — they shot flight scenes from one of the Bond movies there at Sequoia Field,” Coyne adds. “We have had people come to film Super Bowl commercials here because there was too much snow in Montana at the time and they could just drive a couple trucks up the highway from one of the studios. We also get a lot of creatives from the Bay Area because we are just four hours from San Francisco. But mostly, I think it helps that our towns are film friendly.” ‘The co-operation was amazing’ When directors Ian and Eshom Nelms decided they wanted to film a 100-mile-perhour street race for their movie Lost On Purpose right in front of Visalia’s City Hall, on two days notice, Coyne set up a meeting with city hall officials and city staff made it happen. “We shot 34 days on location all over Tulare County,” Nelms says. “We were on a dairy, at a rodeo-roping arena, in St John’s

‘By far, our biggest location draw is the Giant Sequoias… But mostly, I think it helps that our towns are film friendly’ Eric Coyne, Tulare County film commissioner

River for rafting scenes and in dive bars. The people and business owners were awesome to work with. “I was expecting some big hassles when we wanted to shoot inside a major hospital and in the heart of downtown, but the cooperation we received was amazing! It made the film look great and cut our budget down considerably shooting there.” While agriculture and farm scenes are a big draw — Tulare County grows and exports more dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables than any other region in the world — Coyne says the big trees are definitely the most popular film-location magnet in his county. And while the film office sees its share of commercial and feature projects, music video production is way up. At least three prominent recording artists filmed music videos recently in the midst of Balch Park’s Giant Sequoias. ZEDD filmed his music video of Miriam Bryant’s song ‘Find You’ during light snowfall — a song highlighted in the film Divergent. Venezuelan house music crooner Oscarcito filmed his video ‘Tumbaye’ in Balch in mid-summer to debut at the Latin Grammys. And Dutch electronic music artist R3hab flew into Tulare County from Luxembourg to film a video with collaborator Trevor Guthrie. “This is a dream job for our film office staff,” Coyne says. “We are making friends from Korea, Japan, all over Europe as well as our domestic film production work. We’ve even welcomed that Aflac duck!”

World of locations north america



major attraction for producers coming to Virginia is the multi-tiered incentive system, although the commonwealth’s historic and natural locations are also a draw. In 2013 (the most recent year for which figures are available), the economic impact of the film industry in Virginia was $382.5m, up 16% from 2012’s tally of $328.4m. Over the past year, projects shooting in the state have included Meg Ryan’s directing debut Ithaca, River Bend Pictures’ Coming Through The Rye, Big House Productions’ On The Wing, as well as the TV series Turn: Washington’s Spies and Almost Royal, and commercials for Geico, Pizza Hut and Walmart. Last September, the state announced a pilot programme designed to prepare Virginia workers for jobs in the state’s film industry.

Jamie Bell stars in AMC’s Revolutionary War drama Turn: Washington’s Spies

Good to knoW Autumn foliage is at its most impressive in Virginia during October, a little later than in the northern states known for their colourful displays.

Bringing You The World The World is at your fingertips

• 30% tax credit on qualified direct production Louisiana expenditures • Additional 5% tax credit for payroll expenditures for Louisiana residents • Tax credits may be used to offset income tax liability in Louisiana (corporate or personal), sold back to the State for 85% of face value, or brokered on the open market.

Diversity….It’s what allows the Shreveport-Bossier City area to become anywhere in the world. Whether your story is set in Paris, France, New York City, or even Senegal, Africa, it can be and probably has been shot here in our area. No matter what kind of location you’re looking for, the Shreveport-Bossier area can make your production feel right at home. That’s because we have a sincere desire to make every production successful. From the city administration down to support staff, you’ll find this area is full of just plain friendly, helpful folks. So go ahead and make us the choice for your next production. You’ll discover why we give you the WORLD and why you’ll want to come back for the sequel.


For more information: Arlena Acree – (318) 673-7515 • Pam Glorioso – (318) 741-8503 • Visit our website at

76 World of Locations 2015

the lowdowN financial incentives

A base credit of 15% on all qualifying expenses, including wages. The credit is increased to 20% if the production is filmed in an economically distressed area. A company with production costs in Virginia of between $250,000 and $1m can claim an additional credit of 10% on total Virginia-resident payroll and a company with costs of more than $1m gets an additional 20% on resident payroll. Further information

On the set of Coming Through The Rye

historic Jamestown. Stay at The Inn at Little Washington, the Lodge and Cottages at Primland, Keswick Hall and Williamsburg Inn. size matters

The Commonwealth of Virginia, as it is officially known, is about 430 miles from east to west and 200 miles from north to south. Major airports are Washington Dulles and Reagan National, and flight times are less than 90 minutes to New York and approximately five-and-a-half hours to Los Angeles.


The state’s only full-service studio is New Millennium Studios in Petersberg, about 20 miles from Richmond and 100 miles from Washington DC, though there are also a couple of studios in the neighbouring state of Maryland.

stan erdreich, producer, coming through the rye

“We were looking for a location that could double various looks of different areas of the north east during the fall. And Virginia has a very good tax incentive.” Would you come back?


“Definitely, it was a very good experience.”

Historical sites and colonial architecture, national parks, the Blue Ridge Mountains.

What could be improved?

When in Virginia

“[Develop] a deeper crew base, perhaps some more production facilities and resources.”

Visit Shenandoah National Park, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Bay, eat at Lemaire in Richmond or Terrapin in Virginia Beach and take in sites such as Arlington National Cemetery, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and

first person to call

Andy Edmunds, director, Virginia Film Office +1 804 545 5530



MARIN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, just minutes north of San Francisco on the sunny side of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Marin Film Resource Office offers a wide spectrum of locations to choose from. Scenic roads, redwood forests, rustic coastlines, farmlands, and small town architechure abound.


2015 World of Locations 77




ith its 30% incentive, good infrastructure and impressive urban locations, Illinois attracts some big productions and has earned the loyalty of some major film-makers. Over the past year, the state has hosted 20th Century Fox’s network TV series Empire, upcoming Warner Bros releases Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Jupiter Ascending and Netflix series Sense8. The latter two are both directed by Chicago-born film-makers the Wachowskis. In February, Christine Dudley was appointed as the director of the Illinois Film Office by Bruce Rauner, the state’s Republican governor.

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice shot in Chicago; (below) Jupiter Ascending

‘You also have a beachfront that could double for almost anywhere else’ Aram Rappaport, writer-director

78 World of Locations 2015

the lowdown Financial incentives

A 30% tax credit on qualified Illinois production spending, a 30% credit on Illinois salaries up to $100,000 per worker and an additional 15% credit on salaries of individuals (making at least $1,000 in total wages) living in economically disadvantaged areas. The Illinois tax credit does not sunset until May 2021, and is renewable in five-year increments thereafter. Further information whyillinois/Film/FilmTaxCredit/Pages/ default.aspx Infrastructure

Multiple sound-stage facilities include the four-year-old Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, said to be the largest soundstage in the US outside of Hollywood, Big Deahl Productions, Chicago Studio City, The Chicago Production Center and Space Stage Studios. The state has a large crew base centred around Chicago. Locations

The Chicago skyline and 58-mile

The Chicago skyline

International Airport. Chicago is about four hours from Los Angeles by air and two hours from New York. Aram Rappaport, writer-director, A Conspiracy On Jekyll Island

lakefront, historic neighbourhoods, natural vistas, rivers, prairies, picturesque farmland and small towns.

“Chicago was the only city that could offer us multiple locations where you could cheat the city for somewhere else but also have a beachfront.” Aram Rappaport, writer-director, A Conspiracy On Jekyll Island

When in Illinois

Would you come back?

Chicago has renowned museums, a rich cultural life, famous sports stadiums such as Wrigley Field and hot restaurants such as Formento’s, Miku Sushi Lounge and Seven Lions. Favoured hotels include the Drake Hotel, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and the Langham.

“Absolutely. There was some lastminute stuff that we had to pull and they really worked with us,” says Rappaport.

Size matters

Illinois is a mid-sized state with an area of 58,000 square miles. Chicago, its biggest city, is the third most populous city in the US and is served by O’Hare

What could be improved?

“The best crews are all on the TV shows. There’s not enough film in Illinois just yet to warrant great crews waiting around for features.” First person to call

Christine Dudley, director, Illinois Film Office +1 312 814 3600


2015 World of Locations 79

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Matthew McConaughey in The Free State Of Jones

ouisiana was one of the earliest entrants into the business of US film tax incentives and has become one of the country’s most important production hubs, with a long established 30% credit, a strong crew base and a good infrastructure. Features shot in the state include Warner Bros’ Get Hard, Paramount Pictures’ Terminator Genisys, Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World, Screen Gems’ When The Bough Breaks and IM Global’s The Free State Of Jones. TV projects have included NCIS: New Orleans, American Pickers and Astronaut Wives Club. However certified film production spending in the state dipped from $809.8m in 2013 to $727.1m in 2014, according to a recent report compiled for the Louisiana Department of Economic Development. And calls by some Louisiana politicians for the tightening of tax-credit rules could cause uncertainty and affect production levels in the near future.

Good to knoW Louisiana credits are fully transferable and usually sell for 80-90 cents on the dollar on the open market. They can also be transferred to the state for 85 cents on the dollar.

80 World of Locations 2015

the lowdown Financial incentives

A 30% transferable tax credit on total in-state expenditure, including resident and non-resident labour, with no cap and a minimum spending requirement of $300,000. For productions using in-state labour, there is an additional 5% payroll tax credit. Further information page/motion-picture-investor-tax-credit Infrastructure

The local industry has hubs in New Orleans, Shreveport and Baton Rouge and a crew base that has quadrupled since 2002 and is now 11-13 union crews deep. Facilities include Raleigh Studios Baton Rouge at the Celtic Media Centre, and Second Line Stages in New Orleans. Locations

New Orleans’ French Quarter, the bayou, wetlands and plantations. When in Louisiana

New Orleans has a thriving cultural scene with highlights including Mardi Gras in

New Orleans’ French Quarter

Shreveport in the north west is about five hours by road and an hour by air. Scott Stuber, producer, The Free State Of Jones

“The Free State Of Jones is a civil war movie set in a lot of rural environments and swamps and hills and forests. Louisiana was the perfect fit.” February and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April/May. The city’s famous restaurants include Gautreau’s, Commander’s Palace and August. Top hotels include Windsor Court Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton and The Roosevelt.

Would you come back?

“Yes. They’re very production friendly, and from a crew standpoint New Orleans is one of the great cities in America,” says Stuber. What could be improved?

Size matters

Louisiana is a mid-sized US state with an area of just under 52,000 square miles. There are international airports in New Orleans (a four-hour flight from Los Angeles and a three-hour flight from New York), Lake Charles and Alexandria, and regional airports in Lafayette, Shreveport and other cities. From New Orleans in the south-east corner of the state to

“Any time you have better stages in any of these places it’s always great, so there could be a little bit more of that. And a couple more flights from Los Angeles to New Orleans would be helpful,” he adds. First person to call

Stephen Hamner, director, film, Louisiana Entertainment


our beaches are just the beginning Florida Office of Film and Entertainment | 850-717-8990 or 310-241-0116 FilminFlorida Captain Phillips used Malta’s water tanks

2015 World of Locations 81

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New York

Shooting Oscar winner Birdman

Good to knoW To qualify for the production incentive, a project budgeted at more than $15m or produced by a company that’s more than 5% publicly traded must do at least 10% of its principal photography days at a state-qualified production facility. Lower budgeted and indie projects must shoot at least one day at a qualified facility.


ew York state — and New York City in particular — has always been a draw for film and TV producers because of its iconic locations. But it has only been over the past decade that incentives have made it more feasible for projects to

shoot New York in New York rather than faking the Big Apple elsewhere. The state’s competitive and long established 30% production credit has helped rejuvenate the local industry and over the past year features including Birdman, Still Alice and Heaven Knows

What and TV series including Boardwalk Empire, The Blacklist and Gotham have been made in New York. In total, 192 projects applied to spend an estimated $2.6bn locally in 2014, a 6% increase over 2013. TV production boomed, with 53 series applying to

spend more than $2bn, a 67% jump on 2013. Production levels could grow again this year: for the period 2015-19, the state is offering an additional 10% credit on labour expenses in certain counties and funding for the credit programming is increasing to $420m a year.

the lowdowN financial incentives

A 30% fully refundable tax credit on qualified production and post-production expenses incurred in New York State and, for productions not eligible for the production credit, a 30%-35% credit on qualified post-production expenses. There is a 5% credit on qualified production expenses for commercials and a 20% annual growth credit. Further information php

shop at Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman.

Silvercup Studios

size matters

New York is the 27th largest but the fourth most populous state in the US, with an area of close to 55,000 square miles. It has one of the most extensive and oldest transportation infrastructures in the country. New York City is served by the John F Kennedy and LaGuardia airports and there are seven other international airports in the rest of the state.


John lesher, producer, Birdman

New York has one of the biggest talent pools in the world and an abundance of production services facilities. Major studio facilities include Broadway Stages, CBS Broadcast Center, Kaufman Astoria Studios, Silvercup Studios and Steiner Studios.

“I believe in shooting movies where they’re set. There’s a look and feel of a Broadway theatre that’s not the same as a theatre anywhere else. And there’s a look and feel of New York, which is really a character in the piece as well. So we were able to shoot the movie where it actually took place. And we were able to make the movie a little less expensively because we were able to use all local crew. We had a great local crew base.”

vistas, lakes, farmland, small towns and historic villages.


New York City, small to medium-sized cities throughout the state, mountain

start spreading the news

Popular hotels include the Mandarin

Oriental New York, The Carlyle, Gansevoort Park Avenue and Soho Grand. Many visitors take the opportunity to see a Broadway show, dine at Nobu, The Spotted Pig or Tribeca Grill and

» 82 World of Locations 2015

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ne of Mississippi’s main draws for producers is the fact that its incentives — which range from 25% to 30% — come in the form of cash rebates rather than tax credits, saving considerably on paper work and time delays. The benefit has to be weighed against the state’s limited infrastructure, but in 2014 it was enough to bring 19 feature films (17 shot entirely in state), three short films, eight reality TV series, six documentaries and several commercials to Mississippi, with an estimated aggregate direct production spend of $50m-$60m. The features included Paramount’s Same Kind Of Different As Me, Mandeville Films’ By Way Of Helena, John Krasinski’s directing debut The Hollars and indie projects Shark Lake, Texas Heart, Life At These Speeds and Battlecreek. The TV projects included Swamp Hunters and Mississippi Snake Grabbers.

Good to knoW The Mississippi incentive has a minimum spend of $50,000, the lowest in the US for a rebate.

84 World of Locations 2015

the lowdown financial incentives

A 25% rebate on local spend in Mississippi. A 25% rebate on payroll to non-resident cast and crew (for salary up to $5m) and a 30% rebate on payroll to resident cast and crew (also for salary up to $5m). There is a $10m per project rebate cap. Further information infrastructure

Facilities include Mississippi Film Studios, which is 20 miles from Jackson and Mississippi Gulf Coast Studios near Gulfport. Crews are in shorter supply than in competing states such as Louisiana, Georgia and Tennessee.

along with The Alluvian Hotel in Greenwood and Fairview Inn in Jackson. size matters

The state of Mississippi is about 170 miles from north to south and 340 miles from east to west. The state’s two international airports are in Jackson and Gulfport and flight times to Los Angeles and New York are about six hours and four hours respectively. connie hoy, producer, Battlecreek

“We scouted North Carolina and Mississippi. Mississippi is the cash-back state. And we found our creek [there] — it was an ‘ah-ha’ moment.”


The white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, the panoramic agricultural expanse of the Mississippi River delta and the many antebellum homes and historic towns throughout the state.

Would you come back?

“Yes. [Battlecreek director] Alison [Eastwood] already wants to shoot again in Mississippi,” says Hoy. What could be improved?

When in mississippi

Incoming cast and crew can take in Tishomingo State Park and De Soto National Forest, gamble at casino resorts including The Beau Rivage in Biloxi and Golden Moon in Philadelphia, eat at Walker’s Drive-In in Jackson and even rent authentic sharecropper shacks. Chawla Hotels, which has 16 locations throughout the state, is a popular choice,

“The state needs to realise what they’re going to have in the next couple of years. There are a lot of films coming there and the Department of Revenue needs to bump up their staff [to process rebates more quickly],” she suggests. first person to call

Ward Emling, Film Mississippi

By Way Of Helena







NWT FILM COMMISSIONER • PO BOX 1320 • YELLOWKNIFE • NT • X1A 2L9 E. NWTFILM@GOV.NT.CA • P. 867.920.8793 • F. 867-873-0101


Captain Phillips used Malta’s water tanks

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World of locations north america


© Te Ata


he state’s generous and easyto-use 35% rebate is the main attraction for producers shooting in Oklahoma. It is a big enough draw to often outweigh factors such as the limited filmmaking infrastructure and relatively small labour base. Feature films to have shot in Oklahoma over the past 12 months include Sterlin Harjo’s Mekko, Charles Agron Productions’ Monday At 11:01am, The Chicksaw Nation’s Te Ata, Table 31 Productions’ Element and Unified Pictures’ Rudderless, directed by William H Macy. The state also hosted a segment of The Real Housewives Of Orange County and commercials for True Religion and Mountain Dew. The 10-year extension — to 2024 — that the state’s incentive rebate programme received last year could attract more features and, particularly, TV series, though total annual rebates are still capped at $5m. Seven films have already been conditionally pre-qualified for the rebate programme in 2015.

On the set of Te Ata

the lowdown financial incentives

A base 35% rebate on qualified Oklahoma expenditures, which include above and below-the-line payments to state residents and above-the-line payments to non-residents made via companies registered to do business in the state. An additional 2% is added to the total rebate if at least $20,000 is spent on music recorded in the state. Further information index.html

Good to knoW Pops diner near Oklahoma City is a Route 66 landmark with its selection of 600 different bottled sodas and its 66-foot neon-lit pop bottle sign.

of Oklahoma has 137 publicly owned airports, including Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City and Tulsa International Airport. By air, Oklahoma is three hours from Los Angeles and five from New York. charles agron, producer-writer-star, monday at 11:01am

The state’s own workforce is two crews deep and production facilities include Chaotic Studios in Oklahoma City and Cloud Nine Productions in Tulsa.

“Monday At 11:01am takes place in a boutique resort town and the film commission suggested Guthrie, an old cowboy town that worked very well for the script. And the incentive seems very competitive. Sometimes there are complications in dealing with incentives but in Oklahoma a lot of that red tape is not there.”


Would you come back?

Natural features in one of the state’s 11 different ecological regions. Terrain includes flat plains, sand dunes, high mesas, dense forests, cypress swamps, rolling hills and rock or tree-covered mountains.

“Definitely. It’s a friendly community that’s happy to be getting the work that the film industry brings,” Agron says.


When in oklahoma

Popular hotels include Skirvin Hilton, Colcord Hotel and the Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City and The Mayo Hotel in

86 World of Locations 2015

Tulsa. Many stay in condos in the region in which they are filming. Oklahoma boasts cultural institutions such as the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and the Chickasaw Cultural Center, sports events such as Oklahoma City Thunder basketball

games and the historic music venue Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. Visitors can also gamble in some of the state’s more than 70 casinos. size matters

The mid-sized, mid-continent state

What could be improved?

“More crews.” first person to call

Yousef Kazemi, film and locations co-ordinator, Oklahoma Film & Music Office

Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (left) with Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of The Revenant

canada How do Canadian locations, long popular with footloose US productions, maintain their appeal in the face of stiff international competition? John Hazelton reports


anada’s extensive crew base, varied locations and modern infrastructure all help to lure productions. Most are from the US but many others are set up as dual-nationality projects made under one or another of the country’s 50-plus co-production treaties. But the biggest draw is Canada’s long-established system of federal and provincial incentives. There are two federal incentives — the Canadian film or video production tax credit (CPTC), designed for Canadian or official co-production projects, and the film or video production services tax credit (PSTC), geared towards international projects — and most of the country’s 10 provinces and three territories have their own incentives that can be ‘stacked’ with the federal breaks. Over the past year, the incentive »

Good to knoW

Jeremy Irvine on the set of Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall

Toronto and Los Angeles-based Don Carmody is Hollywood’s go-to man when it comes to setting up US films in Canada. Since the 1980s, Carmody has worked on projects including The Boondock Saints, Good Will Hunting, Chicago, Pompeii and the Resident Evil series.

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World of locations canada

system has benefited features including Universal and Legendary Pictures’ horror film Crimson Peak, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman, The Revenant starring Tom Hardy and Leonardo DiCaprio for 20th Century Fox, Roland Emmerich’s 1969-set drama Stonewall, Chris Columbus’s Adam Sandler comedy Pixels for Columbia Pictures, and TV series such as Hannibal, Once Upon A Time and Helix. In Ontario alone (other provinces have not yet released figures), 2014 saw 287 film and TV projects (56 international and 231 Canadian) spending $1bn (c$1.29bn) locally, compared to 264 spending $914m (c$1.15bn) in 2013. The year was the fourth in a row with film and TV spending in the province topping $795m (c$1bn). The plunging value of the Canadian dollar suggests the country’s production boom will continue, though some uncertainty about regional incentives could have a limiting effect. Last year, Quebec cut its film and TV credits by 20%, and this year the local government chose to maintain the province’s foreign film tax credit after a panel recommended it be phased out. It has also been reported the Ontario government is considering costcutting tweaks to its incentives.

88 World of Locations 2015

the lowdown financial incentives


The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) for official coproductions is a 25% refundable credit on qualifying Canadian labour spend (net of provincial incentives) on projects that pass Canadian content tests. The Canadian Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) for coventure projects is a refundable credit of 16% of the qualifying Canadian labour spend (net of provincial incentives). Further information eng/1289829210951

The modern city of Toronto, the European-style city of Montreal, wilderness, Arctic tundra, mountains, rugged Atlantic and Pacific coastlines, and the Great Lakes, which have stood in for the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The country even has a few small deserts, but for tropical locations producers go south into the US. Where to stay

Park Hyatt in Toronto, Vancouver’s The Sutton Place Hotel and Le Place d’Armes in Montreal.


The industry is concentrated in three regional hubs: Ontario, with Pinewood Toronto Studios and Cinespace Film Studios, and, claim locals, the country’s largest talent base; Quebec, with Cite du Cinema studio and the core of the French-language film community; and British Columbia, with Vancouver Film Studios and Canadian Motion Picture Park Studios and a strong VFX sector.

Calgary and Montreal. Flight times from Vancouver in the west to Toronto and Montreal in the east range from fourand-a-half to five-and-a-half hours. callum Greene, producer, crimson Peak and Pacific rim

“Toronto has world-class stages. You have great construction crews and great crews as a whole — a lot of people and great quality. And a really, really strong tax rebate.” Would you come back?

“Absolutely. We’re finishing Crimson Peak and rolling right into Pacific Rim 2.”

northern stars

Visiting Hollywood stars enjoy Canada’s proximity to the US, the country’s lively and familiar culture and not being bothered by local people and paparazzi. size

Canada is the second largest country in the world, with an area of 3.85 million square miles. The biggest international airports are in Toronto, Vancouver,

What could be improved?

“Ontario has a rule about feeding your construction crew an extra meal, yet food is not something that’s applicable for rebates in the very state where that’s a custom,” Greene says. first person to call

Telefilm Canada partnering-with-canada











World of Locations 2015