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Photo: Jozef Ispanović



ISSUE 1/2015


20% cash rebate introduced in Serbia

Better Call Serbia 20% Cash Rebate The Serbia Film Commission facilitates international clients interested in shooting in Serbia and is the liaison between the industry and the government. Please send your expression of interest in the incentive program and locations to Read more on page 16 and 17.

Serbia Film Commission • Address: Vlajkovićeva 18, 11000 Belgrade, Republic of Serbia Phone: +381 11 3230 581 • Fax: +381 11 405 9916 • •


Film crew ready for action

Serbia has introduced film incentives!


Dear Friends and Future Partners:

Location scouting in Belgrade



Film projects attract investors

We are so happy to share our fantastic news with you: Serbia has introduced film incentives! It is a 20% cash rebate on all formats – features, TV drama, documentaries, post production and VFX and even TV commercials. This special issue of Film Scout is dedicated primarily to the new incentive program. Beside all the key information about it, we are offering an interview with the Serbian Minister of Economy Sertić and the President of the Chamber of Commerce Čadež, the two government bodies who thoroughly understood and supported the need for the incentive program and with whom the Serbia Film Commission worked closely on getting the program created and approved. This Film Scout also brings portrayals of several of the 30 certified film friendly towns and municipalities in Serbia, some of the coolest filming locations and a lot of other interesting information about filming in Serbia.


Incentives Serbia is becoming a desirable investment destination


Publisher: Serbia Film Commission • Address: Vlajkovićeva 18, 11000 Belgrade, Republic of Serbia, Phone: +381 11 3230 581 • Fax: +381 11 405 9916 • • Editorial team: Ana Ilić, Milica Bozanić, Maja Vukadinović, Jelena Samardžić, Jovana Andrašević Contributing Editor: Martin Cuff • Art Direction and Design: Blur Advertising - Ferenc Laslofi Print: Neopress

Whatever you would like to know that you cannot find in this issue of Film Scout, the Serbia Film Commission will be delighted to answer and explain. So, please feel free to reach out to us via email or our website or at one of the markets starting with FOCUS The Location Production Show in London at our stand no.55. Wishing you a fabulous 2016 and looking forward to welcoming you in Serbia,

Ana Ilic Executive Director Serbia Film Commission

PHOTO: Serbian Archive

Rich and Vibrant Legacy AUTHOR: Maja Vukadinović In Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslavia, the film industry was rich, vibrant and globally respected. Tito himself was an avid film buff; he famously watched at least one movie almost every day and was the first to watch almost every film released in the country. He even occasionally read the film scripts and commented on them. His preferred genre was Hollywood Westerns. Tito’s role in world politics at that time, and also his lifestyle, enabled him to host a range of A-list Hollywood stars - in his own safari park or open-air cinema, on his yacht or his own private island. Richard Burton actually played Tito in the movie “Sutjeska”, and famous actors like Orson Welles and 4


Yul Brynner also acted in Partisan movies. Since he was an avowed cinephile, Tito recognized the importance of cinematography for culture and society. A Committee for Cinematography was established in Yugoslavia in 1946, and Avala Film was founded in the same year as the main film studio in the country. Until 2000, the studio participated in the creation of 400 documentaries, 200 feature films and 120 co-productions with foreign companies, and its productions won more than 200 awards in various festivals. Avala Film was particularly active in international co-productions that starred global celebrities such as Sofia Loren, Alain Delon, Orson Welles and Omar Sharif. The stars also brought the glamour of Hollywood to Belgrade at the FEST in-

ternational film festival, founded in 1971. Back in the day, FEST was a must-beseen-at event, where star-hunters could catch sight of such big name directors as Milos Forman, Bernardo Bertolucci and Francis Coppola, and actors like Robert De Niro, Catherine Deneuve and Gina Lollobrigida. As the largest film festival in Yugoslavia and now in Serbia, FEST still attracts filmmakers from all over the world. From its early days until today, FEST includes a diverse selection of artistic low budget films from many countries as well as the latest American blockbusters. This is the rich legacy and tradition on which the Serbian Film Industry still grows today.

Film crew ready for action

AUTHOR: Jelena Samardžić Quality services, competitive costs, professionalism, dedication, experience and multilingual crew: this is what you need, and this is what you get, in Serbia. And a lot more. Production services, post-production services, commercials? Name it! Film Scout spoke to service providers, members of the Serbia Film Commission. Representatives of production, advertising and post-production companies talk about their expertise, skills and experiences.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Contrast Studios INDUSTRY TALKS




Aaaand .... action!

Just say the name of your brand, make yourself comfortable and watch the results. The sky is the limit.

What film genre would you say your production company is best for? Our production company is most experienced in producing comedies and dramas. Contrast Studios | Jelena Bajić Jočić

Which international brands and world-famous companies have you produced commercials for? Tuna Fish has produced commercials for brands such as Coca/ Cola, Carlsberg, Bosch, Nestle, Davidoff and Pepsico. We have also worked with some of the most prominent advertising agencies including Publicis Belgrade, McCann Belgrade, McCann Athens, McCann Milano, Ogilvy Frankfurt and Ogilvy Istanbul. Our latest service production was for Iconoclast Berlin. Tuna Fish team

We specialize in fantasy movies. Telic Studios

What is the number one quality of Serbian film crew? The greatest qualities of our film crew are dedication, enthusiasm, knowledge and experience. Contrast Studios | Jelena Bajić Jočić We see honesty as the number one quality. Telic Studios

Is Serbia film friendly? Is it possible, for instance, to shoot big car chase scenes? Serbia is definitely film friendly. Big car chase scenes can be shot in Belgrade. With proper preparation and budget anything can be achieved.

Our team is skilled and committed, and we are incredibly fortunate to be able to work with some of the best, most creative, genuine, hard-working people within the TVC production business. We’ve had the opportunity to work with many different world-renowned companies and brands. Some of them are: Coca Cola, Pepsi, Mitsubishi, Datsun, Chrysler, Huawei, Molson Coors, Henkel, P&G, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, T-Mobile, Sprint, Vodafone, Wind, TELE2, Husqvarna, Sberbank, Erste Bank, Banca Intesa, Carlsberg, Staropramen etc. Red Production Could you tell your team is particularly specialized for a certain field? We produce wide range of ads and have a special focus on work in high-speed photography. Tuna Fish team

So far our experience location scouting in Serbia has been excellent, and we would definitely recommend the whole of Serbia for complex shoots.

From the wide pool of commercials that we’ve done, we could say we are specialized in liquid and food commercials production. These include Beer commercials (Amstel, Carling, Staropramen, Karlovacko beer, Astika, Utenos, Ozujsko beer, Bergenbier…), coffee commercials (Nescafe, Doncafe, Frank), milk and yogurt commercials (Bello Milk, Swedmilk, Jogood yogurt). There are also different tea and other beverage brands that we worked on, for clients such as Ledo, Milkana Cream chees, Felicita, various ice-creams brands, Integrino cookies and many others.

Telic Studios

Red Production | Miloš Đukelić

Contrast Studios | Jelena Bajić Jočić



POST-PRODUCTION Digital, digital, digital! Imagine anything you want and these guys will make it happen. How advanced is Serbia regarding international standards when it comes to modern technologies within your sector? Serbia has the talent and facilities to fulfill the standards expected by international markets and clients. The technologies, formats and software that are regularly used by companies in Europe, USA and Asia are available here, with skilled artists and operatives to match. Within Digitalkraft’s particular areas of expertise, which are 3D animation, VFX and compositing, we are very well equipped to create high quality work for most demanding clients from Serbia and abroad. Digitalkraft | Ivan Pribićević Almost everyone is using the same software nowadays. Our skilled artists are the best proof how advanced we are. Some of them are now part of Weta Digital, MPC, Double negative, The Mill… Open Studio | Zoran Krstić We believe creativity is a big part in this line of work and we are keeping up with the rest of the world in that way, no doubt. Software and technology is unstoppable and constantly progressing. It skips new hurdles and advances every day and that makes this job amazing and interesting. But then again, behind all those things there are people with vision and ideas who are remembered and admired. Spring Onion | Kostadin Martić

Serbia has great potential in the field of post-production. In the past, several generations of Serbian artists have successfully worked on Hollywood A- production movies around the world. With the arrival of high-quality projects, budgets and quality organization in Serbia, I foresee the return of many of our artists from abroad who will compete with the studios from Prague and London.

There were actually two types of project. The first was making fully realistic animals of many different kinds. The second, even more important to us, was producing artistic character animation. The basic idea came from the agency and its creative mind and we then developed characters, added drama, suspense, our animators brought to life outstanding characters, and the result was an impressive short film to watch. Open Studio | Zoran Krstić

One of the things that makes our studio special is that we approach every project with the same level of enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a commercial for gummy bears for local television or a TVC for the whole of Europe. The TATA project stood out as a technical challenge. It was prepared for the Geneva Auto Fair and the task was to composite a CGI vehicle in the streets of London and to add all of the reflections of the environment on a CGI vehicle that did not exist, delete unnecessary people in the street, do tracking, etc… A special challenge was the long distance communication between London and Belgrade. But everything went perfectly and once again we proved that geographical distance is not a problem. Spring Onion | Kostadin Martić

Mosquito Video&Animation - Srđan Vasić

What was the most challenging project you successfully completed and why? In the past year Digitalkraft has handled a range of demanding projects, but the most challenging and creatively satisfying was the launch of Disney’s “Playmation” game technology. The task was to illustrate a unique series of experiences for the game user. We modeled several 3D characters that were composited into a range of digitally created environments. Further compositing involved realistically integrating live action of children playing the game within these locations. Overall, we completed the project in time and within budget, and to client’s utmost satisfaction.

We are proud of many things that we have done in the field of post-production and animation. I would certainly include our production of the first Serbian animated series, with over 200 minutes of animation, as well as our work on post-production for several Serbian films and series for which we were awarded with a Crystal Prism by the Serbian Film Academy.

Digitalkraft | Ivan Pribićević

Mosquito Video&Animation | Srđan Vasić



Location scouting in Belgrade AUTHOR: Jelena Samardžić Big car chases in the middle of downtown, creepy old castles, impressive bridges closed just for a two-minute shoot... Providing these requirements is not always easy, but Nick Daubeny just loves it. Sourcing epic locations for some of the greatest movie releases ever - including “Inception“, “Mission: Impossible III“, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets“, and “Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles“ - was reason enough for selecting this incredible location manager for the BAFTA award for outstanding British contribution to cinema. When this kind of professional accepts invitation to visit your country, you simply cannot hide your excitement. In the words of Nick Daubeny, visiting Serbia was a very special experience. You mentioned that many of your colleagues had already praised their experience of working in Serbia. What was your reason to visit this country? I was extremely flattered to be invited to organise a workshop for location managers in Belgrade in January 2015. I had always wanted to visit Serbia, particularly after

PHOTO: Serbia Film Commission • TOP PHOTO: White Palace 8


hearing about my friend Jim Clay’s experiences in the country. He was the designer on Rian Johnson’s movie “The Brothers Bloom”, starring Rachel Weisz and Mark Ruffalo, which shot on location in Belgrade. What would you say about young Serbian crew professionalism and enthusiasm in learning such a specific skill as location scouting? What was your impression from working with them? I was very impressed by the calibre of the students who took part in the course. I call them students but, in reality, many of them knew more than I did about many aspects of filming. As well as location managers, the group included production managers, art directors, a prop master and a designer. Whereas I was highly specialised, they were diverse, spoke good English and they were eager to learn about all the areas of my trade. What did you think of the potential film locations in Belgrade? We scouted as many locations as time would allow. Working on an historical script, I saw more than enough period buildings to make it work. There was great versatility with the buildings on offer, such as the White Palace, KPCT and the Concrete Hall - as well as the many “distressed” buildings that are a delight to location managers. We’d also need to shoot exteriors with horses and carriages, and it was great to know that we could lock down the locations we’d identified such as Kosančić Square. There are also docks, which happened to be essential for the project that we were working on. And Jim Clay informed me that there was great value for money to be had in Belgrade. While shooting a movie in a foreign country, the manner in which local population behaves toward film crews is very important. How would you describe Serbia in two words? I shall miss the friendliness and hospitality and hope that it will not be too long before I return.



Film Friendly Serbia

Serbia Film Commission promotes municipalities and institutions that offer key benefits such as: • “One-stop shop” point person/office for filming • Available and easily accessible key locations presented on SFC location database • Simplified procedure for providing film permits • Low fee permits for on location filming • Logistical advice and assistance to productions


Film Friendly Serbia

AUTHOR: Jovana Andrašević The Film Friendly Serbia Program was developed by Serbia Film Commission to create the best possible production environment for all film and television shoots on location in Serbia. The Serbia Film Commission acts as a liaison between the film industry, local governments and institutions, and assists all parties with training and advice on film friendly principles. In 2011, the SFC developed the Film Friendly Serbia programme to encourage Serbian municipalities and institutions to provide competitive services to film and TV productions.

PHOTO: Serbia Film Commission • LEFT PHOTO: Sremski Karlovci • RIGHT PHOTO: Bač

Serbian public institutions and municipalities participating in the Film Friendly Serbia programme are trained and skilled

at welcoming and accommodating filming, from scouting through production to wrap. They understand and respect the needs of the audio-visual industry and have committed to issue film permits in a prompt and consistent manner. So far, 28 towns and municipalities and 3 institutions in Serbia have been ceritified as film friendly. To be certified, participating municipalities and institutuions must be able to meet a number of service-level expecta-

tions, including providing information on available locations, location photographs, creating transparent filming and permits issuance processes, and providing efficient support to film and television productions throughout the shoot. In each film friendly municipality there is an individual or office that has contacts and relationships with the local institutions engaged in process of issuing film permits. A working group is also established, consisting of representatives of key local institutions and the private sector supporting film and TV productions (hotels, restaurants, caterings, transport companies, etc.). In order to create more favourable environment for filmmakers, Serbia Film Commission has been continuously working on improving film location approval

processes. The goal has been to remove as much “red tape” as possible. It is expected that Film Friendly program will be further developed in the future and that municipalities from all over Serbia and other public institutions will meet conditions to join the program. Re-certification procedure is conducted every couple of years ensuring consistency, accuracy and longevity of the film friendly program.

Film Friendly Serbia


AUTHOR: Maja Vukadinović Just 75 km north of Belgrade, Zrenjanin (Zrenyanin) covers more than 1300 km2 of flat lands, wetlands, lakes, four rivers, villages, nature reserves and the lovely town itself. It is a multicultural place. The town lies on a winding course of the meandering river Begej and it boasts ten bridges. Most of the town was built in the 19th century. The World Bank declared Zrenjanin the City of the Future in 2007 and the best city in Serbia for its business friendly environment in 2008. For filmmakers, Zrenjanin is as open as a local administration can be. They will help you in any way possible, with minimum bureaucracy and maximum good will. It has been certified as Film Friendly in 2014. Film Scout spoke with Cedomir Janjic, the Mayor of Zrenjanin. City of Zrenjanin has been oficially certified as Film Friendly. How does your administration meet the needs of film crews? We believe we have created a great film friendly environment where filmmakers can find the best possible conditions for their shoots. We have a team of trained people ready at any moment to respond to requests from producers, as well as to successfully respond to any task set. Local government understands the complexities of creating audio-visual work and is strongly motivated to help crews to carry out their project successfully. Our team is ready to assist producers in obtaining 12


permits, and permit issuance usually takes only a couple of days. In fact, our office has a rapid response system based on the «48 hours» principle. Why Zrenjanin represents attractive filming location? Firstly, it has excellent geographical position. A high level of security for crews is guaranteed. The local population is kind and hospitable and the city offers affordable and cost-effective accommodation, food and transport, as well as a preserved and unpolluted beautiful natural environment. Zrenjanin boasts fabulous locations, natural and architectural. The city center is full of centuries-old facades, streets and squares. There are many abandoned factories located over the town and we know film crews may need these as well. River Begej, in parts where the banks are built-up, looks like the landscape in Denmark, and in the other parts it looks like a remote zone in an underdeveloped country. There’s even a Roma settlement just out of the town that looks very much like parts of Mumbai. Numerous locations from the city can be found in Film in Serbia locations database. Please tell us about projects filmmed in Zrenjanin and its surroundings so far. Our city hosted a number of local film films and TV crews over the years. The most recent one was the television series „Čizmaši“. The shoot took place in the prison and around downtown. The cooperation with all local crews was very succesfull and we hope we will welcome international productions in the near future.



TOP PHOTO: Serbia Film Commission PHOTO: City administration of Zrenjanin




TOP LOCATIONS 01. Negotin. Photo: Serbia Film Commission 02. Stara Planina, Courtesy of TO Niš 03. Tara mountin. Photo courtesy by Szabo Bela 04. City hall, Subotica. Photo: Serbia Film Commission 05. L  ittle Colorado canyon in south Serbia. Courtesy of Municipality of Pirot. 06. R  aichle Palace, Subotica. Photo: Serbia Film Commission 07. Aeroklub. Photo: Serbia Film Commission 08. Palace Serbia. Photo: Serbia Film Commission 09. C  hurch in Topola town. Photo: Serbia Film Commission 10. New Belgrade. Photo: Serbia Film Commission






08 10





AMOUNT 20% of Qualifying Serbian Spend.

SUNSET DATE In August 2015, the Government of Serbia adopted the Regulation on Incentives for the production of audiovisual works in the country. The programme kicks off in January 2016. Here follows an overview of key points of the incentive programme. Detailed guidelines will be announced and published soon. The text of the Decree can be found at http://www.filminserbia. com/filming-in-serbia/incentives/ website. If you are considering filming in Serbia in 2016 and applying for the rebate, please send your expression of interest in the programme to - and we will contact you when applications are being accepted. 16

Incentives FAQ


WHO CAN APPLY Applicants must be a legal entity registered in Serbia in the audiovisual sector and which is responsible for paying all relevant Serbian taxes for the production.

MINIMUM LOCAL SPEND Feature films, TV films and TV series: 300,000.00 EUR; Animated film, audio and/or visual coproduction of an audiovisual work: 150,000.00 EUR; Special-purpose film/TV Commercials: 100,000.00 EUR; Documentary films: 50,000.00 EUR.

FORMATS Feature film, TV film, feature-length documentary film and animated film intended for broadcasting, that last at least 70 minutes TV series containing at least three episodes not shorter than 40 minutes; Documentary programmes not shorter that 40 minutes TV Commercials Post-production or VFX for any of the abovementioned formats

PHOTO: Serbia Film Commission • Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade



The following are considered Qualifying Expenditure towards the incentive: • Costs pertaining to the production of an audiovisual work that have occurred and that have been disbursed to legal or natural entities in the territory of the Republic of Serbia. These include purchased goods and provided services, use of locations, crew payments and royalties to individuals who are residents of the Republic of Serbia or to foreigners who are legally residing for at least a year in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, in accordance with the regulations of the Republic of Serbia; • incurred costs pertaining to the use of goods, ie. leasing of movables and immovables may be recognised only if the goods, and/or movables and immovables, are the property of legal or natural entities, in the territory of the Republic of Serbia.

The following costs do not qualify for the incentive: •M  arketing costs, costs related to real estate purchase, distribution costs, costs of VAT where refunds have already been conducted or where the process in question is on-going based on the law governing VAT. Types and content of qualifying and non-qualifying expenditure are prescribed in more detail in the Guidelines for the incentive programme.

FUNDING AND CAPS There is no cap per project. Every year the Serbian government will allocate funds for the incentive programme. Incentives shall be allocated based on a permanently open tender for providing incentives that is announced by the Ministry for Economic Affairs

PROCEDURE The applicant applies for the incentive programme before the production starts, providing an estimated budget, a production schedule together with a completed application form and other required documents. The Commission will review the application and, if approved, will sign a contract with the applicant. Upon completion of the production, the applicant needs to conduct an independent audit and submit a Request for Payment within 45 days from the completion of production. The Commission will pay the 20% rebate within 60 days of the Commission’s meeting to review the completed production reports and financial information.

VAT Serbia has a VAT of 20% on all goods and services except hotels and other accommodation where VAT is 10%. Paid VAT is considered eligible cost unless it has already been refunded through the Tax Authority (Poreska uprava) based on the Law on VAT. Incentives FAQ


Film projects attract other




AUTHOR: Ana Ilić On August 13th 2015, the Serbian Governement adopted the Decree on incentivizing investors to produce audiovisual work in Serbia. Serbia’s production offer has thus been made complete, creating an irresistible filming destination. Fim Scout had a pleasure of discussing the importance of introduction of such a law, its benefits to the Serbian economy and its expected impacts with the Minister of Economy Zeljko Sertić. The Adoption of the The Decree on film incentives in Serbia was initiated by the Ministry of Economy. What was the motivation of your cabinet for introduction of this incentive programe? One of its most valuable priorities of The Ministry of Economy is to support to all investments in the Serbian economy. The entire Government is strongy dedicated to improving the business environment in the country, in any way possible. This includes incentivising local and foreign investments. In this particular case, my attention was drawn to the economic potential of the audiovisual sector by the Chamber of Commerce and the Serbia Film Commision, as well as numerous production companies. We quickly realised that our industry has all the infrastructure, expertise, skills and locations to become a leading film centre but that the only thing

missing was a competitive incentive programe. Since our Ministry already offers incentive programes for other industries it was a logical decision to have a specially designed programe for audivisual sector, in line with global best practice. The proof of our intent, and our faith in benefits of this programe, is the fact that it is envisaged for a wide number of formats, not only features and TV series, but also documentaries, post production, and even TVCs. We believe that the local industry has the capacity to support all these activities and we wish to deploy them to their full potential, further stimulating economic growth, job creation and small business development. According to your expectations, what is the income that Serbia could earn from international productions? What level of direct and indirect income do you forsee? We have a positive track record from previous years. The country already has excellent world reputation for filming conditions and exceptional film crews, and we were attracting significant international projects, even in times when Serbia did not offer film incentives. So with the incentive in place, we expect good results from the very first year of implementation. We are also sure that in the following years productions will increase both in size and number. We estimate that in the first year the incentives could attract up to 60 milion EUR of direct foreign investment into film production and auxilliary services - and that could be doubled in each following year. Indirect income will be harder to monitor and measure, but it is also expected to be very positive, particularly for sectors

such as hotels, catering and hospitality in general, transport, tourism, construction, textiles and crafts. What effects will future AV investments have on attracting investments in other sectors? A rising tide lifts all boats. As well as the above-mentioned effects of film incentives, it is our belief that they will also leverage the general promotion of Serbia as a business, investment and tourist destination. Film projects create huge visibility and we will do our best to maximise that impact. Is there a sunset date for the programme? The intention of this Government and the Ministry of Economy is to provide a longterm program which will, through years, improve and adapt in order to maintain maximum effectivenes and efficiency. The Guidelines were developed thoroughly, with the aim of creating a clear, precise programe that will prevent misconduct and enable certain and easy application and planning, for both the Government and filmmakers. Is the annual budget for future years already set? At the moment we are in the process of budgeting for the next year, and a significant amount has been allocated for incentives. However, if this amount proves to be insufficient for the actual demand, we have the option of adapting the programme to meet those increased levels of interest in future years. Does Serbia provide any other forms of incentives for direct foreign investments? There is an array of incentives in Serbia for direct foreign, but also domestic, investment in almost every industry. These are mainly based on longterm investment and employment. The recently adopted new law on investments encompasses best practice from around the world and is the Ministry’s proud contribution to a better investment climate in Serbia. We hope that this Law, together with the other activities of the Ministry and the Government of Serbia, will very quickly provide viable results for the country’s overall economy, and will increase the quality of life for our citizens.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Ministry of Economy FORUM


PHOTO: Courtesy of Viktorija Film


AUTHOR: Maja Vukadinović Filmmakers love working with the Belgrade Greenery Company; almost every foreign production to have filmed in the Serbian capital in recent years, did so with the company’s help. This includes countless television commercials shot at green public locations in the city. The Belgrade Greenery Company is public entity that is responsible for the development and maintenance of public green areas and maintenance of public sanitary facilities. They produce flowers, plants and trees, decorate parks, greenways and recreational areas, and to a lesser 20

Greenery Company

extent are involved in all areas of greenery planning. They are also responsible for issuing film permits for any filming on a green space or surface in Belgrade. Approval is obtained by sending an application that indicates any specific requirements; permits are usually issued within 24 hours, depending whether or not other institutions are required to input on the decision. The Belgrade Greenery Company is also responsible for providing specific services

for filming purposes, such as lawn mowing, snow removal, placement or removal of garbage bins, benches, or other similar furniture. There is a fixed fee scale for the use of locations; other services are charged at additional rates.


You could even shoot

19th century


right here


AUTHOR: Jovana Andrašević Veliko Gradiste is 110 km down river from Belgrade and only 20km from the Romanian border. The municipality is best known for being located on the banks of the River Danube; here, the river is almost two kilometers wide, so wide in fact that it has earned the nickname the “Danube Sea”. A branch of the river constitutes the Silver Lake, one of the most popular tourist resorts in Serbia. Film crew who shoot at Silver Lake or Veliko Gradiste also have the opportunity to visit some gorgeous historic and cultural sites - Iron Gate, old Roman city Viminacium, archeological site Lepenski vir and Golubac fortress. The resort is also famous for SILAFEST - an international festival of tourist, environmental, sports and culinary films. Film Scout spoke with Mr Dragan Milić, the Mayor of Veliko Gradiste. Municipality of Veliko Gradiste is officialy certified as film friendly by Serbia Film Commission. In what way does Veliko Gradiste meet the needs of film productions? Veliko Gradiste was formally certified as Film Friendly in 2014. During the certification process, we went through the comprehensive training programme organised by the Serbia Film Commission and worked to meet all the criteria - from assessment of filming locations to defining shoot procedures to creating benefits for film crews. Now we are ready to host big productions 22


and assist in scouting and paving the way to a smooth production. The permits are issued within 7 to 10 days, but we are also able to provide the approval within a shorter period. Why does it represent attractive filming location? Veliko Gradiste is stunning filming location, as can be seen on the SFC online location database: we have wide diversity of natural, physical and architectural locations and sites from rich cultural periods throughout our history. Modern and historical, traditional and international, urban and rural, are all intertwined in our town. Various histories are still visible in Veliko Gradiste’s locations, and they are available for producers and filmmakers who want to bring them to the big screen. For example, a truly perfect location is our medieval fortress Ram. The main street in Veliko Gradiste still retains the old spirit. However, we also have modern and Socialist era multi-story residential buildings in the downtown and single-family houses in the outskirts. Please tell us about projects filmed in Veliko Gradiste and its surroundings so far. A number of mostly domestic film projects have been produced in our town. Veliko Gradiste has been recognized as an interesting filming spot but has been underused, given its potential. As a Film Friendly Municipality, we are eager – and prepared - to welcome and accommodate any local and international production.

Veliko Gradiste




TOP PHOTO: Sava Mijatović PHOTO: Serbia Film Commission



in! Count us

Bernie Stampfer, International Film Partners “During numerous visits in 2015, International Film Partners have gained a profound knowledge of the Serbian film and television landscape and we have been impressed by the high professional standards in this country, both in terms of technical facilities and even more importantly regarding the skillset of all those who have already worked on international projects in the past. Compared with other Central and Eastern European countries, Serbia very definitely stands out as a highly competitive country and once the newly introduced tax rebate scheme will be fully operational, even more so. We look forward to becoming a trusted partner for many films and television programmes to be produced in your country! Count us in!”

LEFT PHOTO: Courtesy of Contrast Studios • RIGHT PHOTO: Slobodan Pikula 24


Serbian crew has ecxeptional skill Srđan Stakić, producer of film “Newcomer”, filmed in Serbia in 2014. Film “Newcomer” brought you back to your homeland. What are the advantages of producing in Serbia? Advantages of shooting in Serbia were many, but the ones that truly stand out for me include exceptional skill and positive attitude of crew and cast alike, beautiful and diverse locations, and reasonable rates.

You have been living and working in Los Angeles for a long time now. Could you make comparison between Serbia and LA in terms of the costs of film production, work on the set, film crews? There are more similarities than there are differences between being on set in Serbia vs. LA when it comes to professionalism, high quality of crew and general organization. Rates are generally lower across the board in Serbia, especially with the recent strength of the US dollar and since Serbia’s passing of the significant tax incentive program. For “Newcomer”, you hired a number of young men from an orphanage giving them a chance to work, learn and earn some money. How did you come to that idea and how did it work? My father specialized in juvenile delinquency and worked with orphanages in Serbia his entire professional career. I also worked with the UN system on social development around the world before going into film production, and have learned that one of the most effective ways of ensuring wellbeing of young people is giving them skills that can help secure jobs for them. And on set we have room for entry level positions in absolutely all fields: from accounting to wardrobe, from catering to production. The young people from the orphanage we worked with were hard working and professional. They were better PAs than most I’ve worked with before.



AUTHOR: Maja Vukadinović Located at an important crossroads towards the borders with northern Bulgaria and southern Romania, the city of Zajecar is the most eastern point of Serbia. The Zajecar municipality has three scenic manmade lakes. There is also modern ski center near Zajecar downtown. One of city’s famous landmarks is the beautiful Radul-Bey residence, a traditional Ottoman-style house. Felix Romuliana, near Zajecar, represents one of the most quintessential and complex examples of Roman court architecture in the world. It is under UNESCO protection and has already been used as a successful filming location. Zajecar is certified as a business friendly environment. According to the Financial Times, Zajecar was one of five local governments and cities from Serbia placed among the top 10 investment destinations in 2012/2013, in the category of cost effectiveness and FDI strategy. Film Scout spoke with Mr Saša Mirkovic, the president of the City Assembly Zajecar. Municipality of Zajecar is officially certified as film friendly by Serbia Film Commission. In what way does Zajecar meet the needs of film productions? In 2014, Zajecar successfully completed all the steps in the Film Friendly certification process set by Serbia Film Commission. 26


We formed a team of experts which are ready to welcome filmmakers and assist them in any possible way. We have also prepared a comprehensive catalogue of film locations with detailed historical and geographic information, as well as data on touristic potential, accommodation capacity, infrastructure and transport. There have been no filming requests in Zajecar area since we officially became a film friendly municipality, but through the Serbia Film Commission, we were contacted by an American film company about potential filming locations for car chase scenes in the surrounding area. Why does it represent attractive filming location? Zajecar offers a mixture of traditional and modern. It is famous for rich history and culture, tradition and beautiful nature. We have variety of potential locations, from an authentic Turkish mill in the city center to the Felix Romuliana antiquities site. There are old buildings and monasteries, cultural monuments, sights of natural beauty and authentic Balkan villages. There are also spas, lakes and recreational areas. Please tell us about projects filmed in Zajecar and its surroundings so far. Some of the most popular Serbian films were filmed on locations in and around Zajecar. Felix Romuliana was a location for the cult movie „Sabirni centar“ by wellknown Serbian director Goran Markovic. The movie „Kraljevski voz“ was shot at the railway station and „Timocka buna“ was filmed on location in the town too.



PHOTO: Serbia Film Commission



AUTHOR: Maja Vukadinović The Chamber of Commerce and industry of Serbia has had an important role in adopting the Regulation on Incentives to encourage investment in production of audio-visual works in the Republic of Serbia. Film Scout spoke to Mr Marko Cadez, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia. 28


Do you think that the audio-visual industry can become an important sector of the economy of Serbia and attract serious foreign investors? I am sure that implementation of the Regulation, which guarantees investors 20% return on investment in an audio-visual project, will substantially increase our competitiveness in the regional and world market, and position Serbia on - or more precisely, to return it to - the map of desirable investment destinations for audio-visual industry – including films (live action/animated), TV serials, commercials. We believe it will attract a large number of investors. In addition, Serbia is once again becoming well-known to filmmakers worldwide and, along with introduction of the incentives, we are able to offer full infrastructure and support services, equipped studios, good filmmaking companies, excellent film crews, and experience in cinematography. With this Regulation, which will be implemented following the adoption of the budget for 2016, foreign investors will receive a strong stimulus to shoot high budget

films and tv series in Serbia and to make use of our diverse locations. Domestic film projects and co-productions are also eligible for incentives, which will have a direct impact on development of the local film industry. How will CCIS cooperate with the Serbian Film Commission on fostering further development of the film-friendly business environment Serbia? The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia actively participates in the creation of a film-friendly business environment in a number of ways. We represent the interests of our film sector members to Government, we support capacity building for businesses in the sector, and we promote our members and their services. The members of the Serbian Film Commission are the members of the Group for Cinematography of the Association for Creative Industry of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia. Along with the service providers in the industry, the group gathers filmmakers, broadcasters and distributors. The Regulation on Film Incentives for investors in Serbia is the direct result of joint efforts made together with the Serbia Film Commission, the Group for Cinematography and others.

PHOTO: Dragan Trifunović • LEFT PHOTO: Ada Bridge, Belgrade

Serbia is becoming a desirable investment destination

Rustic castle is

great filming location in lovely Beocin

Creative solutions for legal problems and top experts for high-end business transactions.

SOG / Samardžić, Oreški & Grbović is a full service business law firm providing its clients with highest quality legal advice across a wide range of key areas of corporate law in Serbia and the Western Balkans (Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia).


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11. Tara. Photo courtesy of Jozef Ispanović 12. Villa, Kladovo. Photo: Serbia Film Commission 13. Vrsac Town Hall. Photo: Serbia Film Commission 14. Village, South Serbia. Courtesy of Municipality of Pirot. 15. V  aros railway station, Pancevo. Photo: Serbia Film Commission 16. Knez Mihajlova Street. Photo: Serbia Film Commission

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Film Scout  

Film Magazine features locations, production stories, interviews and business news from the Serbian film and advertising industry. We scout...

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