makers magazine - second edition

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FOCUS 2018

BRUSH UP ON GEN Z The viewing habits of a digitally native generation

CUT THROAT COMPETITION Netflix and Amazon push into local production


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elcome to the second edition of makers, the biannual magazine for the global production industry.

We had a tremendous reception for our first issue, which launched at the Cannes Film Festival and at the Cannes Lions – and we’re back with an even bigger magazine that is packed full of features and insight about international film, TV and commercials production. This issue, for example, examines how streamers like Netflix and Amazon are busy localising their content production as they seek to win subscribers around the world. As well As its globAl focus, MAKERS wAs conceived As A mAgAzine thAt shines A light on the converging worlds of film, tv And commerciAls.

editor Tim Dams

loCation editor Shona Smith

art direCtion Les éditions du bois Marquis

CreatiVe direCtion Sue Hayes

head oF ProduCtion David Lewis researCher Monna Fawzi

international sales Consultants Anthony Wildman, Rodrigo Carrasco CoMMerCial direCtor Clara Lé

researCh & deVeloPMent direCtor Chloe Lai

Reflecting the global nature of makers, there’s a feature on the art of remaking shows around the world, the impact of Brexit on European production, plus a look at the complexity of producing Sense8, a big budget, diverse and highly international series which filmed across all five continents. As well as its global focus, makers was conceived as a magazine that shines a light on the converging worlds of film, TV and commercials. Inside, we profile companies that really are taking a multidisciplinary approach to production, such as Pulse Films and the fledgling Wonderhood Studios, finding out about the challenges and opportunities of creating content in this age of convergence.

Elsewhere in the magazine, we examine how film and TV is taking inspiration from the multi-billion dollar games industry, mining its technology and storylines. And, with Millenials settling down to have children, we look at the viewing habits of the cohort just behind them, the digitally native Generation Z.

We hope you enjoy this issue. makers will be back again in the spring – and if you have any feedback or would like to get in touch about the next edition, do drop us a line at

researCh ManaGer Constantin Ursachi

Please address all enquiries to the Publishers

aCCounts / FinanCe / Credit Control Desmond Kroats, Farhana Anjum

Contributors Dawn McCarthy-Simpson MBE, Steve Davies, Michael Rose ManaGinG direCtor Jean-Frédéric Garcia Consultant Ben Greenish Founder Murray Ashton

CoVer artWorK Les éditions du bois Marquis

Tim Dams, Editor

The Location Guide, Unit 6A, Oakwood House, 414-422 Hackney Road, London E2 7SY, UK T (44 20) 7036 0020 E E W 2018 © The Location Guide Limited All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced in any form whatsoever, by photocopying, electronic or mechanical means without prior written consent of the publisher. The publisher has taken all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information presented is accurate and correct, but cannot take responsibility for any omissions or errors, nor take any liability for any misuse of images or of the information.

Printers Barley Print, UK


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010 News in Brief

Production news from around the world

012 The World at a Glance

Mapping global production trends

014 Tech & Facilities News

From cameras to studios, the latest in production technology news

018 FOCUS 2018

Previewing a globally focused show, aimed at all the creative screen industries

034 Festival Spotlight: berLINaLe

After a below par edition last year, the Berlin Film Festival looks to raise its game

146 Festival Spotlight: adfesT

As ad spend in Asia Pacific booms, this festival is growing in stature


016 Making of: mY brILLIaNT frIeNd

Recreating the lost world of Elena Ferrante’s 1950s Naples

024 Around the World : THe deserTs of 007

044 Interview with: PHIL HUNT

The founder of film financier Head Gear on funding indie features

071 Briefing: focUs oN geNder IN fILm, Tv aNd adverTIsINg

A year since the #MeToo movement took off, what’s changed? 078 Industry Profile: PULse fILms

The art of producing across film, TV, commercials and music videos

092 Contributor: sTeve davIes

How to create the best work in a fragmented ad world

110 Interview with: davId abraHam & aIdaN mccLUre

On launching Wonderhood, a ‘next generation creative business’

A spotlight on James Bond’s most audacious desert shoots

130 Report: THe breXIT bLUes

mccarTHY-sImPsoN mbe

138 Report: maKINg THe mosT of THe

042 Contributor: daWN

Long overlooked, the African TV market is taking off

What EU rupture means for creatives

gLobaL ProdUcTIoN deLUge

How to really attract runaway production

158 Contributor: mIcHaeL rose

Will Brexit break UK animation? 6

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118 Dramatic Times for the Global

050 Streamers Go Local

Think global, act local. That’s the new mantra for the SVoD platforms

062 Sensory Overload

Behind the scenes of production juggernaut Sense8, one of the most global dramas ever made

Formats Business Why scripted TV formats are selling briskly around the world

154 Creative Accounting

Who spends most on content – TV, film or advertising?

084 In Search of Gen Z

Tuning into the viewing habits of a ‘digitally native’ generation

100 Game on for the Film

and TV Industries Is the games industry finally converging with film and TV drama?



From incentives to location highlights, makers presents a series of in-depth guides to some of the world's most film friendly countries 026 Australia 031 Austria 036 Belgium


039 Bulgaria 046 Croatia 054 Dominican Republic 057 Finland 064 Georgia 066 Germany 072 Ireland 076 Jordan 080 Lithuania 088 Mexico 090 Nepal 094 Netherlands

097 Panama 105 Poland 112 Portugal 122 Rwanda 124 Serbia 132 Trinidad & Tobago 134 USA: Arizona 140 USA: California 148 USA: Hawaii 152 USA: Mississippi 156 USA: Montana 160 Uzbekistan 7

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interview Noelle Stevenson with In 2010, the CVB asked me to join their team to create a new division focusing on film. Shortly after we added new initiatives and programmes to the division such as music, shopping, fashion and finally, create. Create is our newest addition which covers cultural tourism. MAKERS MAG

Noelle Stevenson (above) has been Vice President of the Film, Music, Fashion & Create division of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/ Broward County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) since 2010. The division’s initiatives add over USD173 million a year to the county’s economy – over USD42 million of which comes from film. MAKERS MAG

Tell us about yourself Noelle. NOELLE STEVENSON

I have always had a passion for photography and have had a lens in my hand since I was very young (I built my first camera when I was 12!). My love for photography developed to include all facets of the industry, primarily creating brands, advertising, working closely with music, fashion and the creative culture. It didn’t take me long to realise that I wanted to be part of this universe. I started off in the hospitality industry and, after returning to the US from Greece, I attended Emerson College in Boston. The college, renowned for its film, advertising and marketing degrees, felt like home. When I graduated I moved to New York and then finally to Miami. I was asked to join the fashion company Diesel Jeans where I headed the Sales, Marketing, PR and Advertising division for nine years. I was then recruited by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau to head up their lifestyle/design hotels, film, music and fashion initiatives. 8

What does your role as Vice President involve? NOELLE STEVENSON

It includes encouraging projects to film in our region, expanding and attracting film and music festivals, promoting our nightlife and concert venues and developing shopping, fashion and cultural tourism programmes. This includes the CVB’s overall sponsorship agreements. I also continue to promote our film and music incentives and oversee the CVB’s partnership programmes. The division continues to grow under the CVB’s umbrella and we are now referred to as the Underground brand. So to sum it up, we have Underground Film, Underground Music, Underground Fashion and Underground Create. MAKERS MAG

What do you enjoy most about your job? NOELLE STEVENSON

I love knowing each day will be different from the last and that we are creating an innovative environment. The best part for me is constantly looking for creative ways to add products and attractions to spark curiosity and attract new visitors. Greater Fort Lauderdale has become a key, all-year-round, destination for work and play. MAKERS MAG

Why is Greater Fort Lauderdale and Broward County a good filming destination?


It consists of 31 municipalities which are an amazing playground for film. Our locations are diverse, with some truly unique natural landscapes, and can pretty much double for anywhere. You can be filming in Rockport, Maine in the morning and be filming in Tombstone, Arizona in the afternoon without leaving Greater Fort Lauderdale. This has been a huge plus for various film projects. Look at our sizzle reel ( to get a taste of what I mean. Our crews are primarily based in the city of Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County and have many years of experience in the industry. There is a solid infrastructure here too plus the one stop permitting system and dynamic cash rebates for projects that qualify. We have numerous facilities from production offices to studios and large sound stages. We are extremely film friendly and productions have been very appreciative of the overall benefits received when filming here. MAKERS MAG

What locations are most commonly used? NOELLE STEVENSON

The list is endless: our parks, the city’s downtown, our beaches, horse country, the everglades, waterway canals and yes, our mountain in Vista park! Our range of locations provide projects with the opportunity to stay in one place while filming the world. That is a huge plus and reduces moving costs drastically.


What are the advantages of filming in the region? NOELLE STEVENSON

Apart from our stunning locations, the one stop permitting system is a quick and friendly process and no fees are charged for permitting. We provide assistance with scouting locations, finding film friendly accommodation and offer crew and cast all sorts of perks. The famous Production Preferred Pass provides various discounts when you are filming in town. We also liaise with local police across all our municipalities to ensure everything is handled correctly. We are available 24/7. In terms of incentives, we have both producer deals available with the P3 Partner Card as well as a cash rebate. The P3 is our preferred production pass which offers various discounts when filming in our destination. You can contact us at any time to ask for the P3. The cash rebate film incentive for qualified projects is availbale once the project is fully funded. It is based on the overall economic impact of the project on the county. There are other elements factored in but this is the overall criteria. We encourage filmmakers to contact us to discuss projects that might apply. MAKERS MAG

What has been your most difficult location assignment? NOELLE STEVENSON


A production performing stunts across half open bridges. It was an adrenaline rush but, as always, we got it done!



What locations can the area double for? We have doubled for Maine, Louisiana’s Bayou, the Amazon, Chicago, Argentina, Arizona, Canada, Jamaica, Venice in Italy to name a few.

(1 954) 767 2467

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pace drama Origin represents YouTube Premium’s first foray into original drama as it looks to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. Filmed in South Africa, the big budget sci-fi series is made by established names: it is produced by Left Bank Pictures (The Crown) and the first two episodes were directed by Paul W S Anderson (Alien vs Predator).

Its showrunner, however, is very new to the industry: 29 year old Mika Watkins. Just six years ago, she started as an intern at Left Bank, where she began writing the science-fiction series which now has a multi-million pound budget.

President Donald Trump’s trade war with China has yet to have a major impact on the entertainment business – but imported films have been underperforming at the Chinese box office, compared to local films. Reports say that ticket sales for studio imports have fallen up to 24% in 2018 – with analysts citing better quality Chinese-language films outperforming at the box office. Only one of the six films to cross the USD300 million mark – Avengers: Infinity War ($360m) — was from Hollywood. As the creative mind behind La Casa de Papel (Money Heist), the most watched non-English language show on Netflix, Alex Pina is a man in demand. Netflix recently signed an exclusive deal with the Spanish writer/producer, the founder of production company Vancouver Media. “Right now, I am in the process of writing several series,” says Pina. One of them, romantic mystery The Pier, recently had its premiere at MIPCOM in Cannes. Says Pina: “Unlike La Casa de Papel, this series does not feel claustrophobic because the shooting took place in open spaces, with spectacular landscapes; however, in both series, we encourage our viewers to face their prejudices. This series is politically incorrect.”


The show was picked up after Left Bank’s agents, WME, sent Watkins’ script to YouTube. Reflecting on the challenge of showrunning such a major production, Watkins says: “I was really lucky – we had amazing support people who didn’t make me feel like I was any different from any other showrunner.” For other young writers she has these words of encouragement: “I came into the industry and didn’t know anyone. But just keep writing – if you write good stuff, it does get found. Be persistent. In the end, the right people will find your scripts.”

VIRTUAL REALITY STUDIO BOOM A new study of the virtual reality industry has rebutted the received wisdom that the medium is in decline, arguing that it is still growing at an explosive rate. There are now 1,784 VR studios in 72 countries, up from just 99 studios in 2015, according to DOCUMENTARIES ON TOp Few documentaries have major theatrical runs, but five are among 2018’s top 100 US box office grossing films: Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (USD22.6 million), RBG (USD14 million), Three Identical Strangers (USD12.3 million), Fahrenheit 11/9 (USD6.3 million) and Free Solo (USD3.6 million). Pina is also writing Ibiza-set thriller White Lines, a series for Netflix where he is working with UK producer Left Bank Pictures. “It is a pioneering agreement developing a bilingual series that I find really stimulating,” says Pina. At the same time, new seasons of La Casa de Papel for Netflix are being written and will begin shooting soon. “And finally I am starting the first lines of a new project: Sky Rojo”, says Pina. He’s a big fan of Netflix too, saying its arrival in Spain has been very positive for Spanish creators and producers. “The consumer model has changed, series are addictive and now nobody wants to be told to sit in front of a TV set at a certain time or day by an executive in an office, and on top of that, suffering commercials during the breaks.”

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everything About the

show is big: it hAs 240

speAking pArts, filmed

Streaming battle to escalate in 2019

for 120 dAys on locAtion

in south AfricA And the uk, And boAsts 1,500 cgi shots.

Competition in the streaming market looks set to intensify dramatically in 2019. The Walt Disney Company’s new direct-toconsumer streaming service, Disney+, launches late in 2018, with content from the Disney flagship brand as well as Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars.

AMAzON TURNS TO THE BBC FOR GOOD OMENS It has been billed as one of the most anticipated shows of 2019. Good Omens, the new Amazon Prime adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s cult book, stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen in the lead roles, alongside a host of other big names. Everything about the show is big: it has 240 speaking parts, filmed for 120 days on location in South Africa and the UK, and boasts 1,500 CGI shots. It’s also a ground breaking show in other ways – it is produced by BBC Studios for Amazon. This is the first time the BBC has produced a drama for another broadcaster since its production arm BBC Studios launched in 2017. For Gaiman, the adaptation fulfils a pledge he made to Terry Pratchett just before he died in 2015 to see the 30-year-old book onto the screen. “We spent many years failing to get it made as a movie,” says Gaiman, recalling how director Terry Gilliam was attached to the project for a long time. Soon after writing the scripts for the BBC, Gaiman says it became very apparent that the costs of filming were going to be a lot more than the BBC could afford. “So the BBC very sensibly went out looking for partners. The first people they talked to were Amazon. And I suspect, but I don’t know, that being Amazon they were able to look at sales of the book around the world, and came straight back to the BBC, and said we want to make this and would like you make this for us.”

SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA DRIVE AD GROwTH Global advertising expenditure is predicted to grow 4.5% to reach USD581 billion at the end of 2018, with most of the growth coming from through paid search and social media ads, according to industry forecaster Zenith. The figures underline how advertising companies including WPP and Publicis have been hit by clients switching to online platforms like Google and Facebook to reach consumers. Zenith predicted that two-thirds of growth will come through paid search and social media ads. Zenith’s 2019 global advertising spending forecast for 2019 is 4.2%. AMAzON NAMES INTERNATIONAL ORIGINALS BOSS Amazon Studios has appointed James Farrell, previously the streamer’s head of content for international expansion, to the new post of head of international originals. Farrell will lead Amazon’s international originals teams in Japan, India, Europe, Mexico, Brazil, and territories where the company forms new teams. SVODS DRIVE pAY-TV GROwTH Europe is set to have 262 million TV subscriptions by the end of 2018, up from 205 million three years ago, according to a survey from Digital TV Research. Subscription video-on-demand is the growth engine with streaming subscriptions amounting to 76 million, tripling between 2015 and 2018. SVOD’s share climbed from 13% to 29% between 2015 and 2018 but traditional pay-TV is set for much more modest growth, adding only add 8 million subscribers to a total of 186 million.

Apple plans to launch its TV subscription service in the US in the first half of 2019 too, subsequently rolling it out to more than 100 countries. In the meantime, leading SVoD player Netflix, which has 130 million subscribers worldwide, recently added another USD2 billion to its USD8 billion of debt to help it fund new shows and to stay ahead of the competition. Doubling down on “netflix hAs stArted its strategy of investing An Aggressive push in local content, Netflix has started an into the indiA aggressive push into mArket, with ten the India market, with originAl shows in ten original shows in production.” production and six original films coming up for 2019, adding to early Indian originals including Sacred Games (below).

The company also announced 17 new Netflix productions across Asia, including a second season of Korean drama Kingdom and Japanese anime series Pacific Rim. The new projects join 100 new and returning originals across eight countries in Asia during 2019.


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The world

at a glance united kingdom 8


united stAtes



4 greece

cAnAry islAnds 9

colombiA 5

south AfricA 6


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3 3 tAiwAn


AustrAliA 2



pOLAND Poland has launched a 30% cash rebate for international shoots from January 2019. The incentive aims to make the territory competitive with its neighbours including the Czech Republic and Hungary, which offer rebates of 20% and 30% respectively.

AUSTRALIA Queensland has secured two big international productions: Warner Bros and Legendary Entertainment’s Godzilla vs King Kong and Disney’s ABC Studios drama Reef Break. They will be the first to receive funding from the new Location Incentive Program, which complements the Location Offset tax rebate of 16.5%, providing international features an offset of up to 30%. TAIwAN Nowhere Man, Netflix’s first Mandarin-language original series has filmed in Taiwan. The series, written and directed by DJ Chen, is about a death row inmate who breaks out to rescue his kidnapped son. 2013’s Life of Pi filmed for five months in the country while Martin Scorsese filmed the majority of Silence in Taiwan in 2015.

GREECE BBC and AMC miniseries The Little Drummer Girl spent 24 days shooting in Greece, at archaeological landmarks including the Acropolis and the Temple of Poseidon – where filming is usually tightly restricted. Government support was crucial: the Hellenic Film Commission supported the John Le Carré adaptation produced by The Ink Factory. Greece recently upped its incentive to 35% to become a more competitive filming location. COLOMBIA Netflix is ramping up its investment in Colombia, with six original shows scheduled for launch in the next year. They include young adult fantasy

Always a Witch and crime thriller Green Frontier. Netflix has more than 70 shows being filmed across Latin America in its bid to grow its regional base.

SOUTH AFRICA The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has raised concerns about changes to South Africa’s tax incentive scheme. According to reports, productions that fail to meet certain benchmarks for supporting black-owned businesses could face the prospect of not receiving any cash rebate. Additionally, their eligibility won’t be determined until after production wraps. That uncertainty could discourage foreign producers, according to the MPAA.


UNITED KINGDOM EA Sports filmed promotional material for its FIFA 19 game at London’s Big Sky Studios. LS productions serviced and produced the shoot. The two-day shoot captured gaming assets, still shots and behind-the-scenes motion assets for social media.


UNITED STATES Martin Scorsese is to team up with Leonardo DiCaprio for the sixth time on Killers of the Flower Moon. Production is set to kick off in summer 2019. The film is written by Eric Roth (Forrest Gump). The story is set in 1920s Oklahoma and centres on the murders of members of a Native American tribe after they became oil rich.

CANARY ISLANDS The Norwegian version of hit British reality format Love Island shot in the Canary Islands. The UK, Australian and German versions all use mansions in Mallorca. Seven Islands Film handled the logistics for producer ITV Studios Norway. In 2017 the Canary Islands raised its tax rebate to 40%, compared to 20% for mainland Spain




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NEWS tech & facilities FROM CAMERAS TO




os Angeles in California has the largest amount of sound stage space in the world, followed by Vancouver and London.

That’s according to a new study from Pinewood Group, written by analysts PwC, in support of the UK studio firm’s planning application to expand Shepperton Studios. With 530,000sqm of stage space, LA has the largest stage capacity – ahead of Vancouver’s 163,000sqm and London’s 152,000sqm. Toronto follows with 130,000sqm, then New York and Georgia in the US with 114,000sqm each. The report found there were 27 films with budgets over USD100 million in 2017, and there is a trend for more large films with budgets over

Tim Burton’s live action remake of Disney’s 1941 classic Dumbo was based at Pinewood Studios in London. The production used Stage 3 and Stage 4 at Pinewood Studios, and stages at Shepperton Studios. Pinewood Digital provided on-set dailies support. The cast includes Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green and young newcomers Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins who make their film debuts. Dumbo is set for release on March 29, 2019.


he impact of tax reliefs on the visual effects industry in the UK has been laid bare in a new report, which says the industry generates more than GBP1 billion for the UK economy. The BFI commissioned Screen Business Report from Olsberg SPI and Nordicity concludes that VFX accounts for 13% of all film tax relief related spend, 6% of high-end TV tax relief expenditure and 1% of animation tax relief spend. VFX spend on tax relief incentivised productions generates GBP788.2 million gross added value (GVA) for the economy. This doesn’t include VFX spend from advertising production and immersive media, which is ineligible for tax relief. Commercials


USD150 million. Even though LA has the largest stage capacity it supports a smaller number of blockbusters than the UK or Canada since much of its capacity is allocated to TV productions. The PwC research concluded that UK loses up to GBP950 million a year of film work because of a lack of studio space – equivalent to around eight blockbuster film productions. Citing studios in the US, Europe, South Africa and Australia, Pinewood Group said they “will increasingly exert competitive pressures on the UK in the face of insufficient studio space.” Shepperton plans to more than double its size as part of a GBP500 million investment.

AVID HITS FIRST MILLION Avid says its free First series of products have been downloaded by more than one million people. The First versions of Avid’s Pro Tools, Media Composer and Sibelius are limited versions of the full packages with a smaller range of functions, which enable users to try out the the video and audio software. MILK CREATES ORIGIN VFX VFX studio Milk created all of the 926 VFX shots for YouTube Premium’s first big drama series, Origin, in 4K in a four-month time frame. The company’s co-founder Nicolas Hernandez supervised the VFX work on Origin. Milk executed rendering entirely in the cloud, and the company also supervised the VFX shoot on location in South Africa. VFX spend was GBP235.3 million compared to the film tax relief spend on VFX of GBP223.5 million and high-end TV’s GBP50.6 million. Once the VFX spend on commercials is added to the tax relief related GVA, the total value of VFX to

the UK economy is estimated at GBP1.054 billion per year. The report finds that the VFX industry directly employs 8,140 people but supports a total of 18,340 jobs in the extended value chain. UK facilities such as Framestore, DNEG, MPC, The Mill and Cinesite have long-standing reputations but the demand for VFX for high end TV drama has led to the growth of a new breed of boutique VFX houses such as Bluebolt, Union, One of Us and Milk. BlueBolt managing director Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor said: “The tax breaks for film and high end TV have meant massive growth for us and many more VFX companies are now operating due to this opportunity.

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Netflix lays out kit preferences

ilm tv’s first projects will be lucAsfilm’s live Action

series bAsed in the stAr

wArs universe, THE

High-end cinema cameras from Arri, Red, Sony and Canon have made it on to the list of technical kit being recommended to filmmakers working on Netflix productions.


prequel series KRYPTON.

ILM TURNS TO SMALL SCREEN Founded by George Lucas back in 1975 as a dedicated motion picture visual effects firm, Industrial Light & Magic is turning its attention to the small screen. It’s launching a dedicated TV division, ILM TV, to provide visual effects and animation for the streaming and high-end drama market. ILM TV will be based out of the company’s new 47,000sqft London studio and supported by its offices in San Francisco, Vancouver and Singapore. The ILM TV team will be led by visual effects supervisors Hayden Jones and Jonathan Privett alongside executive producers Louise Hussey and Stefan Drury.

Previously, the team set up DNEG’s TV division, winning a Bafta for their work on Black Mirror. ILM TV’s first projects will be Lucasfilm’s live action series based in the Star Wars universe, The Mandalorian, and Superman prequel series Krypton. Rob Bredow, head of ILM, said: “We are seeing a real convergence in our creative approach used on films and in our immersive entertainment division ILMxLAB, and now we’re proud to be able to offer these ILM innovations in a way that’s suitable for streaming and television work to creatives around the world.”

Netflix recently announced its Post Technology Alliance (PTA) programme, which lists products that meet its quality and delivery specifications.

SHOOTING VINTAGE QUEEN Cinematographer Newton Thomas ‘Tom’ Sigel, ASC used vintage Cooke Speed Panchros lenses to shoot the early years of Queen documented in Bohemian Rapsody. He combined them with the Alexa SXT camera, a custom LUT and light netting. “I wanted something to reflect the early days of the 70s... a romantic/nostalgic kind of look,” says Sigel. 8K SET FOR GROwTH 4K production and post is only now just starting to be widely adopted, but programme makers should start thinking about 8K. The 8K TV market is forecast to grow from less than 20,000 units in 2018 to approaching two million units by 2020, according to a report from IHS Markit. The predicted growth comes despite there being little 8K content available, outside of Japan.

Given the large numbers of Netflix productions shooting around the world, the PTA is a coveted list to be on for manufacturers. The PTA covers products and services in four categories: cameras, creative editorial, colour grading and IMF packaging. The list of camera models come from the following manufacturers: Arri (the Alexa 65 and Alexa LF), Canon (C300 MkII, C500, C700FF & C700), Red (Monstro, Helium, Gemini), Blackmagic “given the lArge (Ursa Mini and Ursa Mini Pro), Panasonic numbers of netflix (Varicam and EVA1), productions Sony (including the shooting Around the Venice, F55, F5, and world, the ptA is A FS7), and Panavision coveted list to be on (Millenium DXL & for mAnufActurers.” DXL2). For grading, Netflix recommends FilmLight’s Baselight v5 and DaVinci Resolve Studio 15.

CBS pLANS TORONTO STUDIOS CBS is set to build a large TV and film production facility outside Toronto, reflecting the high volume of shows that CBS Television Studios shoots in Canada. CBS has secured a long-term lease on a 260,000sqft space in Mississauga, 18 miles from Toronto. The facility, called CBS Stages Canada, will consist of six soundstages, production offices and support facilities for large scale TV and film productions. It is expected to open by the middle of 2019. The studio is currently shooting Star Trek: Discovery in Toronto. Editing software listed by Netflix includes Adobe’s After Effects and Premier Pro, Avid Media Composer and DaVinci Resolve Studio 15. R&S Clipster, Colorfront Transkoder 2018 and Mist are among the apps approved for IMF and media encoding. Netflix says it will add more products in the categories, and expand them to include sound production and dubbing.


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Making of My Brilliant Friend



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he scale and ambition of Rai and HBO’s adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s hit novel My Brilliant Friend is perhaps best understood by taking a closer look at its set.

Billed as one of the largest TV series ever filmed in Europe (with 150 actors and more than 5,000 extras), the Italian language drama directed by Saverio Costanzo rebuilt Ferrante’s world of 1950s Naples from scratch on the outskirts

of the city. The 20,000 square metre set comprises 14 buildings, along with five sets of interiors, a church and a tunnel – and took 100 days to complete. My Brilliant Friend is the first of Elena Ferrante’s four book series to be brought to screen – and represents a big bet by HBO that global audiences are increasingly willing to watch dramas filmed in their original language. The novels cover more than 60 years of the lives

of two Neopolitan girls – Elena Greco and Lila, her best friend and her worst enemy. Elena and Lila as little girls are played by Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti. My Brilliant Friend is an HBO-Rai Fiction and Timvision series produced by Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani for Wildside, and by Domenico Procacci for Fandango, in coproduction with Umedia.

Images courtesy of Eduardo Castaldo


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At FOCUS 2018, attendees can meet with content makers, film commissions, production service companies and locations providers from over 60 countries, as well as attending a conference programme featuring over 150 industry leaders. makers previews a show that is truly global in nature – and that’s aimed at all the creative screen industries.



wo big trends have transformed the media industries this decade. The first, media convergence, has been driven by advances in technology, allowing audiences to view whatever content they want, wherever and whenever they want. As a result, the barriers between previously separate media industries have broken down; content creators can move much more freely between the worlds of film, TV and commercials. The second big trend, globalisation, has been driven by technology too. Media companies now produce with the global market in mind; thanks to the global reach of the internet, they are no longer constrained

by national boundaries. The economies of scale they can achieve by producing for a global audience mean that budgets have risen for premium content too, whether produced by film, TV or advertising companies. All in all that means content is bigger, often better and travels beyond borders, and is being made by a much more diverse generation of filmmakers. It was for this increasingly converged and global industry that the FOCUS show was specifically conceived when it first launched in 2015.

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of high-end TV at ScreenSkills, Kaye Elliott, and the producer of the BBC’s big budget TV adaptation of Les Miserables, Louise Say. The digital giants also go centre stage in the session FAANGs Ain’t What They Used to Be where Christian Grece, a media analyst at the European Audiovisual Observatory, charts the extraordinary growth of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google, and examines their impact on audiences and the industry. Now in its fourth year, FOCUS is aimed at all the creative screen industries – including film, TV, advertising, animation and games. This year, FOCUS’s free to attend conference programme features over 150 industry leaders – delivering keynotes, panel discussions, workshops and case studies that span the entire spectrum of the screen industries. “mediA compAnies now produce with globAl mArket in mind; thAnks to the globAl reAch of the internet, they Are no longer constrAined by nAtionAl boundAries.”

FOCUS is also entirely global in nature. Attendees can meet and network with content makers, film commissions, production services and locations providers from over 60 countries. A record number of exhibitors – over 200 – are attending.

THE CONFERENCE One of the centerpieces of FOCUS is its conference programme, which this year is running with the theme of The Dimensions of Disruption.

The programme has been developed in consultation with leading industry organisations, including the British Film Institute, the British Film Commission, Pact, Directors UK, the Advertising Producers Association, The Production Guild, ScreenSkills, the UK Screen Alliance, Creative Europe Media Desk UK and Women in Film and TV to ensure that it addresses current needs and concerns. It is presented in association with media partner Variety. In particular, the sessions look at how screen industries around the world can best take advantage of a deluge of global production spurred by the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Apple and YouTube Premium. The conference looks at the impact of this change and how the creative screen sector is responding in terms of the ways it now works and will work, over the next few years. For example, the boom in high-end TV is contributing to skills shortages in the screen industries of many countries. The session Aspiration, Inspiration & Legacy looks at the opportunities and challenges created by this massive demand, featuring advice from the director


The possible impact of the digital financial revolution, meanwhile, is investigated in a session that focuses on Blockchain technology. Maria Tanjala, the co-founder of Big Couch and FilmChain, asks – and hopefully answers – how it can effectively be used by the screen industry in the years to come. And the digital theme continues in a session titled Come On Let’s All Play, which profiles the growing creativity of the games industry – and asks what film, TV and commercials can learn from this multi-billion pound sector. Meanwhile, Animation – the perfect example of convergence discusses the impact and use of animation throughout the creative industries. Big budget filmmaking will also be in the spotlight during FOCUS 2018. A conference strand titled On the Ground will feature case studies about the making of blockbusters such as Mamma Mia – Here We Go Again, Mary Poppins Returns and The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Talking about their work on the films and getting the locations absolutely right are supervising locations manager Bill Darby (Mamma Mia 2) and Ali James (Mary Poppins Returns). Meanwhile Phil Hunt, the founder and co-managing director of film and TV investment film Head Gear Films, provides his take on the state of the independent film market. Against a background of digital disruption – including the rise of high-end TV and the trend for fewer, bigger budgeted films to make waves at the box office – where does this leave independent filmmakers? Hunt is well placed to know: Head Gear Films is now one of the UK’s biggest financiers of independent film, having invested in over 60 projects in the past year. Maybe the future for indie film is on the small screen? Highland horror film Calibre is now streaming globally to rave reviews on Netflix, having won the Michael Powell Award at the Edinburgh International Festival this year. Its co-producer Alastair Clark reveals how he got the film financed – and over the line. Moving on to TV, FOCUS goes behind the scenes of some of the biggest hits to emerge from the small screen in recent years. Summer of Love is a case study session that reveals what it took to make ITV2’s Love Island one of the highest rated shows

NOw iN iTs FOuRTH yEaR, FOCus is aimEd aT all THE CREaTivE sCREEN iNdusTRiEs – iNCludiNg Film, Tv, advERTisiNg, aNimaTiON aNd gamEs.

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of the year. The format is now produced in countries as far afield as Australia, Germany and Norway; key people behind the show, including the managing director of ITV Studios Entertainment Angela Jain, reveal all about its business model. Another of the biggest hits of the year, The Bodyguard, also goes under the spotlight at FOCUS. In a session presented by the British Film Designers Guild, production designer James Lapsley talks about his work on the BBC drama, which is the corporation’s highest rating scripted show in the past decade.

THE baRRiERs bETwEEN pREviOusly sEpaRaTE mEdia iNdusTRiEs HavE bROkEN dOwN; CONTENT CREaTORs CaN mOvE muCH mORE FREEly bETwEEN THE wORlds OF Film, TElEvisiON aNd COmmERCials.

In this era of short attention spans, mobile phones and digital overload, short form content has been tipped as the next big thing. Amazon, Netflix and Hulu have all added short form content to their platforms, while former Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new short form video venture, Quibi, has just raised USD1 billion to invest in content. But is there really a market to be made out of short form, and if so, how can the screen industries take advantage of the trend? Speakers including Little Dot Studios commissioning editor Adam Gee, Barcroft Media founder Sam Barcroft and The Connected Set managing director Jake Cassels discuss in a session titled Snacking TV – the Rise of Short Form Content. Short form content obviously rules in the world of advertising. Commercials production is the subject of several sessions and workshops. FOCUS investigates the changing world of advertising, asking how much clients really value creativity as consultancies muscle in to take business from traditional agencies. Freuds partner Arif Haq, Snapper Films founder Helen Hadfield and Advertising Producers Association chief executive Steve Davies discuss. There’s a closer look at advertising hits of the past year too. At the Cannes Lions 2018, the Film Craft Jury honoured Hope, which won a Grand Prix award for its truly extraordinary craft. Its director, James Rouse, discusses making the commercial in a session moderated by Fiorenza Plinio, Head of Creative Excellence for Cannes Lions. Elsewhere in commercials, David Reviews once again will curate a detailed session featuring the creativity behind several key campaigns. And closer to home, the realities of Brexit for the production sector will be discussed too, in a session that takes place 100 days before the UK is set to depart from the European Union. The realities of raising finance also remains a huge area of interest. Once again FOCUS offers workshops on finance, tax break certification and legal advice, all aimed at producers.




In addition to the curated programme, FOCUS is also offering Green Zone sessions on sustainable practice and international exhibitor presentations. THE EXHibiTiON Exhibitors at FOCUS come from every single continent and from over 60 countries, ranging from film commissions to location providers and production services, and cater for all production types and budgets – right through from development to post-production. If you are looking for filming incentives worth up to 50% of your budget, there’s millions of dollars worth of tax break programmes to discover. You’ll also find exhibitors offering a range of versatile locations or production solutions from around the world that can add real screen value. Meanwhile, if you are planning to film in the UK you can meet with Film London, Creative England, Film Offices UK, Creative Scotland and Wales Screen, alongside a wide range of UK locations and services. It’s possible to pre-arrange meetings using FOCUS’ one-to-to one online meeting scheduler, or simply to network with your peers at the many receptions and happy hours held at the show. Hundreds of production professionals are set to attend this year. In particular, FOCUS has expanded its European reach by creating formal partnerships with over 30 associations from 20 European countries – from the French Film Producers Association to the German Producers Alliance for Film & TV and the Spanish Association of Audiovisual Production Professionals. Producer associations from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Sweden have also partnered with FOCUS. Also joining longstanding pan-European partners the European Film Commission Network and European Federation for Commercial Film Producers are new affiliates the European Coordination of Independent Producers, European Women's Audiovisual Network, The International Federation of Film Distributors’ Associations and European Documentary Network. FOCUS takes place at the Business Design Centre in London on 4/5 December 2018. It remains completely free to attend for industry professionals. For more details, see

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Around the world The deserts of 007 HOT LOCATIONS


1 - quantuM oF solaCe, Chile The decision to film in the Antofagasta region in Chile, portraying it as part of Bolivia, resulted in a short-lived protest on the day filming began, by local mayor, Carlos Lopez. He was arrested, detained briefly and put on trial two days later. The filming continued – supported by the residents.

2 - sPeCtre, MoroCCo Erfoud in Morocco is no stranger to film units and neither is Gara Medouar, a volcanic crater 20km south of the city which, with enhanced visual effects, was transformed into the secret lair of Bond’s nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

3 - the sPY Who loVed Me, eGYPt The crew spent several weeks filming in Egypt in 1977, including at the Great Sphinx of Giza. However lighting problems caused the pyramids to be replaced with minature models.

4 - the World is not enouGh, sPain The 19th Bond film sees 007 unravel a plot to hike petroleum prices by triggering a nuclear melt down

Main image: Quantum of Solace © 2008 Danjaq, LLC, United Artists Corporation, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. Other images: Javarman & Johnny, Frenk58, Sanz Fotografia


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ond 25 is now underway. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, it will go into production in March 2019 – and the search for locations has already started. Tent pole locations are the guiding star of each film, lying at the very core of the Bond franchise. There will be ideas about countries and sequences but at this stage, anything is possible. Here are some examples of eye-catching desert locations that have all featured in Bond movies. Some doubled for war zones and some offered the space to pull off record breaking stunts and action sequences.

in the waters off Istanbul. Doubling for a Kazakhstan nuclear facility, filming took place the Bardenas Reales in Navarre, Spain.

5 - diaMonds are ForeVer, las VeGas Filmed in over 40 locations across Europe and the USA, most of this film was shot in Las Vegas, doubling the Nevada desert as South Africa. Some 217 crew worked on the film.

6 - the liVinG daYliGhts, MoroCCo The 15th instalment in the EON franchise shot extensively in Morocco’s Ouarzazate region, home to Morocco's biggest film studios, where it doubled for Afghanistan.


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AUSTRALIA down under delivers

Any production that makes the journey to Australia will be adequately provided for. Big budget freature films can explore a huge range of locations on offer, from the arid outback to tropical jungles and cosmopolitan cities.

ustralia has been busy. 2017 was a record year for production spend as the country welcomed Hollywood productions including Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok and Warner Bros’ Aquaman which were comfortably incorporated into the country’s production profile alongside high-end TV series such as BBC’s The Cry (pictured above) and a range of commercial productions. The pressure is now on for the country to maintain its current favour on the world stage.

European and American based producers have long overlooked Australia. Long-haul travel is involved for cast and crew, and incoming productions will notice the high price of goods and services, which, alongside a strong Australian dollar makes shooting in the country a considerable financial undertaking. However, a combination of federal and state production incentives can significantly ease these financial strains. Support has enabled qualifying productions to access Australia’s world-class facilities and distinct topography “film And tv which are hard to match mAde under elsewhere.

AustrAliA’s officiAl co-production ArrAngements Are AutomAticAlly regArded As AustrAliAn And cAn Access the producer offset.”

Federal funding provided by the Australian Government has three main streams, all of which provide tax offsets with no budget caps. The 16.5% Location Offset is aimed at attracting large budget offshore film and TV production and applies to all Australian spend on projects over AUD15,000,000.

Although the federal incentive is not the highest offer in the world, all seven territories maintain additional funds and incentives. The South Australian Film 26


Outdoor living is a way of life in Australia. Residents like to take advantage of the nation’s glorious weather by keeping active. Nearly 60% of Australians play sports regularly, so finding an informal game of cricket, rugby or volleyball to join shouldn’t be too hard. Animal lovers should head to meet the Eucalyptus forests of Eastern Australia where native koala populations reside or visit wild penguin colonies on Phillip Island in Victoria (pictured above) or the aptly named Penguin Island in Western Australia. For a touch of sophistication, restaurants offering al fresco dining with enviable wine lists abound. Indulge in seafood at Watsons Bay Beach Club to take in views of Sydney Harbour. Melbourne’s world-renowned café culture, conversely, has nurtured hundreds of independent spots that serve rare coffee blends in relaxed environs.

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Corporation’s Screen Production Grant, for example, offers up to 10% funding on regional spend for long form drama and documentary. With an additional payroll tax exemption of 4.95% on qualifying wages in South Australia, shrewd productions can obtain a worthwhile reduction on costs. A federal 30% offset for Post Digital and VFX work done is applied even if production is shot elsewhere and state funding for post-production costs can compound with federal sources. Australia has achieved notoriety post-production and VFX field. Firms such as Animal Logic and Luma Pictures have been involved in post-production on films including Black Panther, The Lego Movies and Peter Rabbit. Productions spending over AUD500,000 on post-production work, can access the offset and state support is widely available. Meanwhile official co-productions can access The Producer Offset, aimed to support projects with significant Australian content. This offers a 40% tax offset to Australian spend on feature films and 20% for non-features that pass the cultural test. Film and television made under Australia’s official co-production treaties are automatically regarded as Australian, and are able to access the incentive more easily. The UK, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Singapore and South Africa all have co-production treaties. The established trading relationship with China extends to the production industry with frequent co-productions. Ze Xiaolu’s The Whistleblower based itself at Melbourne’s Docklands Studios this autumn for a shoot expected to spend more than AUD40 million in Victoria, including post production work. Funding was provided through Victoria’s Incentive Attraction Fund, and the project is the biggest Australian-Chinese co-production ever filmed in the state. While the US does not have an official co-production agreement with Australia, large-scale productions expected to bring jobs and a sizeable boost to the economy have been known to access a higher offset rate. Thor Ragnarok, Aquaman and most recently Paramount’s Dora The Explorer have been granted higher offset rates. The Dora The Explorer deal was struck, when, at the very last-minute Paramount bosses expressed reluctance to commit to filming on Gold Coast for financial reasons. The Queensland government successfully lobbied the federal government to provide a higher offset rate. Since then, the Location Incentive Programme has launched which should make the process more streamlined and less open to question. The federal fund will provide AUD35 million per annum until 2023 to productions that meet the eligibility criteria for the Location Offset, utilise the service of an Australian post, sound, music or visual effects provider and have secured support from relevant




The Cry

Q: Which key locations were used

in Melbourne and Victoria? A: We created the fictitious Wilde Bay, a coastal town with a combination of Williamstown, a bayside suburb of Melbourne which has the charm of a small town, and Queenscliff in Victoria. For the stunning cottage location, we filmed on the coast of the Mornington Peninsula. Q: How did the Production Incentive

Attraction Fund and Regional Location Assistance Fund help? A: Film Victoria were a great help practically and financially. Taking a UK originated drama to Australia is challenging and Joe Brinkman at Film Victoria was essential in making it happen. The location information and location scout organised by Emily Dutton at Film Victoria was so detailed and relevant that it was instrumental in our decision to film in Victoria. Q: What advice would you give to producers

considering shooting in Australia? A: In many ways Australia is similar to the UK and very straightforward, but sometimes it’s just different enough to trip you up. Get advice from a local film agency on incentives and locations, meet with companies or individuals that can help steer you through local working practices and union agreements for cast and crew and you won’t slip up. The biggest challenge for me was the time difference, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere winter. The production never sleeps. You have to trust and empower people to make decisions while you do. Having to wait for decisions from a different time zone will happen and does slow things down, so anything you can do to minimise this will help.

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state governments. The first two recipients of the fund have been announced as Warner Bros’ Godzilla vs King Kong and ABC Studio’s Reef Break drama series.


The Location Offset is a 16.5% refundable tax rebate calculated on Qualifying Australian Production Expenditure (QAPE). There is also a PDV offset: a 30% offset on the QAPE that relates to post, digital and visual effects production for a film. TAX REBATE

16.5% TRAVEL

Australia has several international airports as well as numerous domestic airports to travel throughout the country. You can also travel by train, coach and car to experience the scenic routes Australia provides. ATA CARNET



Anthony Maras’s Hotel Mumbai, Grant Sputore’s I Am Mother, James Wan’s Aquaman. TIME zONE


Temperatures and tourism varies between each region. To avoid the winter chill March and April or September and October are the months to go. SOUND STAGES

There are four major studio complexes across the country, Village Roadshow Studios, Fox Studios, Docklands Studios and Adelaide Studios all have sound stages. CONTACT

Screen Australia (+61 2) 8113 1042 There are also many regional film commissions. Images: e BBC’s e Cry, Warner Bros’ Aquaman, Upgrade © BH Tilt, Javen and Elo Photos.


With a mainland mass equal to the size of Europe, Australia is an impossibly large country. The coastline, where most of the production infrastructure is located, is also the most populous area. The four main studios run along the South East Coast from Queensland through to Adelaide. Nearly 60% of all screen industry professionals are located in New South Wales. Perth on the West coast has the highest hours of sunlight with highs of 11 hours in the summer. During winter, Brisbane has the longest hours of daylight, never dipping below seven hours a day. Queensland’s Village Roadshow Studios has recently become the biggest studio in Australia after building a ninth stage. Its three water tanks can be heated and filtered. The main outdoor tank has a surface area of 1,200 square meters and has featured in water-heavy films such as The Shallows, Aquaman (pictured left) and Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales. For seven months San Andreas used seven sound stages and the main outdoor tank. The tsunami-hit set was built on a hydraulic system that allowed the crew to move it up and down in the tank. Producer for San Andreas, Rob Cowen who returned to the studios in 2017 for Aquaman noted that “professionally the crews have been top notch, they literally have been probably the best I’ve worked with in the world…they really have pulled off a lot of miracles for us”. Australia is home to a thriving, unique and extreme ecosystem. This was a draw for Dora The Explorer who, from its base at Village Road Studios in Queensland, was able to access jungle settings needed for the children’s adventure film. 516 national parks protect the rare, and often endangered flora and fauna. Filming permits are possible to obtain, but each state and park operates a different permit process. Large productions should expect to review the potential environmental impacts of situating production in a national park.


Coober Pedy

If you drive for nine hours from Adelaide into the outback, you will reach the isolated mining town of Coober Pedy. Since 1915 the town’s mines have supplied top-grade Opal to the world’s jewellers. The name Coober Pedy originates from the Aboriginal for White Man’s Burrow because the inescapable summer heat, reaching 50C, forced people to live underground (picture above). Chambers in the underground dugouts don’t exceed 23C and bedrooms are complete with four-poster covered beds to shield sleeping occupants from any falling rock from cave ceilings. Close by Moon Plain has a rocky expanse with a crusty cracked surface that makes you feel as if you have been transported to the moon and rusty car wrecks line the barren landscape. These desolate prospects have enticed apocalyptic films including Wim Wenders’ Until The End Of The World, Werner Herzog’s Where Green Ants Dream, Ground Zero, Pitch Black and Red Planet to shoot here. Visitors to the Moon Plain will come across a wrecked spaceship prop left from the filming of Pitch Black in 2000.

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AUSTRIA high calibre

Austria’s magnificent natural scenery and lavish city architecture are well matched by supportive regional commissions. FISA, the national incentive programme, targets international and co-produced features, but the various regional commissions do offer funding for TV productions too.

wo-thirds of Austria is covered by the Alps, meaning that mountainous vistas are plentiful. Moreover, Austria’s film friendly attitude and developed infrastructure allows big productions to access such locations. The Alpine topography varies between sweeping low regions covered in dense forestry and high regions punctured with jagged peaks and foreboding glaciers.

Disney’s The Sound of Music was the first to show off the Alpine landscapes to mass audiences in 1965, but many more have followed suit. James Bond memorably captured the dramatic landscapes in 2015’s Spectre. An intense chase sequence saw Bond escape from a clinic at the top of a mount Sölden in the Tyrolean Alps. Tirol’s established infrastructure and cooperative local authorities were able to facilitate such a largescale shoot. Although 3,000 metres above sea “porsche most level, the mountain top is recently cAptured accessible by road and there was enough experienced crew in Tirol 17 of the brAnd’s to service the production.

most iconic cArs gliding through the mountAin terrAin to mArk its 70th birthdAy.”

These regions are well set up for tourists. Resort towns abound with enough amenities to welcome film crews which can provide a good base for incoming productions and allow easy access to the wilderness. Tiger Zinda Hai starring Salmon Khan is one of an increasing number of Indian productions to shoot in Austria. The thriller filmed around Innsbruck and at nearby Alpine resorts of Praxmar and Kühtai. 2015’s Point Break, meanwhile, ventured to the Carinthia region where the mountains are less extreme, but vantage points look out over rivers, valleys and grand lakes.


Leopoldskron palace, Salzburg. Salzburg may be home to Mozart and all things baroque, but for an astounding 70% of overseas visitors, Disney’s 1965 film The Sound of Music remains the primary reason for travel to the city. Leopoldskron Palace (pictured above) features in the film and is a top highlight for visitors, but could be used as an excellent location for other films. In 1736, Salzburg prince-archbishop Leopold Anton Freiherr von Firmian built Schloss Leopoldskron as the family residence. Standing right next to the beautiful Leopoldskron Pond, it captivates with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The castle is well-known for its elaborate stucco works, mostly in the chapel and the Festsaal ceremonial hall. In the 1900’s, the palace served as an international, high-profile meeting place for the artistic and cultural scene. Now it functions as a hotel with charming little rooms and can also be hired as an event space.


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In The East, the Glassglockner high Alpine road (pictured left) is a 48km length of winding road passing through Austria’s highest mountain. Providing panoramic views of unspoiled scenery, the well maintained road has welcomed many car commercials. To celebrate Porsche's 70th birthday, Curves magazine captured 17 of the brand’s most iconic cars gliding through the mountain terrain.


A possible grant of up to 25% of eligible costs. National projects, meanwhile, can receive up to 20%. The maximum any project can obtain is EUR1.125 million. TAX REBATE


Austria has several airports but one main international hub located in the capital, Vienna. Vienna also has the main train station where you can travel to and from other European countries by rail. ATA CARNET



Susanna Fogel’s The Spy Who Dumped Me, Francis Lawrence’s Red Sparrow, Philip Moran’s City Of Spies. TIME zONE


There are two sound stages in Austria, Synchron Stage Vienna and Engelshofengasse 2. CONTACT

Location Austria (43 1) 588 580 Images: The Spy Who Dumped Me © Lionsgate Entertainment. JFL Photography & TT Studios.


In contrast, Austria’s grandiose city backdrops have proved magnetic to international feature films. The Habsurg dynasty ruled for 650 years, leaving their mark on Austrian cities. The capital Vienna has numerous illustrious settings to take advantage of and has featured in many big budget films. Last year, Hollywood action-comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me (main image) filmed at the Hofburg palace whose grand baroque exterior and ornate interiors speak of the lavish lifestyle of the original inhabitants. In 2017, thiller Red Sparrow also shot outside the palace at the Michaelerplatz, the impressive entrance square of the palace. National production Angelo, a biopic of Angelo Soliman, a boy kidnapped from Africa, selected by a countess and who quickly developed into the favourite ornament of the 18th century Viennese high society, utilised many interior and baroque facades in the city. The main incentive FISA, offers international and co-produced documentary and fiction feature films a possible grant of up to 25% of eligible costs. National projects, meanwhile, can receive up to 20%. The maximum any project can obtain is EUR1.125 million. To access the benefit, national and co-productions must spend EUR2.3 million for fiction and EUR350,000 for documentaries over a five day shoot, while international productions solely serviced in Austria must spend EUR4 million on fiction and EUR500,000 for documentaries. There are additional national and regional funding programmes, many of which also cater to TV production evaded by FISA. Austrian visual and post-production companies have a reputation for high quality work. The Grand Post, an audio and visual post house located in Vienna, has Austria’s first Dolby Atmos certified sound studio. The company has provided ADR services for Angelo, the BBC’s McMafia and sound design on the Locarno Festival winning film Chaos. Seven Production, also located in the capital, is a full service production company with post production capabilities including 3D, animation and VR. Recent work includes the dramatic Angel for Mercedez Benz featuring a CGI guardian angel.

the mAin incentive fisA, offers internAtionAl And co-produced documentAry And fiction feAture films A possible grAnt of up to 25% of eligible costs.


Fortresses are located throughout Austria’s rolling countryside, amid soaring mountains and quiet villages. In comparison, strolling down the capital’s busy streets, past the imperial palaces and manicured parks almost feels like a museum visit as the lasting influence of the powerful Habsburg’s monarchy can be seen all around. At the heart of the city stands The Hofburg palace (pictured below), the base of the dynasty from 1273 to 1918. The oldest section you can visit today is the 13th-century Swiss Courtyard. Also in the complex is the famed Spanish Riding School which has practiced the art of Haute Ecole for over 450 years. Attending an impeccably precise demonstration of the school’s Lipizzaner stallions performing equine ballet truly is a spectacle to behold. Only a ten-minute walk from the palace is the Naschmarkt open air market. Built in the 16th century, you can taste Austria’s culinary history from sauerkraut through to cured sausages and cheese.

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BERLINALE 2019 2019 marks the end of an era for the Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) – it’s the final edition of the event to be overseen by artistic director Dieter Kosslick. He steps down soon after his 18th festival wraps, to be replaced by dual heads Carlo Chatrian, the artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival, and Mariette Rissenbeek, managing director of German Films. Needless to say, Kosslick will be wanting a memorable end to his tenure, so expect the Berlinale to pull out all the stops for 2019 – and all the more so after last year’s edition, which was judged below par by many critics. The winner of the 2018 Golden Bear, quasi fictional documentary Touch Me Not by Romanian director Adina Pintilie, divided opinion. Many critics say that the Berlinale needs to raise its game if it wants to compete seriously with rival


A-list festivals Cannes, Venice and Toronto. A letter to Der Spiegel newspaper written before last year’s festival by 79 German film makers calling for a postKosslick overhaul of the festival added to the pressure on the Berlinale to secure a strong line up of competition films. During the Kosslick era, the Berlinale has expanded, adding new sections and programmes. It has embraced world cinema and has maintained a distinctly political edge. But critics say it has had inferior films in competition compared to those at other A-list festivals. The Berlinale was one of the first festivals to embrace high-end TV drama, launching the Berlinale Series strand in 2015. Shows launched in the strand in 2018 included Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Looming Tower.

The full Berlinale line-up for 2019 will be announced in December and January. The festival shows about 400 films per year. As well as the Competition line-up, the festival programmes independent and art house films in the Panorama section; films for young audiences in the Generation strand; new discoveries from the German film scene in Perspektive Deutsches Kino; and avant garde, experimental cinematography in the Forum section. Running alongside the Festival and its programme is the sales and financing market, European Film Market, held at the Zoo Palast. For more information about the festival see

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BELGIUM a complete package

Belgium could provide the answer to the squeeze on space currently facing Europe. Not only is Belgium easily accessible from major European hubs in the UK, France, the Netherlands and Germany, but the country offers an impressive set of production incentives.

elgium’s locations are generally regarded as its calling card, but the country has more studio space than ever before. LITES Studio will open in January 2019 in Brussels offering five stages including a water stage measuring 1,450sqm and high tech capabilities catering to SFX filming.

Antwerp’s AED Studios has 16 studios of varying sizes including a 875sqm water tank. Kursk (pictured above), starring Colin Firth utilised five studios, including the water tank, as did Norwegian TV series State of Happiness. Finnish-GermanBelgian sci-fi co-production Iron Sky: The Coming Race used the site’s indoor and outdoor facilities over an eight-week shoot. Producer Tero Kaukomaa noted that the “equipment and crew in general was good”, adding that “we were happy to be living in Antwerp “productions cAn which is very beautiful place!”.

Access the belgiAn tAx shelter for up to A 42% tAx credit on quAlifying Audio-visuAl spend which includes post-production.”

High end commercials currently make up a large proportion of work coming through Belgium. Top production companies including Made in Brussels, Caviar TV and Czar all have offices in the country and the output demonstrates the variety of locations and creative talent available in the small country. Pink Ribbon, for breast cancer awareness, was serviced by Czar for Mortierbrigade and managed to communicate the message in a heart-warming, relatable way from the vantage point of adolescent girls. Brussels and Antwerp are the two main production hubs, but smaller cities like Liège, Bruges and Ghent also welcome their fair share of international work.



Minnewater Bridge, Bruges

Tucked away at the southern end of Bruges is the area known as Minnewater. The centre piece for the area is the Minnewater Bridge, also known as the Lake of Love and Lovers Bridge. It’s a very tranquil location within the confines of the city. The peaceful setting and picturesque views from the bridge make it a great filming location and provide panoramic views of the city. The 2008 Martin McDonagh film In Bruges shot scenes across the whole city, with one being on this romantic bridge, although in the film’s case, the scene filmed was not so romantic. Walking in this area you will get a sense of what Bruges must have been like in the past. Close by is the tall watchtower known as the gun powder tower and the old town is full of attractive, historic buildings.

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The White Queen, for instance shot for 120 days in the cities of Bruges and Ghent. Productions can access The Belgian Tax Shelter, for up to a 42% tax credit on qualifying audio-visual spend which includes post-production. Animation, documentary and fiction features, TV series and documentaries can take advantage of the system by partnering with a local production company.


The Belgian Tax Shelter is a national scheme, while three regional funds, Screen Flanders (Flanders region), Screen Brussels (Brussels region) and Wallimage (Walloon region) provide funding related to their respective regions. TAX REBATE


Belgium has five airports, the largest of which is Zaventem. RECENT pRODUCTIONS

Thomas Vinterberg’s Kursk, Eran Riklis’s Spider in the Web, BBC’s Les Misérables and Baptiste, Rupert Everett’s The Happy Prince, Brian De Palma’s Domino. TIME zONE


Belgium’s climate is continental with colder winters and warmer summers. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year and snowfalls are also frequent, so spring and fall when temperatures are mild is the best time to shoot. SOUND STAGES

LITES studios complex has a state-of-the-art underwater studio opening in January 2019, plus Eye Lite Brussels, Eye Lite Corp, BFC, DaDa Studios, LittleBox, TSF Liège. CONTACT (32 2) 548 0455 Screen Flanders (32 2) 226 0630 Wallonie-Tournages (32 4) 237 9741 Images: Kursk © Via Est & Belga Productions. Les Miserables © BBC. Kavalenkava & Siraanam Wong.


Regional commissions also maintain production funds. Three regional commissions Screen Brussels, Wallonia Cinema and Screen Flanders work separately to provide economic and production assistance throughout the country. Screen Flanders covers the northern cities of Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Leuven and Ostend. Famous for its medieval towns, of which Bruges is the best preserved, Flanders’ flat landscape also has peaceful canals and windmills. Screen Flanders’ EUR4.5 million annual fund provides three streams of funding; the VAR Film Fund for standalone fiction, animation and documentary, VR and non-linear projects, the VAR Media Fund for fiction and documentary and animation television series and the VAR gaming fund providing up to EUR250,000 for games production. In recent years, the commission has provided economic support for the BBC series Baptiste and Les Misérables (pictured left) which shot on location at the Tervuren Park, Ghent, Huldenberg and Vilvoorde. Flemish is spoken locally, but crews speak English and French. Permits are required to shoot in the region. Screen Flanders can act as a first port of call, but productions should contact municipal film offices for specific permit applications. Wallonia, meanwhile, has a EUR4 million annual fund. The region covers most of the Southern portion of Belgium with mountainous terrain strewn with beautiful Chateaux. French is the native tongue here, but crews will speak English. Liège is the most well set up production hub in the region. Brussels, the capital, is an obvious choice for production and Screen Brussels provides funding for TV series and feature films with minimum budgets of EUR250,000. The city hosted production for The Danish Girl, which doubled Art Nouveau interiors for Parisian settings. The listed Horta Museum, Galeries Royales SaintHubert and Century Royal Park were all used by production. Most post-production facilities are also to be found in the capital. The Fridge.TV, an independent house specialising in visual effects, motion graphic and 2D/3D animation, has worked for feature films, TV series & brands including Gucci, Lidl, Orange, Leffe while Filmore and Mikros Image also offer post-production facilities in the city.

fAmous for its medievAl towns, of which bruges is the best preserved, flAnders’ flAt lAndscApe Also hAs peAceful cAnAls And windmills.


Belgium many be small but there is more than enough to fill your time. The central square of Brussels (pictured below) is understandably known as the Grand Place. The large cobblestone square has the 15th century city hall, but the entire square is full of buildings with elaborate baroque statues and parapets. Of course, you can’t visit Belgium without tasting some chocolate, you can find shops throughout the major cities, but Neuhaus in the Grand Place is one of the finest. Established in 1857, the shop has stained-glass windows and jaw-dropping displays. Antwerp, the second largest city in Belgium has emerged as the country’s creative powerhouse. A quick visit here should include a stop at one of the many museums such as Plantin-Moretus Museum which has two of the oldest printing presses in the world and many of Ruben’s paintings, drawings and prints. De Groote Witte Arend in Antwerp serves traditional meals of rabbit, eel or beef in a medieval convent. Of course, any restaurant you visit in Belgium is bound to have an impressive beer menu.

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BULGARIA super sets

The sound stages and standing sets on offer, alongside the budget-friendly cost of production, are Bulgaria’s prime attraction, but there are a wealth of outdoor and city locations on offer yet to be truly explored by international productions.

ofia’s studio facilities are undoubtedly at the heart of production in Bulgaria. UFO Studios has four large stages, as well as a number of standing sets in its backlot.

Nu Boyana, meanwhile, tends to attract biggerbudgeted action and historical features, as well as TV series and a considerable amount of commercial work. Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo V has used the studio as a production base, as did Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen and Hunter Killer (main image). The studio has 13 sound stages ranging from 580sqm to 1470 sqm, as well as a heated underwater stage. There are a number of standing sets available on the backlot as well as postproduction facilities that often work on the films shot there. Nu Boyana’s Roman set is one of the biggest in the world, complete with two coliseums, one of which has capacity for 5,000 extras, as well as a variety of scenes “nu boyAnA’s including temples, an open romAn set is one market, as well as adaptable of the biggest interiors. Most recently, Horrible in the world, Histories: The Movie made complete with two use of the extensive set, as has BBC’s Plebs (pictured below), coliseums, one of 2011’s Conan the Barbarian which hAs cApAcity and 2014 action fantasy 300: for 5,000 extrAs.” Rise of an Empire. Action films spanning global locations have frequently made use of the New York, London and the Middle Eastern sets. The London set’s 1:1 replica of St Paul’s Cathedral exterior and square was used in an explosive sequence for 2016 thriller London has Fallen. The action then jumps to the Middle East but thanks to Nu Boyana’s set, no relocation


St Nedelya Church, Sofia Sofia’s St Nedelya Church (pictured above) is a large Eastern Orthodox cathedral noted for its rich, Byzantine-style murals. Completed in 1863, this magnificent domed church is one of the city’s major landmarks. Fortunately, its brilliant gold domes are hard to miss from the city streets. The church was targeted by communist commanders in 1925. In what turned out to be a failed bomb attack, Tsar Boris III, the target, was spared but over 200 other civilians were killed. It has suffered through the ages and has been reconstructed many times, most recently by the Communist Party in 1950. Xavier Gens’s 2007 hit feature film Hitman filmed in the church for a scene in the movie which doubled Sofia for Moscow. The church is located in the very centre of the town, making it easy to access from nearby studios and accomodation.


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was involved for production. Lastly, there is a forest backlot at the studio. Situated at the foot of the Vitosha mountain, productions can make use of the encroaching natural settings to build outdoor sets. A recent commercial for Alb Telecom, serviced by Made in Sofia, made full use of the studio’s sets for a shoot which in a single day captures shots of a crowded gig, a taxi driving through the London rain and visits to both ancient Rome and New York City.


Bulgaria lacks a formal incentive package for international shoots but the fact that it is so cheap still makes it a huge draw for international productions. ATA CARNET


Bulgaria has four international airports located in the different areas of the country. It’s easy to travel to other European countries and some parts of Asia, but if you’re flying from the US, expect a stopover. RECENT pRODUCTIONS

Lior Geller’s We Die Young, Ric Roman Waugh’s Angel Has Fallen, Donovan Marsh’s Hunter Killer. TIME zONE


Bulgaria has four distinct seasons. It is generally hot and dry in summer with moderate humidity. Best times to shoot would be spring and fall when temperatures are mild and dry. SOUND STAGES

Bulgaria offers a total of 20 sound stages that can accommodate practically any type of feature film or TV project. They include one underwater stage and a water tank. All stages are located in filming studios in or near Sofia. CONTACT

Bulgarian National Film Center (359 2) 981 6631 / / Images: Hunter Killer – Bulgaria National Film Centre. Plebs © BBC. Andrey Shevchenko & Zeljko Radojko.


Production service companies are also mainly headquartered in Sofia, but often make use of the extensive natural settings available in Bulgaria. A recent commercial for Porsche titled Choose Thrilling serviced by Icon Films Sofia, saw a typical city street swapped for the sandy shoreline of the Black Sea which can be found on the western coast. With mountainous scenery and sandy beaches, there are exciting natural settings yet to be uncovered in Bulgaria. Sofia, meanwhile offers Soviet-era architecture next to grand imperial buildings. Despite not having a formal incentives package, Bulgaria still provides good value for money with relatively cheap costs of goods and services. There is also a local VAT refund and a fixed 10% flat rate for personal and corporate income tax. The Bulgarian National Film Center also has a EUR7.7 million annual fund that supports domestic production, distribution, promotion as well as minority co-productions. Currently, co-production agreements are in place with Italy, Israel, Turkey, France and countries party to the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-productions. However, the advance of surrounding production hubs with access to competitive incentive schemes means the country can no longer rely on its cost-competitive nature to lure productions in. Bulgaria is one of the few remaining Balkan countries that doesn’t operate an incentive scheme. Romania enacted a cash rebate that provides projects with 35-45% cash rebate in July, while Serbia, Croatia, Greece and Slovenia all operate a 25% scheme. Recently, the national government has indicated that an incentive might be on its way, which could reinstate Bulgaria’s presence on the global production stage, encouraging international features to explore the natural locations on offer and utilise the substantial depth of technically proficient crew available.

despite not hAving A formAl incentives pAckAge, bulgAriA still provides good vAlue for money with relAtively cheAp costs of goods And services.


Bulgaria’s seven mountain ranges ripple across the country, creating amazing landscapes with sparkling lakes between snow-dusted peaks. A paradise for outdoor lovers, trekking paths lead to mist-cloaked panoramas in the Stara Planina range (pictured below). Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia is mistakenly often overlooked by visitors heading straight to the coast or ski resorts. Sofia doesn’t claim to be a grand metropolis, but the largely modern, youthful city has plentiful historical churches, Ottoman mosques and Red Army monuments that lend an eclectic, exotic feel. We recommend a quick visit to the modern art gallery to see works from Bulgarian artists as well as Dali, Damien Hirst, Warhol and Matisse. Foodies will enjoy MoMa Bulgarian Food & Wine, one of the top restaurants in Sofia. It serves typical Bulgarian food such as grilled meats and meatballs, but make sure you start off with a shot of Rakia, Bulgarian brandy.

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Dawn McCarthy -Simpson MBE Dawn McCarthy-Simpson MBE is the director of international strategy at UK producers’ alliance Pact, where she is responsible for developing and implementing policy to support independent producers. This includes negotiating overseas trade agreements and MOUs and helping members to access international markets. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Exports.

lONg OvERlOOkEd, THE aFRiCaN TElEvisiON maRkET is TakiNg OFF. dawN mCCaRTHy-simpsON wEigHs up THE Rapid CHaNgEs HappENiNg aCROss THE CONTiNENT – aNd aRguEs THaT THERE Has NEvER bEEN a bETTER TimE FOR glObally-miNdEd Tv FiRms TO FOCus ON aFRiCa

olitics and infrastructure, the two factors that held back the development of the TV industry in Africa, are now playing a big part in its growth.

It wasn’t until late 1976 that television was finally introduced to South Africa. In 1962 political pressure from Dr Albert Hertzog, Minister for Posts and Telegraph, blocked its introduction and branded it the ‘devil’s box’. Across the rest of Africa television uptake was slow and due to poor infrastructure, ineffective electricity and the lack of digital connectivity its roll out has been held back. Now, as the rest of the world migrates from big-screen to isolated small screen consumption, Africa is experiencing the reverse. Government initiatives, DTT roll-out and upgrading electricity supplies are transforming the continent. Once known as the land of mobile consumption, Africa is now enjoying big-screen family viewing. It’s not just the affluent middle class who are benefitting, policies are also in place to ‘connect all’. In 2017 the Nigerian Government provided 450,000 set-top boxes to low income families in Abuja. JustFlicks launched their online streaming service in South Africa at only R1 per day deducted from their mobile service.


China’s StarTimes also disrupted the African pay-TV market when it launched in 2007 offering competitive subscriptions and triggering a price war. Pay-TV became more affordable and led to an increase in overall subscriptions. In 2017 Dataxis reported 23.7 million subscribers, with predictions that these are set to increase to 35 million by 2022. Global platforms are also taking advantage of the new ‘Digital Africa’ – Kwesé TV and Netflix have launched Roku-powered OTT services, while French network Canal Plus has launched across the Francophone countries. Although the African TV sector has ambitions to create its own content, at the moment shows come mainly from international co-productions and imports. Popular soaps are imported from Spain, China and the Philippines. In terms of TV viewing habits, sports and news are a vital part of daily consumption, educational programming is a high priority and drama, comedy and entertainment shows get the highest ratings. Africa has come a long way since Dr Albert Hertzog and with more eyeball consumption there is a high demand for content. It’s never been a better time to focus on Africa.

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interview with phil hunt hil Hunt’s Londonbased firm Head Gear is, in his own words, ‘the biggest privately owned lender to independent film in the world’, financing 60 projects a year.

Head Gear has helped to finance films such as Peter Strickland’s In Fabric, Johnny Depp starrer Black Mass, Chris Foggin’s Fisherman’s Friends, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, and Normal People, starring Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville. Head Gear was founded 16 years ago, backed by Compton Ross. Hunt, who began his career in the 1990s producing low-budget films, is also a shareholder of sales firm Bankside Films and supports other UK sales companies. MAKERS MAG

Tell us about Head Gear? pHIL HUNT

There are many differences between us and other lenders. We are a facilitator and a partner. We have one investor – Compton Ross, my business partner and silent partner. Unusually, there are no other investors. It is not a tax structure, it is not leveraged, there is not an investor behind the investor, we are not middle men, we are not arrangers – we are direct lenders with cash sitting in an account. I come from a background of producing, and Head Gear’s primary raison d’etre is to help producers without losing money. If we can make money, great. Mostly, what I am looking for is very leveraged deals, with projects


that are about to fall over – and where I can help producers. Since the 1990s, I have built up some close relationships with some of the great producers and sales people – people I love working with because I feel safe and when the shit hits the fan for them, I am there. MAKERS MAG

What kinds of film do you put money in to? pHIL HUNT

We are a lender not an investor. The kind of films that I want to back are the kind of films that make my money back. In other words, it doesn’t matter what budget it is, or what the script is like or what kind of film it is. The only thing that matters is the deal – it is just about the deal. We’ve put money into a whole bunch of films; the only thing that binds them is their risk profile. For us, it is not about the upside, it is about totally and utterly about mitigating the downside. MAKERS MAG

How do you mitigate the downside in film? pHIL HUNT

Very little of it is to do with the script. It doesn’t matter what business you are in, there are two kinds of risk. One is performance risk and the other is structured risk. In film, a producer tax credit or a pre-sale is a structured risk because it is a promise to pay in the future as long as certain conditions are met. It is not related to performance. When I cash flow a tax credit, or cash flow a pre-sale, it is nothing to do with performance. For example, as long as the producer spends the money in the UK, I will get

the tax credit back. My risk is not whether the film is good. A completion bond guarantees and insures the risk that the film will be delivered however I also invest in non-bonded films. For these, there are other ways of mitigating my risk - I just have to have more eyes on production.

are knowingly “creative” with their accounting. A lot of buyers are really good at simply not paying. And what are you going to do – sue them? The only leverage you have is not to do business with them which is leverage we have but it takes years to build up.

Then there is performance risk. On some projects, I will put money in where it is technically a loan but I can only get my money back through the performance of the film – and I will be paid back in first position, before the other investors.

Lending is not a sexy part of the film business. To be a lender you have got to deal through your head and not your heart – it doesn’t matter what the film is, it matters what the deal is. But people get confused and fall in love with films and then throw trading rules out of the window. A mistake I made for a long time!

When I put in gap finance like this, I am at a performance risk, so the script and other aspects come in to play that I do have to assess. It is a longer, more drawn out process to arrange. MAKERS MAG

There are only a few companies like yours lending to the film industry, why aren’t more people doing it? pHIL HUNT

Because it is really difficult – people lose money very quickly in this business. I see so many companies come and go. A lot of people knowingly or unknowingly miss-sell in the film business. As an example, people often talk about box office returns. But box office has virtually no correlation to an investor getting their investment back on an independent film. That’s because at each stage of the value chain, risk is sold off. If a film does really well a distributor should put overages back into the claims account. The problem is that half the countries in the world are never going to audit anyway – half of the world


What is the market like at the moment for indie films? pHIL HUNT

The indie distribution model continues to decline. There is still a market, but it is fairly binary now – a film is either a hit or a miss. There was a time when you could always get back a reasonable proportion of the budget if a film didn’t work, say 30-90% back. These days there could be nothing back to the investor. There are a whole variety of reasons for this. It is the changing digital landscape. Studios have cornered the screens market. There are too many films being made. Then there is the collapse of the value chain for independent distributors – they used to buy a film knowing they could get their minimum guarantee advanced payment back through a sale to TV station – but TV stations are not buying as they used to. They’ve got to get it back from theatrical – or by selling to SVOD platforms.



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CROATIA hidden depths

Croatia has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity over recent years, and for good reason. High-end TV and big budget features are now regular visitors to the small nation whose shimmering seas and historic quarters are more than capable of housing even the biggest of productions.

hances are you will have seen Croatia star in more than one major blockbuster over the last few years. Building on a long track record of hosting international productions including 1971 Academy Award Winner Fiddler on the Roof and Orson Welles’ 1962 The Trial, Croatia has reasserted its position at the forefront of international production with the help of their incentive rebate.

Recently increased to 25%, the cash rebate covers qualifying expenses for feature films, animations, documentaries, TV films and TV series. Minimum spend requirements range from HRK2 million for feature films, down to HRK300,000 for documentaries. TV series must spend HRK750,000 per episode which “productions cAn equates to roughly EUR100,000. now receive An The rebate is capped at HRK 4.000.000 per project, but AdditionAl 5% exceptions are allowed if uplift to the productions meet additional criteria.

rebAte when filming in regions with below AverAge development.”

The incentives were a deciding factor in persuading 2018’s Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (pictured above) to relocate filming to Croatia. The 2008 original filmed on the Greek Island of Skopelos, but the sequel was based in Vis, one of Croatia’s many islands. Netflix’s Ibiza took the same route, doubling Pag Island for both Barcelona and Spain’s party capital Ibiza.

Croatia’s 1244 islands and glistening seas have also been utilised in a variety of commercials. Most recently to launch its UberBOAT function, the tech business featured a couple exploring the Dalmatian coast’s brilliant blue Adriatic, rocky islands and charming harbour cities using the service. 46


Diocletian's Palace, Split.

Much of Split's historic center consists of this former fortress which is now preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally built in the 3rd century for the Roman Emperor Diocletian ruling from AD284 until AD305, the palace (pictured above) today forms about half of Split’s old town. For several centuries the palace remained empty after the Romans abandoned the site, until residents in the 7th century flocked to the walled palace as a place for refuge when escaping invading Croats. Ever since, the palace has been occupied. The town’s population established their homes and businesses within the palace basement and directly into its walls. A production that has used this site as a filming location is HBO’s Game Of Thrones, with the palace acting as the fictional city of Meereen in season four and it is also the site of Daenerys' throne room. The Palace itself is built with white stone transported from the island of Brac. A rectangular shape, that palace has four large towers at the corners, doors on each of the four sides and four smaller towers on the walls.

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25% cash rebate covers qualifying expenses for feature films, animations, documentaries, TV films and TV. Productions can also receive an additional 5% uplift when filming in regions with below average development. CASH REBATE


Travelling to Croatia from anywhere in Europe is quite easy. Zagreb, Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik are well-connected by plane with the rest of Europe throughout the year. ATA CARNET



Ol Parker’s Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, Uber’s Campaign for More Drivers, Ridley Scott's The Terror, advertisement for Lasko beer. TIME zONE


The majority of tourists head to Croatia in July and August. To avoid those crowds, visit in June or September when the weather is still warm, and prices are cheaper. SOUND STAGES

The Croatian Audiovisual Centre is lobbying for a studio complex to be built near the capital city of Zagreb. There are also some sound stages in the Jadran Film studio complex in the capital. In addition to this, there are several smaller stages, as well as a number of warehouses. CONTACT

Filming In Croatia (385 1) 6041 082 / Images: Pakt Media’s e Master Butcher’s Singing Club, Universals’ Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, Carol Anne, Dreamer4787.


Productions can now receive an additional 5% uplift to the rebate when filming in regions with below average development. The move should provide a boost to regional economies, but also provides opportunities for productions to discover new horizons. The first film to take advantage of the uplift is German production The Master Butcher's Singing Club (pictured left). Producer Lutz Weidlich explained that the new incentive “enticed us to explore locations beyond well-known filming routes, and we were very fortunate to have found such pristine locations that form such an important part of our story, which would have not been on our radar”. The historical drama following the story of German emigrants to North America shot in southern Kijevo, Zagreb counties and Sisak-Moslavina counties, all areas new to production. The adaptability of Croatia’s landscapes and architecture is one of the biggest strengths of the country. Influences from both East and West over centuries have impacted city architecture while natural landscapes can double for multiple destinations. Although not set in Croatia, the BBC’s international epic McMafia found locations to stand in for Moscow, Prague, the Negev desert and Tel Aviv and the capital Zagreb has been used to recreate Austrian, Hungarian, Swiss, Czech and German cities over the years. The Dalmatian Hinterland is a mainstay for productions set in the American West, most lately for the 2015 German-Croatian co-produced Winnetou trilogy. Unbelievably, Ridley Scott’s thriller series The Terror managed to transform the vast wasteland of Island Pag into the Arctic tundra. In terms of historic backdrops, Dubrovnik reigns supreme. Last year Lionsgate used the authentic medieval look of Dubrovnik to recreate Nottingham Castle in Robin Hood and in 2016 Star Wars: The Last Jedi shot the ritzy planet of Canto Bright, in the medieval city. Luckily even with so much going on, the country can accommodate more than one big production at any time. Numerous local production companies and a deep base of highly skilled crew are on hand to service productions of any size. Studio space, however, is somewhat lacking but Hungary and Serbia are close by so extensive studio space, where productions can base themselves, is within easy reach.

numerous locAl production compAnies And A deep bAse of highly skilled crew Are on hAnd to service productions of Any size.


Croatia's island-flecked coastline is undoubtedly its main attraction. The first thing that will strike you is the clarity of its water, but if you shift your gaze upwards for just a moment chances are an almighty mountain will loom on the horizon. The Dinaric Alps, which stretch all the way from Italy to Albania hug much of Croatia’s coastline. The mountain’s limestone karst has bequeathed the region a wonderland of craggy peaks, caverns, river canyons, waterfalls and picturesque lakes. A visit to Croatia is never complete without a trip to Dubrovnik (pictured below), dubbed the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, whose historic maze of palaces, churches and fountains never fails to instill awe. Dubrovnik's glitziest restaurant, Restaurant 360° offers fine dining at its best, with flavoursome, beautifully presented, creative cuisine and an impressive wine list. Located atop the city walls, diners enjoy an unparalleled view of the city’s harbour peering through the battlements.

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Streamers Go Local


The move by streamers such as Netflix and Amazon to ramp up local production around the world is about more than simply boosting international subscriber numbers – it’s about fending off increasing political and regulatory scrutiny too.



n the race to attract new subscribers, the international market has emerged as the big new battleground in 2018 for streaming players such as Netflix and Amazon.

Europe under new creative director for Europe Jay Hunt, the former chief creative officer of Channel 4. In June, YouTube, launched its subscription video offer YouTube Premium in the UK, and hired local commissioners for the service.

Netflix, for example, said that it planned to invest $1 billion of its annual $8 billion content spend in Europe in 2018. Both Amazon and Netflix have opened new offices in Europe, made a number of key staff hires as well as unveiling a raft of new international shows.

Similar 'localised global' strategies are being pursued by most of the pan-regional pay TV groups in Europe, including Sky, Telefónica, Canal+, Modern Times Group and HBO Europe.

They are not the only streaming companies to do so. Apple has been busy developing content out of

The reasons for the international push are clear. Executives agree that the best way to attract international subscribers is to offer them local stories alongside imported US series and movies.

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THE bEsT way TO aTTRaCT iNTERNaTiONal subsCRibERs is by OFFERiNg THEm lOCal sTORiEs aNd CHaRaCTERs alONgsidE impORTEd us sERiEs aNd mOviEs.

The best of these locally produced series are increasingly finding loyal fans around the world too, amid a growing acceptance by audiences of foreign language drama. Netflix’s Spanish heist drama La Casa de Papel and Amazon’s German series You Are Wanted have been big hits at home, and internationally. “We've been producing shows that are incredibly relevant in their home territories and the nice windfall is they get viewed all over the world,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a recent earnings call. James Richardson, co-founder of Vertigo Films (Britannia) says the move by the streamers to create more local content echoes the move by the big Hollywood Studios to internationalise their businesses 20 years ago. Then, in search of growth out of the saturated US market, the studios began to back local production for specific markets, some of which became huge hits around the world. Likewise, for companies such as Netflix, the international push is about making sure the tremendous growth rates of their services are maintained – in the face of flagging gains in the US. In its home US market, for example, Netflix subscriber numbers now stand at an impressive 56 million – meaning it is hard to grow at the same speed as it has in the past. By contrast, Netflix has 72.8 million subscribers in the rest of the world – which leaves plenty of room for growth. Netflix says it has launched 100 projects alone this year from 16 countries spanning Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The company is also expanding its physical presence in Europe. Former Canal Plus head of documentaries Diego Bunuel is now running Netflix documentary commissioning from a new London office. In September, Netflix moved into a new European production hub in Madrid, with three 1,200sqm sound stages, to handle its growing slate of Spanish language content. It has 20

Images: Netflix’ Las Chicas del Cable © Manuel Fernandez-Valdes, Dark © Julia Terjung, La Casa de Papel, Ghoul © Ishika Motawane. Amazon’s Good Omens.


original productions being made in the country at the moment, including a third season of Las Chicas del Cable. Netflix is also reportedly looking to establish a studio base in the UK to service future productions. Amazon, meanwhile, has pushed into local sports – acquiring a package of rights to Premier League football in the UK. It is also producing more European made content, including Beat, a German thriller set in the Berlin club scene, Franco-German comedy Deutsch–Les-Landes, the third series of The Grand Tour and the upcoming sci-fi series Good Omens from Neil Gaiman. At a glitzy press event in London in October, Amazon flew in many of the stars and producers of its new shows, seeking to emphasise the level of investment it is making into European production. Amazon said it is “we've been developing projects in producing shows Spain with producers thAt Are incredibly such as Boomerang, relevAnt in their Atres Studios and home territories Tornasol, in Italy with And the nice producers including Lux windfAll is they Vide and Wildside, and get viewed All in France with producers such as Gaumont and over the world.” Kwai. It also announced a drama deal with British writer Neil Gaiman (Good Omens), and a commission with producer Mark Burnett and presenter Bear Grylls for a new global eco-adventure series. The head of Amazon Studios, Jennifer Salke, says she now comes to Europe every six to eight weeks as part of a bid to ramp up production on the continent. “It is so important that we create a global home for talent,” she says.



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Amazon’s European commissioning is led by Georgia Brown, director of European Originals. She explains that, in a such competitive market place, it is important for Amazon to have “local boots on the ground” who speak the language and understand the culture. She adds that is also crucial for them to “have full autonomy to develop in local territories without constantly having to go back to HQ. That nimbleness and that speed to market are going to be key to our success.” Salke also identifies the kinds of projects that Amazon is looking to back: “The things these [projects] need to have in common are great original voices and a high execution level. Beyond that we look for passionate storytellers and characters that we think will break through.”

FOR COmpaNiEs suCH as NETFliX, THE iNTERNaTiONal pusH is abOuT makiNg suRE THE TREmENdOus gROwTH RaTEs OF THEiR sERviCEs aRE maiNTaiNEd – iN THE FaCE OF FlaggiNg gaiNs iN THE us.

Marco Kreuzpaintner, the writer/director of Amazon original Beat, says the move by streamers to invest in local shows is a boon for local producers, especially shows shot in the German language. “Our market opportunities are quite limited normally. But now we know that Beat is going to be available in more than 230 countries, dubbed in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese… we can reach target audiences all over the world.” However, the SVoDs’ decision to invest more internationally is about more than simply boosting subscriber numbers – it’s about politics too. The European Union (EU) looks to be moving ahead with a proposed law that will require streamers like Amazon and Netflix to devote at least 30% of their on-demand libraries to local content. The EU argues that the streamers should be doing even more to invest in local content than they already are – and the figures seem to back them up too. According to British regulator Ofcom, only a small proportion of SVoD spend is on programmes made in the UK. In March 2018, Ofcom noted that Netflix had 753 originals, of which 35 were UK-made, with the most notable production being The Crown, while Amazon only had five UK-made originals out of 174 original titles. BBC director general Tony Hall also recently lambasted the streamers for spending too little in the UK, saying that – despite talk of multi-billion pound investment – only around £150 million of the tech giants' spend is actually invested in new UK programmes. Nevertheless, traditional broadcasters are taking action in attempt to halt the drift of viewers away from their services (Netflix, Amazon and Now TV



have 15.4 million subscribers in the UK, more than the established pay-TV players like Sky, Virgin and BT.) Many are partnering up with each other so they can match the spending power of the streamers for big budget dramas. In May, European public broadcasters France Télévisions and Italy’s RAI extended their alliance to co-produce high-end projects to include Germany’s ZDF, Spain’s RTVE, Belgium’s RTBF and VRT and Switzerland’s RTS. France Télévisions bills the alliance as a “new era of collaboration” in a market disrupted by the SVODs. Meanwhile, Atrium TV, the drama ‘commissioning club’ launched last year by British distributor DRG and ex-Sony chairman Sir Howard Stringer, is about to greenlight its first two projects. Atrium is producing original shows with budgets of circa $5 million an hour specifically for a group of regional telcos and streamers. Traditional broadcasters “it is so importAnt are also looking to launch thAt we creAte A their own streaming globAl home for services to counter tAlent.” Netflix and Amazon. In the UK, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are in talks about launching a joint online video platform, dubbed a ‘British Netflix’. Similar platforms are in the works elsewhere on the continent. In France, the country's three largest broadcast groups – France TV, M6 and TF1 – have partnered on joint online platform Salto. In Germany, commercial TV giant ProSiebenSat.1 recently joined forces with Discovery Communication's Eurosport on its own, as-yetunnamed, VOD service, set to launch early next year. What is clear from these initiatives is that the traditional broadcasters are no longer sitting back – but are taking concrete, albeit slow, steps to take the fight to the streamers in their local markets. Not that anyone should expect there to be single victor in this battle. Analysts say that householders are signing up to several streaming platforms at a time, not just the one service. It’s point emphasized by Jay Marine, the vice president of Amazon Prime Video for Europe, who points to the growing demand for video streaming services. “Video is a huge market. It is not a winner take all market – there will be multiple winners.”

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natural flair

The Dominican Republic has become a prominent production hub attracting work from both North and South America, as well as further afield. The combination of specialist water filming facilities and accessible natural scenery provides productions with endless options for tropical shoots.

he Dominican Republic is one of the few Caribbean countries with a formal tax incentive in place. Feature films, TV series and documentaries as well as music videos spending over USD500,000 can access the 25% transferable tax credit. Above and below the line costs on post-production and special effects are also covered by the incentive, which doesn’t have a per project cap. In addition, there is an 18% customs and duty exemption applied to all goods and service expenses directly related to pre, post and production.

The tropical feel of its natural scenery is a major reason that productions venture to the Dominican Republic. Music videos benefitting from the incentive often choose to shoot here. Canadian Drake and Moroccan French Montana shot the video for “costs on postNo Shopping at one of the production And island’s renowned golf courses, speciAl effects whilst British popstar Aluna Are Also covered George captured a vivid portrait of by the incentive, life in a Dominican village for I’m in Control. which doesn’t hAve A per project cAp.”

Higher end ad productions are often attracted to the abundance of pristine beaches. McCann Santo Domingo’s Beach Colours RD campaign compiled sand samples and aerial shots of the island’s 200 beaches into a geolocated catalogue. The Coastal Pantone showcases the island’s diverse beaches to promote tourism to underused regions. Aside from its coastal settings, the Dominican Republic has several location highlights. Altos de Chevron (main image), for instance, is a 16th century replica of a



The Hotel El Embajador, Santo Domingo The hotel (pictured above) is a luxury five-star hotel situated in the exclusive Bellavista neighbourhood. Perched on a hilltop and surrounded by gardens, the grounds provide secluded views over the Caribbean Sea. Its Embassy Club quickly gained a reputation for hosting some of the best musical performances in the nation after its inauguration in 1956. The hotel has accommodated many influential visitors and quickly cemented its position as a social meeting place for The Dominican Republic’s high society. The hotel has been used as the set of iconic films such as Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II and Andy García’s The Lost City. The hotel is just 15 minutes from the domestic airport of Herrera and 45 minutes from the international airport of Las Americas, making it easy to reach.

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Mediterranean village with a 5,000 seat romanesque amphitheater. Accessible by road are the Cordillera mountain range with waterfalls and Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain.


Minimum investment of USD500,000 on qualified international productions in the country with no cap on projects. TAX CREDITS


Regardless of where you plan to travel in the Dominican Republic, there is an international airport close by. There are nine airports, six of which are international. You can easily fly to the islands from the US, the UK and other European countries. ATA CARNET


In 2011 Pinewood Studios set up a Dominican studio specialising in water effects to cater to the increasing demand of Latino film markets but Hollywood blockbusters also regularly use the facilities. Each of its three sound stages have interior water filming tanks, but the outdoor horizon water tank is the star of the show. Measuring 60,500 square feet, the tank has natural horizons as well as blue screen capabilities. Within easy reach of US filming hubs, the facility is popular with Hollywood blockbusters requiring state of the art water filming. 2017’s 47 Meters Down (pictured left) starring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt shot at the studio. Much of the film takes place under water as two sisters on a luxury holiday in Mexico find themselves trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean with limited oxygen left. Diving Sevices DR, a specialist marine and diving service worked on the film. Based at Pinewood Dominican Republic, the company is experienced in underwater filming, but can assist in all waterbased shoots in the islands from planning and logistics to providing stunt personnel and renting specialised equipment. Aside from feature film work, they have provided expertise on commercial shoots for brands including Unilever, Wella and Lenor as well as Canadian miniseries Caught about a prison escapee on the run.

The Dominican Republic has a tropical maritime climate. It tends to be hot all year round with a dry season in winter and a rainy season from late April to October, meaning the best time to shoot would be from November to April.

The sequel to 47 Meters Down will shortly return to the Dominican Republic, this time doubling it for Brazil. The colonial architecture, mountainous inner region and tropical beaches can double for many South American locations. In 1990 Sydney Pollack’s Havana doubled the Dominican Republic for Cuba because of restrictions placed on US activity in Cuba. The BBC’s recent adaptation of Andrea Levy’s The Long Song, which tells the story of a young female slave on a Jamaican plantation in the mid-19th century, based itself at Pinewood Dominican Republic.

Pinewood Dominican Republic offers an eightacre facility for water filming with infinity sea views, professional diving and marine support. There is also another sound stage called Estudio Quitasueno which has 40,000sqm of land dedicated exclusively to audiovisual production.

Incoming productions should work with approved local production service providers. The film commission has a database of certified crew and technicians. The Film Commission also processes the necessary applications to film on public land, buildings or roads with the appropriate local authorities.


Miguel García de la Calera’s Caribe All Inclusive, Giancarlo Beras-Goico’s Pulso, Turkish Reality TV series Survivor. BEST TIME TO SHOOT


coloniAl Architecture, mountAinous inner regions And tropicAl beAches cAn double for both cAribbeAn locAtions, As well As much of south AmericA.


The Dominican Republic is the second largest and most diverse Caribbean country where you can explore ancient relics or enjoy adventures in the national parks, mountain ranges, rivers and, of course, their sandy beaches. From December to March, you can see migrating humpback whales arrive to mate in the tropical waters from Punta Cana bay. If you have the time, take a boat to Semana Bay to watch the spectacle up close. Music and sport are of great importance in the Dominican culture where the national dance and music of the Merengue and Bachata still play a central role on the island’s culture. For two weeks at the end of July top bands and dancers congregate to perform all over Santo Domingo but guests staying at seaside resort hotels will be able to see performances throughout the year. A variation on Bandera Dominicana, a plate of rice and beans with meat is served at most traditional eateries.


The Dominican Republic Film Commission (1 809) 687 2166 x12 /


Images: 47 Meters Down © Matt Humphrey 2015. Valentin Valkov & Iakov Kalinin.

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FINLAND fresh take

Finland hosts a steady stream of TV productions, high-end commercials and occasional feature films attracted to the locations on offer. The nation’s small but experienced crew base are able to service shoots even in the most challenging circumstances.

inland’s real draw is the breadth of dynamic and untouched settings which are easy to access. In contrast to the UK's 395 inhabitants per square mile, Finland only has 17. Much of the population live in the towns and cities leaving vast swathes of the landscape uninhabited. 70% of the land is covered in forest and there are over 187,888 lakes in the country, many of which freeze over during the long winter.

High-end commercials shooting in Finland most often make use of the wealth of landscapes on offer with adventure and exploration being two key themes. Helsinki-based Grillifilms serviced two productions for Pure Scandinavia which featured vehicles zooming through snowscapes at hair-raising speeds. Snow for Audi and Drive On for Shell made use of the icy, desolate panoramas to promote cutting “in winter, the edge technology.

sun never rises over the horizon And periods of twilight period brings blue, violet And purple hues to the snow.”

A steady stream of international feature films and TV series locate themselves in the country. Many of these are co-productions. Fantasy film Iron Sky: The Ark (pictured below) filmed in West Finland as did Mexican co-production Bayoneta. There are several studios, the largest of which is Mediapolis located in the city of Tampere in Southern Finland that has six studios ranging from 100m2 to 1,500m2. There are six other main studios located in Turku, Helsinki and Tampere.


Finland’s beauty is most striking when the dark winter months arrive, and like magic, the Northern aurora borealis ignites the sky. To cope with the cold, the Finnish have truly perfected the art of the sauna. Up to three million are strewn through the country in homes, offices, airports and even the national parliament. True adventurers should head to Pyhpiilo Sauna in Northern Finland where alternating stints in the sauna and dips in the frozen lake will really get your circulation going. Or, visit one of Finland’s 75 ski resorts. Gliding through rolling open fells is a new experience for avid skiers used to Alpine peaks. In the summer, Finland bursts into life. Opera fanatics may want to visit Olavinlinna Castle (pictured above) to see a top-grade performance staged in the castle courtyard during the Savonlinna Opera Festival. In Helsinki, the food at Sea Horse will revive you. Try the crispy fried Baltic herrings or meatballs.

A 25% national production cash rebate incentive is available to domestic and foreign productions covering work from pre- to post-production on


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feature and documentary films, scripted fiction and animation projects. Feature films must have a total budget of EUR2.5 million, spending at least EUR150,000 in Finland, documentaries must spend EUR50,000 out of a total minimum budget of EUR325,000 and TV dramas and animations spending at least EUR5,500 per minute on production must allocate EUR250,000 worth of production in the country.




All applicants must have a distribution agreement in place and use a Finnish production service coordinator while shooting in the country. A EUR1 million fund for co-productions is also available from the Finnish Film Commission. Support varies from EUR25,000 to EUR500,000 but there is no minimum spend for projects looking to apply. Q: How did Finland become a major

Teija Raninen, Film Commissioner for West Finland notes that "what makes Finland stand out as an extremely film-friendly location is the level of service that is provided. The regional film commissions take care of everything from shooting permits to arranging free parking and help with recruiting the production team and extras”. Additionally, Finland’s Everyman’s Right principle allows access to land and waterways meaning that permits are not required to film in public places, unless special traffic arrangements are involved. To film on private property, the landowner’s permission is needed.

location for Bayoneta? A: At first, it was a creative choice. We wanted to isolate our main character, a Mexican boxer, so we looked for places with very different landscapes, language and architecture from Mexico. The Nordic region fitted that brief. Financially, Finland, and specifically Turku, was the place that made most sense. Q: For producers considering shooting in

Finland what advice would you give them? Seasonal temperatures vary greatly over the four distinct seasons. In winter, temperatures drop to -25c, and are known to reach -50c with arctic winds in the very North. Lapland, the northernmost region has an average of more than 225 days of snow per year, making it a top location choice for guaranteed snow. As you move South, the days of snow decrease to an average of 85 days per year in the southernmost region while areas closer to the West coast have less overall snowfall. Summers average at 25 degrees, but August is also the wettest month of the year.

A: It is actually a great place to film. Locals are very friendly to film crews and most things get done very quickly. In many ways it’s easier to shoot than most places I know. Just make sure to understand the details of how the unions work, schedules, etc and compare it with your original plan. After that, everything flows fine. Q: How was the process of receiving

funding from Film Finland? Conditions change dramatically between seasons and hours of daylight is an important aspect of planning shoots in Finland. For two months during the depth of winter, between November and the start of January, polar nights take place in Lapland. The sun never rises over the horizon and periods of twilight period brings blue, violet and purple hues to the snow. In the summer, meanwhile, the sun never sets over Lapland which experiences a midnight sun. Notably, from February to April, the sunrises and sunsets last a very long time, giving film crews over an hour to catch the perfect lighting conditions and allowing entire scenes to be shot multiple times.


A: We had a great co-production partner in MRP, so we were shielded from any delays in public funding. MRP was always on time regarding cashflow. Q: You shot in Finland during the winter,

how did this affect the shoot? A: Creatively we wanted our film to look as if it was happening in the middle of a heavy winter so production was prepared for that. The Finnish crew was very good at keeping everything working under those conditions. The only challenge that we didn’t overcome was Mexican crew not being used to walking on ice at a pace needed for production, so we kept falling on our butts.

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The transition is less extreme the further South you venture but is still noticeable. In Helsinki, the average hours of daylight during winter dip to six hours, while at the height of summer daylight lasts for 18 hours and 47 minutes.


Eligible costs occurred in Finland can be a maximum of 80% of the total production budget. Business Finland pays out the rebate against actual costs and it covers everything from pre to post-production and above and below the line expenditure. CASH REBATE


Finland offers the fastest route between Europe and Asia. With 27 airports, five of which are international, there are direct flights from many European, American and Asian cities. RECENT pRODUCTIONS

Guillaume Maidatchevsky’s Ailo’s Journey, Timo Vuorensola’s Iron Sky: The Ark, Kyzza Terrazas’s Bayoneta. ATA CARNET



For plenty of snow and winter activities, December to March is the best time to visit Finland but for pleasant summer days opt for June, July and August. TIME zONE


Mediapolis in Tampere, Logomo in Turku, The Light House in Helsinki, Angel Films in Helsinki, Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle in Helsinki and Tampere and Villilä Studios. CONTACT

Finland Film Commission (+358 50) 559 0549 Images: Yellow Film & TV’s Arctic Circle, Iron Sky: e Ark © Annamari Merta, Focus Features’ Hanna.


Experienced crews know how to work in the extreme conditions and the Finnish infrastructure is generally able to cope with the weather. The recent Finnish-German co-produced TV series Arctic Circle (main image) based itself in and around the city of Ivalo, Lapland, in a shoot which lasted from February to mid-April. Producer Jarko Hentula explained that “at its coldest we had -37 degrees Celsius, and then almost none of the location vehicles were able to start. But for the most part we had between -30 to -20 degrees, which was manageable for Finnish crews”. In order to move the large cast of 50 between locations, travel logistics were immense, and production used “numerous connections between Helsinki and several Lapland airports” but Hentula notes that “flights were almost always in time. Only once in 50 days did we have to postpone the shooting because of a delayed flight”. Outside of Lapland, Finland also has the largest archipelago in the world. Colourful old wooden coastal towns such as Rauma and Turku and traditional lighthouses are dotted along the coastline and the islands are home to an array of wildlife. While not often visited by international productions, the islands are a popular destination of Finnish holiday makers, so the islands are accessible, and enough accommodation is available to house cast and crew in the gateway city of Turku.


Lake Kitka, Kuusamo

Kitka spans the regions of Posio, in Lapland, and Kuusamo. Its crystal-clear waters, pebble bottom and rugged fell surroundings make it the perfect landscape for productions wanting to capture the wilderness of Finland. Lake Kitka, referred to in Finnish as Lake Kitkajärvi, sits 240 metres above sea level and spans 290sqkm. The lake freezes over during the winter months which appealed to producers of the 2011 film Hanna. Directed by Joe Wright (above), the action thriller starred Saoirse Ronan as a teenager raised in the Finnish wilderness. It shot a number of scenes on the frozen lake. Filmmakers had to work in extremely cold conditions but Ronan said “it served the narrative’s fairytale elements and the aesthetic perfectly fitted the tone of the film”. Producers also took advantage of the dense pine forests which are blanketed with snow during the winter months, turning the evergreen fells into a glorious frosted blanket. There are production companies in Kussamo that can assist producers with equipment rental and crew all around Lapland.

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Sensory Overload

Shot in 17 different cities and countries across five different continents, Sense8 ranks as one of the most global dramas ever shot. Here producer Alex Boden of Pistachio Pictures reflects on the challenges of working on such a production juggernaut.



Now the series is over, it’s worth reflecting on what complex undertaking Sense8 was. To do so, makers spoke with the UK producer on the series – Alex Boden of Pistachio Pictures:

A Washington Post review summed up the feelings of many fans with the headline: “In praise of Netflix’s Sense8, a refreshingly optimistic show gone too soon.”

How did you and Pistachio Pictures originally get involved in Sense8? Sense8 was both collaborative and complex. Every single crew and cast member had their role to play in making the series that Sense8 became. I had worked with the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer on Cloud Atlas in 2011, so I was thrilled to be invited to join the team for their new adventure in 2014.

018 marked the final chapter of Sense8, one of the most ambitious international dramas of all time. Shot on multiple locations around the globe, the sci-fi series created by J Michael Straczynski and the Wachowski siblings, was not renewed by Netflix after two seasons, only to be brought back for a two and half hour finale in June following a viewer outcry.

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Images: Sense8 © Netflix & Murray Close.

I was a producer on the series, working closely with the US with responsibility for all the international production territories outside the US, including the UK. This involved contracting the local service production companies around the world, from Reykjavik to Rio, Mexico City to Mumbai, along with the local cast, crew and everything else that the show required. And taking care of all filming across the UK, from the London scenes at the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge to the Scottish Highlands. glObal sCalE was EssENTial TO THE ambiTiON OF THE sHOw. EaCH EpisOdE FEaTuREs NOT jusT ONE COuNTRy lOCaTiON buT iNTERCuTs aCROss sEvERal.

The UK also provided UK HOD’s and their teams across departments including Costume (Lindsay Pugh), Hair & Make-up (Alessandro Bertolazzi), Set Dec/Production Design (Peter Walpole) SFX (Gareth Wingrove), Locations (Marco Giacalone) – and many more. From the outset, what was the aim of the series? The core idea in Sense8 is that each of the characters in each of the different cities is connected in a unique way that they – and we – will discover. Global scale was essential to the ambition of the show. The series needed locations and story worlds for each of the characters that were completely different from each other but that would become instantly recognisable. Each episode features not just one country location but intercuts across several, so you recognise immediately when you intercut from Seoul, in South Korea, to Nairobi in Kenya for example. Give us a sense of the scale of the production? Sense8 from its conception was a complicated undertaking – one that is not comparable to any show before. The production filmed 37 units in 17 different cities and countries that spanned five different continents. Production was based in LA, London and in our other home city, Berlin, where we had a major production base. The schedule crafted by our incredible AD team was structured by country, working across the globe and allowing for monsoon season in India, New Year’s Eve in Berlin, Pride parade in Sao Paolo… you get the picture!

Alex Boden of Pistachio Pictures.

How did you set about organising the logistics of a show with such scale and geographic diversity? It was all about collaboration with a capital ‘C’ . As you can imagine, many a schedule and spreadsheet was created over the five years. We shared producer duties across the show, with three of us on season one and then four on season two, together ensuring that the show kept on delivering at every location.

As producer, what were the key challenges of working on Sense8? There was a time on season one that I will never forget – when each time I answered the phone or opened an email, it was regarding a different country in a different time-zone. It is important to understand the differences between the film industry of each country and how each one operates. Even within Europe you have countries that have a completely different approach to filmmaking, different working hours, regulations, financing and legal structures from their neighbours. Our goal was to ensure that everything was prepared so that our team could arrive and start filming, often after just a few days on the ground. How important were tax incentives in the choice of locations? Tax credits play an incredibly important role in any production. We were able to access credits in the UK, France, Iceland, Illinois, Italy, Seoul, South Korea. Many of these were substantial. The UK tax credit application was not possible on season one so it was a great bonus on season two when the expenditure threshold was lowered to 10% of qualifying spend in the UK allowing us to qualify. Ours was certainly one of the most complex ever completed, as our UK filming covered several episodes, so it was great to see the application approved and our payment come through. What lessons have you learned working on such a global production? I really love working with people who think internationally. From Executive Producer Grant Hill, to Producers Roberto Malerba, Terry Needham, Marcus Loges and other colleagues in production including Toby Pease, Loranne Turgeon, as well as Giorgio Catalano the Financial Controller… all are incredibly talented and experienced individuals with brilliant teams, who are able to find solutions wherever they land. Advice? There is so much that we learned during the series. Choose your partners carefully. We had great partners around the world who each rose to the challenges provided by our particular schedule. Choose your crew carefully. You need to have crew who are comfortable with the pressure of being in a new country at least every two weeks, who can think ahead and who stay committed to the end. What are you working on now? I’m working with Netflix again, on a new series called Cursed. It’s a re-imagining of the Arthurian legend, created by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler.


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GEORGIA star potential Radioaktive Film has provided production services in Georgia for almost 10 years. Kseniya Glebko, Head of Bidding, explained that the architecture “stands out with its mixture of old eastern styles, remains of Soviet brutalism and futuristic buildings” noting that “the most interesting are the small towns such as Chiatura, an old mining town with retro cable cars, or the village of Katskhi which has a church on a 40m high rock (main image)”. Recent work by Radioaktive includes Human vs Nature for Moscow-based Hype Production. Set in the wild landscapes of the Caucasus mountains, the spot sums up the scale and intensity of the landscapes.

Georgia’s unique and untapped mix of East and west, ancient and modern, desert and mountains are now even more alluring due to its 20-25% incentive scheme. But these settings won’t be undiscovered for long as more and more productions see Georgia’s potential.

Amazon Prime sci-fi series Marisa Romanov was one of the first North American productions to shoot in Georgia at ancient monasteries not far from Tbilisi. Sky’s international thriller series Bullets meanwhile divided production between Finland, Belgium and Georgia. he introduction of a national incentive programme in 2016 certainly kick-started growth within the Georgian production industry, bringing in work from India, Europe and North America.

The 20-25% rebate is available to feature films, TV series and miniseries and pilots with a local spend of at least USD250,000, while documentaries, animated films, commercials, reality shows and music videos must spend a minimum USD150,000 locally. Qualifying productions automatically receive a refund up to GEL1 million, but higher rebates can be requested. A 2-5% additional “the first rebAte rebate is applied to productions that actively promote Georgia and grAnted wAs for pass the programme’s cultural test.

period indiAn film GAUTAMIPUTRA SATAKARNI which shot lArge-scAle bAttle scenes involving 400 cAst And crew.”

The first rebate granted was for a period Indian film Gautamiputra Satakarni which shot large-scale battle scenes involving 400 cast and crew in Georgia. Since then, an increasing number of independent features have shot there. Rudolph Herzog’s upcoming political satire How to sell a War was co-produced by Tbilisi-based 20 Steps Productions and filmed key scenes in the country. The company also provided the production service for Dede, the Karlovy Vary film festival Jury prize winner.



Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, is a charming and rapidly developing city with a lively arts and cultural scene. To get the best views in town, catch the cable car to the Narikala Fortress which glides over the Mtkvari River and Tblisi’s old town. The fortress itself has been standing over the city since the 4th century when it was a Persian citadel. To sample the best of Georgian food, head to Cafe Littera’s courtyard restaurant which serves seasonal modern cuisine reflecting the Persian, Asian and French influences of national dishes. The more adventurous should explore Svaneti, Georgia’s wild western region, with its picturesque villages, snow-covered peaks and alpine meadows. Defensive stone towers, known as Koshki (pictured above in Mestia), silently stand guard throughout the region. Images: Francesco & Alex Reshnya.

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GERMANY high-end performance

Feature film and high-end TV producers know that Germany can provide highly capable crews and incredible locations within a dependable production infrastructure. Accessing these resources, however, is an investment which makes Germany a more feasible location for well-funded productions.

ermany’s largest cities are all production hotspots and the facilities on offer are first class. Due to the high costs involved, productions that decide to shoot in Germany often do so to add authenticity.

Homeland became the first American series to ever film a full season in Germany in 2014. The fifth season of the espionage drama relocated to Studio Babelsberg to film the twelve episodes that featured the protagonist trying to live a quiet life out of the field in Berlin. Cold war spy thriller Atomic Blonde based its production in cheaper Budapest but undertook a week worth of filming in Berlin to capture key landmarks throughout the city in 2016. Shoots took place at Berlin Cathedral, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and the Forum Hotel in Alexanderplatz. Set just before the fall of the Berlin wall, the city was “in 2014, the so integral to the storyline that the fifth seAson European premiere was held in the of HOMELAND German capital.

becAme the first AmericAn series to ever film A full seAson in germAny.”

Despite the cost, the calibre of locations available is hard to ignore. In 2017, the small town of Gorlitz won the European Film Commissions Network award for Best European Film Location of the Decade, in a tough competition that included locations used for Game of Thrones. Gorlitz is a well preserved historic town thanks to Germany’s strict architectural heritage laws. Wes Anderson’s aesthetically driven feature The Grand Budapest Hotel spent 40 days filming in Gorlitz in 2013. The town has more recently been used as locations for period drama The Young Karl Marx and Alone in Berlin.



You can find everything you’ve never dreamt about in Germany, from museums dedicated to onions, to a building in Dresden that creates music when it rains. A weekend in Berlin is sure to be action packed as you attempt to fit in everything from the historic Brandenburg gate to the open-air East Side Gallery. The segment of the Berlin Wall lined with murals (pictured above) since 1990 is a distillation of the city’s artistic fervor and troubled past. To escape the busy city streets, head to one of the many lakes where locals go to sunbathe and partake in a spot of wild swimming. In Munich, Bavaria, visit one of the many Beer Halls or gardens – if only just to see where Oktoberfest originated and hear some traditional Oom-pah music. If you find yourself near a traditional bakery, head inside to treat yourself to a sweet delicacy such as apple strudel or Black Forest Gateau, an indulgent chocolate cake layered with cherries and cream.

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Berlin Bruisers for Facebook

Q: What was the brief for the commercial? A: This was an ad for Facebook to promote pages on their platform. Facebook can be such an important tool to bring people together, and to create community. They wanted to highlight the positive effects of this on real people’s lives. Q: What locations did you use? A: We shot at two of the Berlin Bruisers homes, in Kreuzberg and Schöneberg and where the Berlin Bruisers actually play. Q: What tips would you give to others

shooting in Germany? A: I would find a local service company that is reputable, like Shotz, who will give you the ins and outs of Berlin production. Having a company that handles the details allows the travelling team to enjoy the process of shooting in Berlin. I would also pack quite warm for December shooting as it’s a bit chilly there during this time. Q: Do you have any future plans to work

in the country? A: At the moment no, but I would 100% recommend filming in Germany. Total professionalism, exceptional crews, and a can-do attitude. Not to mention, a beautiful country to explore and find great locations. Q: Any recommendations of how to enjoy

Berlin in any down time?

Anderson’s multi award-winning feature spotlighted Germany’s production profile in more ways than one. Picturesque locations including the icy peaks of the Alps in Saxon Switzerland and Dresden’s opulent Zwinger palace were used for the visually dynamic feature. Upon release, the production took home the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Production Design. Basing itself at Berlin’s Studio Babelsberg, the studio’s art department constructed sets and miniatures models. Anderson returned to partially film ambitious stop-motion feature Isle of Dogs that also utilised miniatures. The department creates sets for high end commercials, TV dramas and films that choose to shoot at the studio including The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and The Bridge of Spies. Studio Babelsberg extensive facilities and technical capabilities are a top choice for international productions. Established in 1912, the Berlin institution holds the title as the world’s oldest large-scale studio complex and maintains 20 sound stages and backlots including a metropolitan backlot, a historical village, Germany’s largest indoor water tank and a hydraulic aircraft interior set. Located only 50 minutes from the heart of the city it has hosted all types of Hollywood productions. Most recently, Captain America: Civil War and The Girl in The Spider’s Web (main image) made use of their world class technical capabilities and the upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot began production in September that will take place until December. First class equipment is also available to meet the demands of such productions. ARRI’s headquarters are based in Munich and its equipment can be sourced all over the country while VER also have a European base in Frankfurt and MBF provides camera, lighting and grip equipment. There are 16 international airports providing easy access to each state and additional regional airports facilitate domestic and European bound flights. Working in Germany becomes a lot easier when utilising the network of 12 local film commissions. Each region has funding bodies and differing regulation for productions. Expertise provided by commissions and production companies is useful when applying for permits. Certain locations can require more than one permit, and producers should note that certain regions require special permits for shooting on Sundays so local know-how is crucial when planning shoots. Germany is one of the top co-producing countries in Europe, and it operates two federal funding pools. The German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) and the DFFF II, which is aimed towards bigger budget and international features. Feature films, documentaries and animations can apply for grants which are

A: I would trust your service company. In this case it was Shotz. They had amazing restaurant recommendations. The hotel, and the Kreuzberg neighbourhood we stayed in was one of my favourites on the four country project. Very cool, and the happening spot.


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administered on a first come first served basis from the German Federal Film Board (FFA). Applicants must be a registered company in Germany, an EU Member state or an EEA contracting state but a German subsidiary, such as a co-production partner can also make the application. A window of six weeks must be allowed before filming is due to begin and productions must have 50-75% of financing in place.


In 2007, Germany launched the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF). Since then, the DFFF has supported over 520 film productions with grants totalling €296m. TAX REBATE


Germany has sixteen international airports, the main ones are: Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf, Berlin and Hamburg. RECENT pRODUCTIONS

Timo Vuorensola’s Iron Sky: The Coming Race, Susanna Fogel’s The Spy Who Dumped Me, Duncan Jones’s Mute, high-end TV series Bad Banks. ATA CARNET



Late spring or early Autumn are the best times to visit Germany, with its mild weather and fewer crowds, making it easier for production crew. Depending on the content, Winter can also be fantastic – cold and white but also grey and wet. TIME zONE


Studio Babelsberg, near Berlin, the Bavaria Studios in Munich, MMC Studios in Cologne and Studio Hamburg are Germany’s top studio facilities. CONTACT

The German Film Commissions Images: Twentieth Century Fox’s Bridge of Spies, Sony Pictures Ent's e Girl in the Spider’s Web, omas and Kalle Kolodziej.


A 20-25% grant may be obtained depending on the production budget. To access the upper level, a minimum EUR8 million German spend must be met within a total budget of EUR20 million. A maximum of EUR25 million will be allocated to approved projects and applicants must be a production service provider. The 20% grant is open to feature films with total costs of at least EUR1 million, documentary films of EUR200,000 and animated films with a budget of EUR2 million. The incentive has a limited annual fund, but the numerous regional funding bodies also provide extensive grants which can be combined with federal funding. In 2015, The Bavarian Film Fund was instrumental in bringing Rupert Everett’s The Happy Prince to base itself at Munich’s Bavaria Studios. The film shot for 42 days at the studios and was able to access many old castles in the region of Franconia that the production used to double for classical Parisian interiors. The major studios also actively pursue co-productions. MMC studios in Cologne and Babelsberg in Berlin have co-produced international features between them including Billie August’s 55 Steps, The Hunger Games – Mockingjay and Bridge of Spies (pictured left).


Müller'sches Volksbad, Munich. This ornate art nouveau swimming pool (pictured above) can be found in the heart of Munich, on the bank of the Isar River that snakes through the city. Engineer Karl Müller donated it to the city in 1901 on the condition it was available to the poor and it originally operated as a women’s-only pool. Measuring 18m by 11m the pool is small, but swimmers taking a leisurely dip can admire the building’s elegant interior. High rounded archways and painstakingly restored plasterwork cover the hall’s arching dome and an elaborate clock set on the wall allows swimmers to time laps. At one end, a head of a lion carved out of stone jets streams of water into the pool. The wooden changing facilities surround the pool on both levels. Dario Argento’s Suspiria made use of this elegant space for the Germany-set horror film detailing the darkness within a world-renowned dance company. In the film, a discussion about the sinister happenings between heroine Susie and a friend takes place in the recognisable pool.

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focus on gender in film, tv and advertising t’s now been over a year since the MeToo movement took off following allegations of sexual abuse by producer Harvey Weinstein. In its wake has come plenty of soul searching within the creative industries, and a recognition that the widespread lack of gender parity needs to be tackled.

One of the key ways it is being done is through a focus on research – uncovering the extent to which women are held back in film, TV and advertising. This is now being used to inform decision making on how to boost the numbers of women in the industry, particularly at a senior level. Here, makers brings together the latest research across the industries to paint a picture of the work that needs to be done to improve gender parity. MAKERS MAG

Let’s start with the film industry. What does the latest research tell us? That the gender gap has barely changed. The BFI revealed some shocking figures in its recent Filmography of British Film: only 4.5% of all films have been directed by a woman since 1913. It also found that 31% of actors cast in films produced in 1913 were women; in 2017


the proportion was actually lower despite increased public attention, at 30%. It’s not just British films. A report commissioned by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, surveyed the top films made in the last 11 years, and found that just 4% were directed by women. Only one female director – Jane Campion – has ever won the Palme d’Or, the highest award at the Cannes Film Festival. At this year’s event, just 14% of films in the prestigious competition line-up were directed by women. And only one woman has ever won an Oscar for best director, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2009. Figures published this year also show women tend to be paid worse as well. The UK arms of major film studios like Warner Bros, Disney and Sony all have pay gaps of over 20% in favour of men. MAKERS MAG

How about for TV? The figures aren’t good either. Directors UK research found that just 24% of TV episodes on British TV between 2013-16 were directed by women.

They are paid worse too. Channel 4, for example, has a significant gender pay gap, with women earning 23% less than men. The BBC’s pay gap, meanwhile, stands at 10.7%. There are some notable exceptions – Channel 5 reported a gender pay gap of 2.85% in favour of women. MAKERS MAG

And what about advertising? The picture is similarly bad. According to an IPA report this year, there is an equal gender balance across all of its member advertising agencies. However, only 38% of C-suite roles are held by women. IPA research also suggests that 89% of creative directors in the UK are men. This gender bias seems to be having a big effect about what appears on screen. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media published a report this year that analysed more than 2,000 Cannes Lions films from 2006 to 2016 – and found that women consistently accounted for only about one third of all characters in commercials, across all years tested. MAKERS MAG

So what is being done about all this? On the back of plenty of research, new initiatives are being put in

place at many organisations to reduce the gender gap. France is set to launch a state funding bonus for productions in which the director and key crew members are women, as part of a drive to improve gender equality in the French cinema industry. Channel 4, meanwhile, has set a new target of 50:50 gender balance amongst the top 100 earners by 2023. The leaders of the Cannes Film Festival signed a gender equality pledge this year promising to make their selection process more transparent. The UK’s BFI Film Fund now works to a target of a 5:50 gender balance in supported filmmakers. MAKERS MAG

So are things changing? That’s yet to be seen, and will show up in statistics in coming years. However, Geena Davis has said she is “encouraged” that she’s seen more females in lead roles lately. Speaking at a recent panel event organised by her Institute, she said: “We did a study of 100 top family films in 2017 – we found that female leads in family films have doubled between 2014 and 2017. Since these numbers have been stagnant for, like, ever, we’re encouraged to finally see some movement.”



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IRELAND perpetual expansion

Ireland has consolidated its reputation as an international hub for production in recent years. Several high-end TV series alongside profile boosting international features have underpinned the growth of the production infrastructure meaning that Ireland can welcome higher production levels than ever before.

reland’s government has committed to becoming a hub for production in Europe. The Section 481 cash rebate and investment in skills training as well as inward investment in studios and post-production facilities has enhanced the country's production capabilities across the board.

Feature films, TV drama series and singles as well as animation, creative documentaries and postproduction work are covered by the incentive. Productions with budgets upwards of EUR250,000, or whose eligible expenditure surpasses the EUR125,000 mark can apply to receive up to 32% credit on the lower of either 80% of the total cost of production, EUR70 million or all eligible expenditure.

Accessing the rebate is a well-regulated but efficient process. Tax resident producer companies are the only party eligible to apply for the incentives, so partnering with a qualifying local production company is “three studios vital to accessing the credit. offering A Applications can be made at any combined 11 point up until completion, and the sound stAges credit must be paid within 30 days Are locAted of completion and submission of reports. within A one-

hour drive of dublin Airport.”

Notably, post-production and VFX work benefits from the credit, even when physical production did not take place in the country. Dublin based Screen Scene has completed over 1,400 VFX shots for Game of



From mesmerizing UNESCO World Heritage sites, charming villages and hair-raising coastal cliffs, the scenery in Ireland is waiting to be explored. Taking in a panorama from the top of one of the majestic rolling hills really is a breathtaking moment and there are five great peninsulas in the south-west – Dingle, Iveragh, Beara, Sheep's Head and Mizen (pictured above) which stretch miles out into the ocean making you feel like you’re on the edge of the world. The small settlement of Doolin on the west coast is renowned as a centre of Irish traditional music due to its famed music pubs which host sessions weekly. However, in most cities pubs exist where you can hear ballads and ditties telling tales of yore. Bands of accordions, fiddlers and flutes accompany singers who often perform in Irish. In Dublin, head to The Cobblestone whose cosy atmosphere will accommodate you until the nightly sessions kick off at nine.

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Thrones over seven series. Despite none of the physical production taking place in the republic the HBO series received the credit for the work.



The Turning

Q: How was Dublin chosen as a location

for The Turning? A: There were two factors. We were looking for the right estate that encapsulated the mood, look and feel of the film. We had also developed a relationship for some time with local producers and thought this would be a good opportunity to work together. Q: Did the Irish incentive help with

the production? A: Yes. The bottom line is always important and incentives are always a major factor in making our choices.

The post-production, CGI, VFX and animation industry has kept pace with the overall growth of Irish production infrastructure and it has captured the interest of international investment. For instance, Canadian 9 Story Media Group acquired Brown Bag Films in 2015. VFX Association Ireland, a body of top VFX suppliers including Screen Scene and Windmill Lane serves as a scalable framework allowing for larger scale, multi-vendor work to take place. Dublin and its surrounds are the most densely equipped region for productions. Three studios offering a combined 11 sound stages are located within a one-hour drive of Dublin Airport. Showtime’s Penny Dreadful based itself at Ardmore Studios for three full seasons after it originally considered shooting in the UK. The squeeze on production space forced producers to look elsewhere but the production capabilities of Ardmore Studios, the largest of three studios to the south of Dublin was able to offer the production everything it required. The seven-stage studio which includes an underwater tank and post-production facilities onsite more recently hosted BBC’s miniseries Little Women, AMC’s Into the Badlands and feature film The Man Who Invented Christmas (main image). Ashford Studios’ three stages and 500 acres of rural backlot were home to six seasons of Vikings. Kite Studios has one large stage and is home to rental houses Celtic Grips and Teach Solais who offer the most extensive range of grip and lighting equipment available in the country, but smaller rental houses are dotted throughout the country. Easy access to Dublin’s versatile locations is a draw to productions basing themselves at these studios.

Q: What advice would you give to other

producers considering shooting in Ireland? A: Get to know the local crew early on so that you can understand how they would approach your project. In shooting all over the world, I have found it best to find the strengths of the local crews and highlight that for the best results. Q: Do you have any recommendations

for local sights or restaurants to visit? A: I loved living in Dalkey... getting to know the neighbours, the local fish market, even taking a quick plunge in the Irish Sea.

Bharat Nalluri, director of The Man Who Invented Christmas noted that the capital’s “range of settings, architecture and the ease of access to locations was in my experience unparalleled” and allowed the London-set Dickensian feature to carry out necessary location shoots from its base at Ardmore. Most often, Dublin is used to double for Victorian London. Ripper Street, Penny Dreadful and UK/Irish co-production Vita and Virginia all used the city to this end. Over the course of 2018, espionage thriller The Rhythm Section used Dublin to double as modern-day London and over the years some productions have doubled the Irish capital for contemporary New York. AMC’s Quantico filmed at Christchurch Cathedral and Trinity College as well as estates in the surrounding areas of Wicklow and Kildare, exemplifying the ease of access to locations which productions can enjoy.


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While the production infrastructure is strongest around the capital, the regional infrastructure is undergoing constant growth. Troy Studios based in Limerick on the west coast recently announced plans to create a fourth sound stage at the studio, doubling the level of inward production it can handle.


EUR70 million per project cap with minimum spend of EUR125,000. TAX REBATE


Ireland has six international airports – Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock, Donegal and Belfast. RECENT pRODUCTIONS

Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger, David Freyne’s The Cured, Jaume Balagueró’s Muse. ATA CARNET



Ireland has a mild, temperate climate and although at times rainy, you can visit at any time of year. Best, perhaps, are the months of March to May and September to November, as the weather isn't as cold as during the winter months. TIME zONE


Ireland is home to several world-class film studios, boasting state-of-the-art production and post-production facilities and various support infrastructures. Studios include Ardmore Studios, Ashford Studios, Studio Telegael, Troy Studios and Kite Studios. CONTACT

Screen Ireland (353 91) 561 398 Images: e Man Who Invented Christmas, ©Parallel Fims. Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry (Star Wars Locations) ©Tourism Ireland / Kim Leuenberger. UTBP.


Venturing west can offer incredible locations to productions. Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens and Episode VIII – The Last Jedi are some of the biggest productions to do so. In search of otherworldly settings, the big budget production was drawn to the wild landscapes of the Atlantic coast. Skellig Michael’s (pictured left) craggy rocks and ancient beehive huts starred as the First Jedi Temple for the franchise. The rocky island off the south west coast does not lend itself to filming, so a replica set was created on the nearby Dingle Peninsula. Key shots were captured on Skellig, but production relocated to the set to preserve the ancient site. The production made full use of The Wild Atlantic Way, including The Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal where a Millennium Falcon was constructed for scenes on the water covered planet of Ahch-To. Mally Chung, location manager on the film noted that local film offices provided “crucial on-the-ground assistance with access and permits, along with essential local insight, complete with discretion and absolute professionalism". This verdant Irish terrain is the result of a fair amount of rainfall. Rain can fall at any time of year, but the east coast generally experiences less rainfall. The west coast can experience full force storms in the late autumn and winter. Fortunately, the climate is generally temperate throughout the year, and winters are warmer than many places of similar latitudes.


Newbridge Estate, Dublin

The 18th century Newbridge House (above) will provide the goods for any period film. The Georgian house is set in a 360-acre demesne, one of the finest and most complete eighteenth century landscapes in Ireland with meadows of wild flowers, a traditional working farm, castle ruins and a deer park. The house itself was built in 1752 and unusually still contains most of its original furniture. Ornate rococo plasterwork is found throughout the house, and the Red Drawing Room’s finely preserved Georgian interior is home to the best documented 18th century private art collection in the country. Whit Stillman’s Love and Friendship, a feature film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, took advantage of this heritage estate during 2015. The Newbridge estate has been used for a few films and TV series, so managers are experienced and have a film friendly attitude.

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JORDAN war film worthy

In recent years, Jordan has proved itself to be much more than an authentic choice for war productions. Heavy investment and a film friendly government have turned Jordan into the Middle East’s most affordable and straightforward filming destination.

roducers might be hesitant to head to the Arab country, but, despite sharing a border with Syria and Iraq, Jordan remains a stable territory in a turbulent region. Abetted by the Royal Jordan Film Commission, the country has bloomed into a prime Middle Eastern location proving to be popular with Hollywood features.

Jordan’s bounty of archaeological sites, dating from both Roman rule and the medieval crusades, has drawn in some documentary production and TV work, but most feature films head to Jordan for its desert landscapes. Netflix recently based their first ever Arabic language scripted original, Jinn, here. The teen-skewed fantasy drama is a retelling of traditional Middle Eastern folklore which filmed in the ancient stone city of Petra, the capital Amman and the Wadi Rum desert over a period of ten weeks.

“jordAn hAs introduced A 10-20% cAsh rebAte on expenses in the country on All types of productions including commerciAls, gAme development And AnimAtion.”

The bulk of feature production, however, has consisted of location dependent war-films or sci-fi epics. Since the Iraq war, Hollywood war films have relied on Jordanian locations, mainly because of the relative authenticity the country can provide. Not only is it as close geographically to Iraq as big productions can realistically get, but the capital city of Amman has similar architecture to Baghdad. Moreover, many Iraqi expatriates have settled in the city, making credible casting options available.




Established under the rule of Alexander the great, As-Salt was once the most important settlement between the Jordan Valley and the Eastern Desert. Wealthy merchants built a range of impressive buildings (pictured above), many of which still stand today. Yellow sandstone edifices exhibit both local and European influences. Perhaps the most impressive is the Abu Jaber mansion. Built over a 14 year period between 1892 and 1906, the mansion has a domed roof, an inner courtyard, tall arched windows and lofty frescoed ceilings painted by Italian artisans. Elsewhere in the town, Roman tombs and a small fortress can be found. Paramount’s 2009 action adventure film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen doubled this small city, thirty minutes from Amman, for a nondescript Egyptian town. Revenge of the Fallen also utilised the ancient city of Petra. The abandoned ancient city often tops lists of world architectural sites and has appeared in countless films including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

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highlighting jordAn’s AscendAnce As A production hub is disney’s decision to bAse the live Action remAke of ALADDIN in the wAdi rum desert.


Jordanian hospitality is a custom which dates back thousands of years so visitors are sure to be well looked after here. The major attractions are the well-preserved ancient sites scattered around the country. The ruined city of Jerash, in the north-west (pictured below), dates from when the region was under the rule of Roman emperors. A grand ceremonial gate guards the city’s well preserved colonnaded avenues, temples and theatres. Alternatively, by taking a trip down the King’s Highway, through Jordan’s central highlands, you will come across biblical sites, crusader castles and Roman mosaics. Amman, Jordan’s capital is full of ancient ruins squeezed in amongst the hubbub of mosques, souqs and coffeehouses which are central to Jordanian life. Coffeehouses proliferate, and their strong, bitter cups infused with cardamom are perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up. For traditional food, head down to Sufra on Amman’s Rainbow street, where mezzes and daily specials are served on a delightful terrace.

Katherine Bigelow's 2008 film The Hurt Locker was the first to do so. The production infrastructure has expanded so rapidly since that there is now enough depth of crew in the country to service an entire feature. For example, 2017's Sand Castle (main image), which saw Nicholas Hoult and Henry Cavill as US military personnel protecting a village under attack, shot entirely in Jordan. Recently, as infrastructure has developed, a more diversified mix of productions coming to Jordan signals the fact that the country is able to contend with comparable production hubs in Morocco, Malta and Saudi Arabia. Highlighting Jordan’s ascendance as a production hub is Disney’s decision to base the live action remake of Aladdin in the Jordanian desert this summer, where designers built a set of the fictional city of Agrabah. In the past, Moroccan or Saudi Arabian desert-scapes would have been top choices for the fantasy film. Ridley Scott is also a frequent visitor, having conducted shoots for Prometheus, Exodus, The Martian and All the Money in the World (pictured right) in Jordan. The Martian filmed in the desert dunes of the Wadi Rum in Southern Jordan. The desert’s red tinged sand doubled for Mars effectively and the eerie rock formations mimicked the cratered surface. This is not the first time the desert has stood in for Mars as both Warner Brothers’ The Red Planet and Disney’s Mission to Mars saw potential in the desert’s vast expanse. This year, Jordan has introduced a 10-20% cash rebate on expenses for productions including commercials, game development and animation. 20% of a production’s total budget should be spent in Jordan and 50 Jordanian crew members as well as 20 Jordanian interns should be employed. The maximum rebate given is JOD1 million. The incentive makes the already comparatively inexpensive cost of working in the country even more budget-friendly. The commission is supportive of most productions and permits are generally free of charge. Productions must submit applications in advance and the time frame for approval varies between two days and four weeks. Permits for historical sites take a week and for parks, schools and stations expect a two week wait. More sensitive filming locations, including border locations, refugee camps and military base camps where military productions may capture more sensitive footage can take up to four weeks to process. Aided by the commission access to these locations is possible. Jon Stewart’s Rosewater, about a journalist who is detained by Iranian forces, filmed at the Zizia Refugee Camp.


The cash rebate comes in addition to the tax exemption system, provided all requirements are met. The production should spend at least 20% of its total budget in Jordan and employ at least 50 Jordanian crew members, and train 20 Jordanian interns. The maximum rebate granted to any foreign production is 1 million Jordanian dinars (approx. 1,43 million US dollars). TAX REBATE


Queen Alia International Airport, about 35km south of Amman, is the country’s main entrance point. The only other international airport is at Aqaba. They have direct flights to most major cities in Europe and all Middle Eastern capitals. If you’re travelling from the US, expect a stopover. RECENT pRODUCTIONS

Emmanuel Hamon’s In the Mouth of a Shark, Guy Ritchie’s live version of Aladdin, TV series Strike Back. ATA CARNET



Jordan has a hot, dry climate characterized by long, dry summers and short, mild winters. Spring (April to June) and Autumn (September to November) provide warm temperatures. SOUND STAGES

There are several hangars around the country that may be converted into sound stages. CONTACTS

The Royal Film Commission Jordan (962 6) 464 2266 / Images: Sand Castle © Nick Wall & Netflix. All the Money in the World © 2017 All e Money US, LLC. Fedev Photo & Dario Bajurin.


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pulse Films has carved out a name for itself with award-winning work in multiple sectors – film, TV, commercials and music videos. But how does the company manage to juggle filmmaking across so many disciplines? pulse Films’ Davud Karbassioun explains.

PROFILE Pulse Films ack in 2005, Pulse Films was launched as a multi-disciplinary studio – producing across film and TV, music videos and commercials.

It was an unusual offer at the time, as most production companies specialised in creating content for one industry. It seems have worked for Pulse though, as recent credits like feature doc Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records (pictured left) and Andrea Arnold’s American Honey (pictured below) prove. In TV, Pulse is now shooting Gangs of London for Sky Atlantic and HBO, while its commercials division has developed branded entertainment projects for Fox and Fifa, and in music videos it was named production company of the year at the MVAs.


14 years since launch, Pulse Films is still one of the only studios of its kind, says global president of commercials and branded content, Davud Karbassioun. Many of its competitors, he adds, are looking more closely at its multi-disciplinary model. It certainly caught the attention of Vice Media, which took a majority stake in Pulse Films in 2016.




Ultimately, Karbassioun says that Pulse is defined by the filmmakers it works with – and in the last year high profile names have joined including Bafta winner Amma Asante , Yann Mounir Demange, Brady Corbert and Oscar winning director James Marsh. wHAT IS THE MARKET LIKE FOR pULSE FILMS?

“There is an increasingly broad spectrum of opportunities for audiences and thus for filmmakers now… Old Hollywood is crumbling and a new generation of filmmakers are stepping forward to take control of their own destiny in storytelling. That is where the opportunity for Pulse Films is.”

“TV is seeing the biggest growth. But to us authenticity seems to be the most important theme – one that echoes across both advertising and entertainment. Audiences are far more sophisticated and want to be rewarded. Their time is precious.”



Karbassioun adds: “It’s a big commitment and investment to work in this way. Not a lot of companies provide a wide infrastructure like ours for a reason.”




“This happens very naturally… if a brand or artist comes to our Commercial or Music Video division but the creative team or director feels the proposition would be better shaped as an Entertainment piece – that can happen organically here.”


Says Karbassioun: “As audiences evolve, new technologies and platforms emerge, it’s essential that creators evolve too. This means not only being adaptive, but also working more collaboratively with creators, producers and filmmakers from across all disciplines.” Each of Pulse’s divisions – Film & TV, Music Videos and Commercials – are led by specialists in each genre. The teams work in silos but come together on projects that require cross division collaboration.

“We are seeing a lot of traction for our multidisciplinary model with advertisers seeking a more engagement led communication strategy. The age of interruption is dead. Brands know that and as the old studio model starts to look tired they are leaning in to curate and create at the very highest level.” TELL US ABOUT pULSE’S STYLE?

“Everyone at Pulse Films is united by a singular passion for creativity and craft in film. We aim to tell human stories and to create moments of culture throughout everything we do, that’s how we define our style.”

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LITHUANIA emerging talent

Lithuania is considered a fantastic base for period pieces due to an array of historical neighbourhoods and a film friendly attitude. An ever-increasing number of productions have arrived since the implementation of the tax incentive scheme, which is being increased further in 2019.

ossibilities for outdoor shooting in Lithuania are endless. Productions can make use of over 22,000 rivers and 3000 lakes, coastal areas on the Baltic sea, four UNESCO world heritage sites and five national parks containing both dense forests and open marshlands. The capital Vilnius has a historic medieval old town as well as Baroque facades and Renaissance architecture.

As such, Lithuania holds favour as a location for period pieces. Vilnius, the capital and centre of production, has hosted multiple productions focusing on Russian history and culture such as Sky and HBO’s Catherine the Great which is currently shooting in Russia, Latvia and Lithuania. The four-part mini-series stars Helen Mirren as Catherine, who served as Empress of Russia between 1762 and 1796. “stArting from Productions are drawn to the many 2019, up to 30% corners of Vilnius which retain a of budgets cAn historic authenticity that Russian neighbourhoods are too modernibe sAved through sed to provide.

the country’s incentive scheme.”

The BBC’s high-end miniseries War and Peace based itself in Vilnius for around nine months in 2015. Over six months of principal photography, the large production dressed streets transforming them into Napoleonic Russia, shot battle scenes in nearby farmland and rural portions at an outdoor Lithuanian Folk Museum an hour away from the city base. Producer Darin McCleod notes that “what is great about Vilnius is that everything is a walkable distance”, accommodation, the studio and city locations are all close by in the small capital. While historic parts are available, McCleod notes that “Lithuania was lacking well preserved palaces to



Open-Air Museum of Lithuania, Rumsiskes An hour’s drive from Vilnius lies the small town of Rumsiskes on the shores of Kaunas Lagoon. The town’s Open-Air Museum depicts the Lithuanian way of life from the late 1700s until 1950s. Authentic houses are furnished with household appliances, craft, trade and machinery and there is even a manor house dating back to the 1700s. At the heart of the museum is a town complete with a market square (pictured above), a church, and an inn. If you time your visit right you might encounter a traditional festivity the museum stages such as rye harvesting, Christmas tree stump-burning or the Shrovetide festival when locals traditionally dress up as devils, witches and goats before Lent. Productions that have made use of the perfectly preserved buildings include 2018’s Winter Thaw, a period film about a Russian shoemaker, and BBC’s mini-series adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War & Peace.

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capture the authentic interiors and exteriors”. For these, the production travelled both to St Petersburg “for its massive scale” and to Latvia’s Rundale Palace which is three hours from Vilnius across the border.


Starting from 2019, up to 30% of budgets can be saved through the country’s incentive scheme. TAX REBATE


Lithuania has three international airports of which Vilnius International Airport is the largest. The national bus network is extensive, linking all the major cities and smaller towns. RECENT pRODUCTIONS

Guy Moshe’s 001LithiumX, US TV series Better Late Than Never, TV series Conspiracy of Silence, Netflix series The Last Tsars. ATA CARNET



Lithuania is at its best in high summer, from June to August, when the days are long, the nights are short, however autumn can also be ideal, with sunny days and chilly nights. SOUND STAGES

Vilnius Film Cluster boasts the biggest sound stage and green screen in the Baltics and is very close to the international airport. CONTACT

Lithuanian Film Centre (370 5) 213 0547 /

Images: Castle Pictures’ Pope vs Hitler, Julius Kielaitis, Artur Bociarski and K Rivini.


In terms of crew, McCleod commented that in 2015 Lithaunia's talent pool was "only deep enough to support one large production, a main unit and a second unit. For anything more than that we had to bring people in". Since then a growing number of productions have been encouraged to shoot in Lithuania which should have seen an expansion of the talent pool. This growth will continue when the incentive is increased in 2019. Starting from 2019, up to 30% of budgets can be saved through the country’s incentive scheme. The process requires feature films, TV dramas, documentaries and animated films to cooperate with a local production service company who will handle the application. To qualify, at least 80% of eligible film production costs must be incurred in Lithuania. Local spend must exceed EUR43,000 over a minimum of three days shooting. The Vilnius Film Cluster has a range of film, TV production and rental services in its complex. The Baltics’ largest sound stage can be found here measuring 1100sqm, as well as first-rate green screens. Post-production house Madstone is based in the cluster and has provided VFX design and post-production on feature films including Castle Pictures’ Pope vs Hitler (pictured above). Basic equipment is readily available in Lithuania, but for more specialist equipment arrange delivery from one of the nearby European production hubs. From Germany or the Czech Republic this should take around two days. As the most southern of the Baltic states, Lithuania borders Eastern Europe and is only a short hop to Russia, so productions can easily traverse the regions. European advertising producers like to use the easy-to-reach adaptable locations and various sizes of studio spaces available. Production services companies such as Dansu have worked on spots for Ikea, McVities and European brands including Reaal and SEB. Weather is changeable at any point of the year. December to April see the least rain, and snow lays on the ground until the spring. The interior has slightly more extreme weather, with temperatures varying between -2 in the winter and 23 in the summer. Don’t expect a lot of sunlight in the winter, but summer months average at eight hours of sunlight a day.

the vilnius film cluster hAs A rAnge of film, tv production And rentAl services in its complex. the bAltics’ lArgest sound stAge cAn be found here meAsuring 1100sqm, As well As first-rAte green screens.


Lithuania is known for its charming and bright baroque houses, inviting alleyways and colourful churches built around quiet courtyards. Behind the classical facades of Vilnius you’ll find bustling bars, contemporary restaurants and designer boutiques. There is also an array of unusual castles including the Gothic Island Castle on Lake Galve (main mage). In north-west Lithuania you’ll find the city of Siauliai whose remarkable Hill of Crosses (pictured below) has been a destination for pilgrims since the 1830s. The national dish of Cepelinai, colloquially known as Zeppelin, is big potato dumplings stuffed with meat or curd cheese served with sour cream and crispy chunks of bacon.

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In search of Gen Z


Generation Z is now displacing Millenials as a key focus for brands and content creators. Aged between 12-24 and digitally native, Gen Zs have a short attention span – leading many to argue that producing short form content is the best way to reach them. But is that necessarily correct? makers finds out.



irst it was the Baby Boomers. Then came Generation X, followed by the Millenials. And now it is Generation Z.

Shorthand for the generation born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, Gen Zs are aged between 12-24. With the Millenials starting to settle down and have families, Gen Z has become a major focus for marketers, brands, content creators and tech firms.

All of them are grappling with the different viewing habits of a generation that is digitally native, and for whom life without the internet, streaming and mobile devices seems unthinkable. Gen Zs, for example, watch significantly more via video on demand platforms like Netflix and YouTube, over a wider range of devices ( just 30% of their viewing is on the main TV set) than even those aged 25-34, according to SMPTE research. Snapchat and Instagram are their key social media platforms, far ahead of Facebook.

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Research also shows that Gen Zs have a shorter attention span – of eight seconds – for a subject to grab their interest otherwise they will move on to the next thing (compared to 12 seconds for a Millenial). In other words, their minds have developed to be able to process information at a much quicker pace than older generations. Bombarded with messages and content, they have learned to quickly detect whether or not something is relevant to them.

i Call gEN Zs THE gENERaTiON OF HOpE – THEy aRE glObal CiTiZENs. THEy dON’T THiNk abOuT bORdERs, aNd THEy waNT TO CHaNgE THE sTaTus quO.”

Their interests also differ from their older counterparts. “I call Gen Zs the generation of hope – they are global citizens. They don’t think about borders, and they want to change the status quo. They really want to make a difference so they are asking media companies and brands to tell them how they can have an impact – they are real change makers in that sense,” says Jette Nygaard-Andersen, EVP and CEO of MTGx Digital Video Content, whose digital ventures include Amsterdam-based Zoomin.TV which generates 3.2 billion views a month for its video content. She says Gen Zs care about important topics – the environment, healthy living and humanitarian issues. “They are not the Kardashian generation – they want information.” Topics such as sustainability are very important, confirms Will Pyne, Chief Creative Officer of social video company Brave Bison. But it is important to approach the subject in a way that Gen Zs can relate to: “They are much more likely to be in interested in something that talks about sustainable fashion – so fashion is your lead, sustainability is the secondary part of it.” A recent Brave Bison film on sustainable vegan cooking was titled ‘Vegan Cook Off ’; challenge based videos are hugely popular on YouTube, says Pyne. The particular viewing habits and interests of Gen Z are affecting the kind of content that leading brands, broadcasters and platforms are now producing. But it’s not simply about making ‘shorter’ content for an age group with fast attention spans, insist producers. For a start, it depends on what platform they are watching on, says Pyne. Gen Zs might scroll speedily through Snapchat or Instagram, but they are perfectly happy to sit back and watch longer form


content. “If you put the right kind of content on YouTube for younger audiences, they will watch it all day,” he says. Pyne cites Brave Bison’s Slash Football channel, which focuses on the grass roots game with gritty, doc style films and has had over 38 million video views. Initially, Brave Bison produced five to eight minute films for Slash “whether you Are Football. “All we heard back from the audience creAting originAl is that we want longer stories or working episodes. It goes to show with brAnds, you that you can’t assume simply need to mAke that you have got to sure you deliver make it short in order to your messAge make it watchable or within the first successful. If you make ten seconds.” content they love, they will watch it for hours.” It’s crucial, however, that videos for younger audiences ‘get to the point a lot quicker’, says Pyne. “It’s very different to the typical film and TV narrative arc, or even some advertising. We get to the point of the video in the first few seconds. But then you can take a little bit of time… it doesn’t all have to be sewn up in a two minute video.” This is a point also made by Nygaard-Anderson. Zoomin.TV, she says, uses a global network of 3,500 video journalists to create 400 pieces of content a day. Some of these are what Nygaard-Anderson calls ‘ultra-shorts’ – videos below ten seconds in length, often overlaid with text as they are watched with the sound off on platforms like Snapchat. But traditional short videos which run to a couple of minutes have to catch Gen Z’s attention quickly. “It’s super important. Whether you are creating original stories or working with brands, you simply need to make sure you deliver your message within the first ten seconds.”



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So it’s the speed of engagement, rather than the length of content that is crucial for Gen Z audiences – which goes against assumptions that they only have an attention span for ultra short form content. Indeed, Pyne worries about content producers “making broad sweeping generalisations” and stereotyping the behaviour of Gen Zs, who are far more diverse and complex in their habits than first meets the eye. Research backs him up: SMPTE found that Gen Z is not eschewing traditional media forms entirely – for example, those aged 14-24 are just as likely to attend the cinema as they were 15 years ago.

gEN Z is NOT EsCHEwiNg TRadiTiONal mEdia FORms ENTiREly – THOsE agEd 14-24 aRE jusT as likEly TO aTTENd THE CiNEma as THEy wERE 15 yEaRs agO.

It’s a point echoed by Sam Barcroft, the CEO of digital content specialists Barcroft Media, who says that producers should be careful about obsessing which generation they are making content for. “Great stories and brands resonate through multiple generations.” Barcroft’s eponymous online channel Barcroft TV has had over four billion views on YouTube alone, and delivers content ranging from 2-3 minute shorts, through to 8-15 minute documentaries. But some play out over an hour. “The flexibility of the new platforms means that you can really play with form and length,” says Barcroft. It’s the kind of content that Gen Zs like, rather than its length, that strikes Barcroft most. With so much content freely available, viewers “self-curate” more, choosing content they are specifically interested in. “As a creator, you do evolve into a niche quite quickly,” says Barcroft. “Kids, for example, might really like BMX biking and want to watch that all day. Or they might really love track cycling. You have to be more specific now.” MTG follows a similar strategy when targeting Generation Z audiences. MTG, says, NygaardAndersen, takes a ‘vertical focus’. “We go deep into content. That is the way we invest – we try to find verticals where we can invest in deep content.” Gen Z audiences, she says, consume content and videos on topics that interest them. “If you want to increase your engagement with them, then you go deep.” Monetising such content, however, remains a challenge with a generation which has grown up used to watching content for free on YouTube. Take, for example, Barcroft series Ridiculous Rides, a car show for the Fast and Furious generation, which plays on YouTube, Facebook Watch and Shapchat. Barcroft shares in the ad revenue played


Images: Iryna, Yanukit & Kerkezz.




around Ridiculous Rides on these platforms. The company has also turned it into a TV show which is sold around the world through ITV Global Entertainment. Content from the show is licensed to news sites as well. “It’s very difficult to develop consumer brands without having multiple income streams,” says Barcroft. “It is unlikely you will get the return on investment if it is just for YouTube.” It’s for this reason that so many ventures based around short form content have struggled to take off. Vivendi recently announced the closure of its Studio+ mobile focused short form platform in France two years after launch. The same fate also befell Verizon’s own mobile video bet, Go90. They join a lengthy list of failed enterprises in the short form space that include Seeso, Fullscreen and Watchable. The problem for all of them lay in effective monetisation. Which raises plenty of question marks about a raft of recent short form initiatives that will be targeting the mobile friendly Gen Z. Amazon, Hulu and Netflix have all added short-form programming to their video platforms. Facebook and YouTube continue to invest in highly produced original series. Snapchat has officially entered the fold with its Snap Originals slate of scripted and documentary series. The most high profile “you don’t hAve to move into the short form mAke it short to market is former Walt mAke it wAtchAble Disney Studios chairman or successful. if Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new you mAke content short form video venture, they love, they will Quibi (a combination of wAtch it for hours.” the words ‘quick’ and ‘bite’), which has just raised $1 billion to invest in content. Katzenberg’s service will be available by subscription and will target viewers looking for quick-hit fare. The productions will have high production values, distinguishing them from the majority of video shorts that gain traction on YouTube. So far Katzenberg has struck deals with the likes of Oscar winning director Guillermo del Toro and Training Day director Antoine Fuqua. Is this the next logical turn of the wheel in terms of the content that Gen Z’s want – a mobile friendly service offering the production values of a Netflix or HBO, but at a fraction of the length? Time will tell whether Gen Zs – or indeed any generation – are prepared to put their hands in their pocket to pay for it.

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MEXICO rich character Elsewhere, the industry continues to expand. Scenes for the third and fourth season of Netflix’s Narcos were shot throughout Mexico and most recently, the company announced production of it’s upcoming scripted series Historia De Un Crimen, focusing on the assassination of Mexican politician Luis Donaldo Colosio, is underway in Mexico City. There is an abundance of high-end advertising work produced here, which maintains Mexico’s sizeable crew base. Nike’s Juntas Imparables captures the vivid and frenetic character of the country which sees a crowded Mexico city transformed into an obstacle course with the power of Nike running shoes.

Mexico’s status may have waned in recent years, but its depth of crew and facilities has made the country a vital player in the emergence of Latin American cinema and a growing international production hub.

International productions can access the VAT 0% incentive, which amounts to a 16% rebate for all goods and services for productions set for theatrical release or TV broadcast, and there are more funds available to co-productions. he cultural diversity enduring in the traditions, people and architecture of Mexico has drawn productions such as James Bond’s Spectre. The 2015 film set the opening sequence at a traditional day of the dead carnival and sparked increased interest in working here. Most recently, Godzilla: King of the Monsters filmed in the capital demonstrating Mexico’s increasing lure to big budget productions.

Despite continued security concerns recent productions have successfully filmed in northern states. Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare, for example, filmed in Tijuana and Rosarito in Baja California while Comprame un Revolver “bAjA studios, filmed in Sonora.

originAlly built by fox for jAmes cAmeron’s TITANIC, is less thAn A dAy’s drive from los Angeles.”

Baja Studios in Rosarito, originally built by Fox for James Cameron’s Titanic, is less than a day’s drive from Los Angeles. Thus, the savings incurred by employing Mexican crew and the studio’s facilities which include five sound stages and four water tanks, meant that Pearl Harbour and Peter Weir’s Master and Commander based themselves here. The studio has also hosted three series of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead (main image).



Mexico has some great archaeological sites such as the Mayan city of Palenque (pictured above). Located in the state of Chiapas, the city has some of the best carvings and sculptures produced by the Mayans. You can also see Frida Kahlo’s celebrated work in the country that inspired her unique art. In the capital, a visit to the floating Gardens of Xochimilco is an unmissable experience. Colourful canal boats and mariachi bands float through one of Mexico City’s oldest districts. For a taste of real Mexico in the capital check out Pujol. The restaurant was named by Wall Street Journal as the best in Mexico City and serves dishes including octopus with habanero ink and a novel take on the traditional mole sauce. Images: Fear the Walkng Dead © Richard Foreman /AMC. Prill Mediendesign.

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NEPAL mythic locations m There are also numerous isolated mountain villages and communities reachable by road. The third series of BBC’s military drama Our Girl shot in the province of Dolakha. Here, a remote village was used to film key exterior scenes for a plot line covering the serious earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015. To reach mountain communities, schedule shooting accordingly. Over winter snow makes the roads impassable as can the heavy rains during the monsoon season. The best time to shoot here would be from March to May or September to December.

Nepal’s incredible landscapes and ancient sacred sites are practically impossible to double elsewhere. Big feature films and commercial productions alike have been drawn to the country’s treasure trove of enigmatic locations.

All international productions must obtain a shooting permit from the Ministry of Information and Communications. Allow at least fourteen working days for authorities to clear scripts for fictional projects. The easiest way to shoot in the country is by using a Nepali coordinator company which can then negotiate the specific location permits. ew countries in the world can deliver what Nepal does making it difficult to double. Marvel’s Doctor Strange ventured to the capital Kathmandu (main image) for a week-long shoot purely because the ancient temples couldn’t be faked in a studio. The movie filmed at various sites including pan shots of the Swayambhunath Monkey Temple above Kathmandu, where colourful flags criss-cross temple roofs and monkeys clamber over the Buddhist and Hindu carvings. Durbar Square, in the city’s Royal Palace and Pashupatinath Temple on the banks of the Bagmati River were used for large scenes requiring three hundred extras, dogs and cows.

“the himAlAyAs in the north Are drAmAtic And immense but Accessible.”

Outside of the urban centres, Nepal has an impressive topographic range. In the southern Terai region, a tropical climate exists where jungles and tigers thrive.

The Himalayas in the north are dramatic and immense but accessible, due to the popularity of trekking. In 2015 blockbuster Everest filmed at Everest base camp, where production was faced with harsh conditions. It is advisable to hire local sherpas and mountain guides for shoots in the mountains.



Sandwiched between China and India, Nepal is one of the most fascinating countries in Asia. Some of the Himalaya’s most iconic and accessible hiking is on offer here with rugged trails leading to Mount Everest or through the Annapurna range. Strolling through the backstreets of Kathmandu you will come across hidden temples overflowing with marigolds, courtyards full of drying chillies and rice, and tradesmen's tiny workshops. The Kumari Bahal, a three-story building with ornately carved wooden balconies is the residence of Kumari, the town's living goddess. Restaurants in the converted Rana-era palaces serve typical Nepali food such as dal bhat, made from rice and lentils or kukhura ko ledo, a rich dish of chicken and gravy. Images: Dr Strange © Marvel Studios & Walt Disney Pictures. Ivan Kmit.

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Advertisers need to be their own advertising brain Steve Davies (right) is the Chief Executive of the Advertising Producers Association (APA), responsible for setting the APA’s strategy and representing the interests of its producer members. A lawyer by background, he also advises on contracts, copyright and production issues. Steve is a member of the APA Council, on the board of the Advertising Association, is Vice President of the European federation of commercials producers, the CFPE, as well as one of the founders of the World Producers Summit.


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THE TRadiTiONal busiNEss mOdEl OF THE ad iNdusTRy is bREakiNg dOwN, wiTH sOmE advERTisERs aNd agENCiEs busy TakiNg pROduCTiON iN HOusE, aNd pROduCERs OFFERiNg TO wORk diRECT FOR CliENTs. buT, iN aN iNCREasiNgly FRagmENTEd maRkETiNg wORld, is THis REally HOw TO aCHiEvE THE bEsT wORk aT THE bEsT pRiCE?

e know we have moved on from the simple world where advertisers made products or sold services, agencies created their marketing, and production companies made their films.


So for ‘Always on Marketing’, having the brand and the content producers in close physical proximity becomes the imperative. Agencies may seek that work for their own in house teams but they are still one step removed.

For advertisers, the new fragmented marketing world presents a host of possibilities – but for many the reality is a world of confusion.

It makes more sense for the advertisers to do that themselves.

Now a plethora of new opportunities and models exist, particularly in advertising areas enabled by creative technology like mobile and digital. So advertisers can have their own in house agency and in house production, while agencies can offer in house production, and production companies offer to work direct for clients. Some advertising agencies have reacted to the threats to their margins and model by going after production. That might be the right choice for them but is it right for the advertiser? We very often think that it isn’t, because the advertiser will get better work at a better price by getting three production companies to fight for the work rather than a monopoly supplier. So does that mean that the traditional model – advertiser appoints agency, agency engages an independent production company – is still the answer for getting the best work at the best price? Inevitably it is not as simple as that. That remains the case for advertising as we think of it – a communication that seeks to achieve the maximum impact and relevance in furtherance of the advertiser’s objective. But there is also ‘Always on Marketing’ now. That is presenting the advertiser in fast moving media: on the internet, on phones, on Instagram, Facebook, Snap and their ilk. Brands need a constant presence in these media with advertising which may be offer or time or geographically determined. Something may happen that morning which means content needs to be on Facebook by lunchtime. There is simply no time to brief out, compare bids, manage partners/suppliers, create and publish it.

What is critical for advertisers now is to make the right choice as to who is best to create a particular piece of advertising for them. That has a cost too – they need expertise in house to make those choices that they simply didn't need in the past. Then, if they decide they are going to do some work themselves, they need to expand their own capability and thus their own direct costs to do that. I would suggest Sky as “for Advertisers, a good model of the new advertising management. frAgmented For some work, where mArketing world Sky needs maximum creative impact, they use presents A host of a creative agency and an possibilities – but expert director and for mAny the production company: reAlity is A world like the brilliant Take of confusion.” Your Seat film for the start of the new football season, from Adam and Eve DDB and Rogue. For other work they will use their own internal agency, Sky Creative (which has 270 staff ), for some work they will engage an independent production company direct and for some work – and particularly ‘Always on Work’ – they will use their own production facilities. Advertisers can make decisions as to whether to do creative and production externally. There is no one right answer – it depends on the medium, the content and the objectives of the communication in question - but the common thread is that advertisers have to have an advertising brain in house now, to make those decisions, rather than relying on an agency to do it for them.


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king of cool

The Netherlands is certainly not lacking when it comes to creativity. with a domestic powerhouse spanning film, commercial and TV, the small country has cultivated a film friendly attitude which applies from development through to post-production.

nnovation and creativity exude from the Netherlands. Its domestic industry is consistently strong and the number of international productions shooting there has grown steadily over the last five years.

International TV conglomerates Endemol and Talpa Media both have their headquarters in Amsterdam, the country’s cultural capital. Endemol owns global formats including Big Brother while Talpa Media holds the rights to formats The Voice and Dating in the Dark which have been licensed to 67 and 25 countries respectively.

Historically, neighbouring countries have been more financially attractive than the Netherlands. However, since the introduction of a competitive rebate, international productions have become increasingly interested in the cultural clout of the small country. Feature length films, animations “since the and documentaries can access a introduction 35% cash rebate, while high-end TV is eligible for up to 30%.

of A competitive rebAte, internAtionAl productions hAve become increAsingly interested in the culturAl clout of the smAll country. ”

Action blockbusters such as The Hitman’s Bodyguard (main image), The Spy Who Dumped Me, Ocean’s Twelve and BBC America’s miniseries Killing Eve have all capitalised on Amsterdam’s reputation as the edgy international playground for fun and debauchery, some of which were supported by the incentive. 2017 action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard tested the nation’s credo as a film friendly destination to the max when the film’s biggest and boldest action



Magere Brug, Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s wooden Magere Brug crosses the river Amstel in the historic district of the city. At night, the charming Brug is illuminated with lights (picturd above). Translating as Skinny Bridge, the tourist attraction was once so narrow that it was hard for two pedestrians to pass each other. Local legend dictates that the bridge was named after the ‘skinny sisters’ who built the bridge to make visiting each other over the river easier. To cope with increasing traffic the original was replaced with a wider version in 1871. Many productions have used this bridge as a filming location, including James Bond’s Diamonds Are Forever. The 1971 action film starring Sean Connery has a notable scene where a dead body is pulled from the water at Magere Brug. In principal, shooting in Amsterdam does not require a permit, however, it is best to notify the appropriate city district before carrying out filming.

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sequences were filmed on Amsterdam’s streets and canals. Stunt intensive sequences involving car chases, motorcycle pursuits and pyrotechnics were facilitated on Amsterdam’s busy streets. The production was also granted access to film motorboats speeding through the cities usually peaceful canals. The film was supported with EUR893,000 from the Netherlands Film Fund, and local crew were more than able to keep pace with the film’s high-intensity shoot.


35% cash rebate for film, animation and documentaries. 30% for high-end TV. Amounts are determined by eligible production costs and applications must be made by a Dutch production company. CASH REBATE

30-35% TRAVEL

Amsterdam's huge and highly efficient Schiphol International Airport is the country's main air-travel hub, with flights to and from cities all over the world. Rotterdam, The Hague Airport, Eindhoven Airport, Maastricht Aachen Airport and Groningen Airport are connected to 40 European countries. Trains: 3hrs from Paris and 3hrs from London. ATA CARNET



TV series Sense8, Cathy Garcia-Molina’s The Hows Of Us, John Crowley’s The Goldfinch. BEST TIME TO SHOOOT

The best climate in the Netherlands is from mid-April to mid-October while July and August are the peak tourist months. SOUND STAGES

Amsterdam Studios, Singelfilm, Schram Studio's, Allard Studios / Equipment B.V., Theater Hangaar en Hangaar2. CONTACT

Netherlands Film Commission +316 29 925 263 / Images: Lionsgate’s e Hitman’s Bodyguard, Warner Bros’ Dunkirk, Arena Photo UK, Sammy.


The flat Dutch landscape has also proved to be a unique selling point. Christopher Nolan’s 2017 war film Dunkirk (pictured left) used IJselmeer Lake, a large inland bay, to film explosive boat scenes over a 19-day shoot. The flatness of the surrounding landscape meant that no horizon appeared from the interior, giving the illusion that the boats were stranded in the middle of the English Channel. Furthermore, unlike the North Sea, the lake provided calm, fresh water convenient for filming. When it comes to advertising, headquarters of award-winning advertising agencies including Wieden+Kennedy and J. Walter Thompson are based in Amsterdam alongside branches of many more firms, including Iris. As a result, innovative and forward-thinking commercial productions often flow through the country. Czar Amsterdam is a frontrunner in commercial production regularly servicing work imbued with the quirky Dutch charm. Instant Ink, a recent spot for HP which sees a choreographed routine captured against the baroque interiors set to a catchy tune, is a great example of this. Since the introduction of the 30 to 35% incentive that also covers post-production work, the sector has seen discernible growth. The emerging post hub has become a favourite for independent feature films and animation. Recent credits include Yorgos Lanthimos’ Cannes Prix du Jury winner The Lobster, whose colour grading and visual effects were completed by Storm, and Martin Koolhoven’s Brimstone. Amazon Studios’ upcoming adult animation series Undone, which was provided with EUR1.46 million worth of support from The Netherlands Film Fund, is currently using over 100 Dutch creative professionals. 13 of the nation’s top post-production houses grouped together to form The Netherlands Post Production Alliance, an organisation helping domestic and incoming productions navigate studios which can best meet requirements.

stunt intensive sequences involving cAr chAses, motorcycle pursuits And pyrotechnics were fAcilitAted on AmsterdAm’s busy streets.


If you want to fit in with the locals, join the bike revolution. The major cities of the Netherlands are set up for fuss free cycling so getting around on two wheels is often the easiest option. If you are in Amsterdam, we highly recommend a visit to one of the internationally acclaimed museums. Rembrandt House Museum exhibits paintings from the Dutch golden age, and the Van Gogh Museum (pictured below) has the largest collection of works by the postimpressionist painter. From humble beginnings as a 13th-century fishing village to its current role as a major hub for business, tourism and culture, the streets of Amsterdam are full of history. To experience the atmosphere of the past, taste traditional Dutch dishes at Bistro Bij Ons, a typical eatery in the Jordaan or head to Int Aepjen tavern in Zeedijk which is estimated to have opened its doors in the early 1500’s.

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PANAMA wet and wild

panama is one of Latin America’s most developed nations, becoming somewhat of a regional production hub in recent years. Its incredible biodiversity and exotic locales are within easy reach of urban centres, meaning that productions have endless options in this Central American country.

he essence of adventure pervades this Central American country which might explain why so many adventure and documentary series have chosen to shoot here. However, since James Bond’s Quantum of Solace filmed here in 2008, more and more feature films have come to realise the charm and potential of the country.

The big budget Bond film doubled the sea port city of Colon for Haiti’s Port au Prince as well as filming in the derelict Club de Clases y Tropas in Casa Viejo, Panama City’s historic quarter. The former club was a favourite haunt of infamous dictator General Noriega but has become a decaying ruin popular with film crews. Set designers transformed the space with golden lights and palm trees for a night club scene set in La Paz, Bolivia. Since then, feature films including Hands of Stone and French production Paradise Lost based “chAnnel 4’s on Pablo Escobar and US TV series Espionage Tonight have survivAl show filmed in the country. Hands of CELEBRITY ISLAND Stone, a biopic about Panamian And US SURVIVOR boxer Robert Duran starring hAve used pAnAmA’s Robert de Niro, shot in a variety of deserted lAs perlAs historic districts in the capital as well as in the Colon province, ArchipelAgo fAmed where Bond filmed. for idyllic beAches And delicAte ecosystems.”

The Panama Film Commission has fostered a film friendly attitude throughout the country and a cash rebate system has boosted levels of production. Incoming projects with a local spend of USD3 million or upwards are supported by a 15% cash rebate. Feature films, television pilots and series, documentaries and video game design as well as TV commercials can access it. Registering your project


Palacio de la Garzas, Panama City Palacio de las Garzas (pictured above) is a colloquial name for Panama’s Presidential Palace. Translating to Palace of the Herons, the grounds are home to several of the white birds that proudly roam through the pristine courtyard. The President of Panama resides in this palace nestled between the colonial buildings of Casco Viejo, Panama City’s charming historic district. Since its erection in 1673, the building has served as a headquarters of the national bank and a school. Moorish style arches with inlaid pearls, a marble staircase and bronze figurines can be found inside the large iron gates. Tours are available on certain days and film crews have filmed here in the past. The 2001 adaptation of John Le Carré’s The Tailor of Panama filmed here. Starring Pierce Brosnan and Jamie Lee Curtis, the film tells the story of a tailor living in Panama who reluctantly becomes a spy for a British agent.


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with the national film commission is necessary and will ensure you a smooth experience of working in Panama. Support they provide will guide you through all the necessary documentation from visas and work permits.


The incentive programme covers feature films, TV pilots, TV series, TVcommercials, music videos, documentaries, video game design and creation and other forms of content creation. An international production company must have at least USD3 million in qualified local expenditures to receive the rebate. TAX REBATE


Most international flights arrive at Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport, 33km from downtown. Panama has three active commercial international airports: Tocumen International Airport, Aeropuerto Enrique Malek and Panamá Pacífico International Airport. ATA CARNET



Mat Hodgson’s I Am Duran, Caupolican Ovalles’s Death in Berruecos, Rob Bralver’s Espionage Tonight. SOUND STAGES

Since the film industry is a relatively new addition to the Panamanian economy, there are few facilities for filmmakers in the country at present. However, due to new investments and policies being introduced by the government, there are plans for a state-of-the-art studio complex to be built in Panama City. CONTACT

Panama Film Commission (507) 560 0638

Ample high-quality commercial work is produced in Panama meaning there is a growing number of capable and English-speaking crew available. LCA Productions consistently works on high end spots for global markets with brands including Nescafe, Pepsi and Nintendo. Covering Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rice, LCA Productions knows what makes the country special as its recent work for Panama Tourism Board shows. The spot shows the country’s secluded waterfalls to mist covered jungle canopies and colonial streets brought to life with traditional dancing and diving montages. With nearly 50 ecological reservations protecting the incredible biodiversity, Panama is a wildlife documentary maker’s dream. David Attenborough’s productions have repeatedly filmed here. Planet Earth II, for example captured an adorable pygmy three-toed sloth on the lookout for a mate in the mangroves of Isla Escudo de Veraguas. Such untouched exotic settings also appeal to reality adventure series. Channel 4’s survival show Celebrity Island and US Survivor both used Panama’s deserted Las Perlas archipelago, famed for idyllic beaches and delicate ecosystems. While Las Perlas has uninhabited islands, there is enough infrastructure to base crew nearby. Contadora Island has many hotels and even an airport. Most local servicing companies such as Panama Films and Apertura Films are well versed in facilitating these types of adventure and documentary shows. There are two seasons in Panama; wet which runs from April to November and dry. Don’t dismiss the shooting during the wet or ‘green’ season, as this is when Panama’s tropical jungles and surfing beaches spring to life making everything look fresh and vivid. With good planning, rain shouldn’t delay shoots either. Mornings are generally clear and bright, while heavy rainfall occurs in the afternoons. By evening the skies tend to have cleared again and nights are generally dry. Moreover, there are less tourists so accommodation is cheaper and sights are less crowded.

pAnAmA’s tropicAl jungles And surfing beAches spring to life during the wet seAson mAking everything look fresh And vivid.


Visitors face a tough choice between spending time in the dynamic metropolis of Panama City, exploring the wildlife or hanging out on one of the idyllic beaches. Panama City has acquired the nickname Dubai of Latin America because of the multitude of skyscrapers flooding the skyline. Trump Ocean Club (pictured below) is one of the most recognisable and is the tallest building in central America. The historic district of Casco Viejo is pleasant to explore on foot. Eat at Lo Que Hay here for Panamanian classics with a twist served by one of Panama’s top chefs. The whole country has an abundance of lush forest with vanished ancient towns and protected wildlife. But if you want a taste of the outdoors just half an hour outside the capital, head down to Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Rent a kayak to explore the rainforest in the company of tropical birds and howler monkeys.

Basic camera lighting and grip equipment is available locally and the availability is growing with Colombia’s Congo Films having opened a base in the country. More specialist equipment can be easily sourced from Miami and Latin American production hubs.

Images: Simon Dannhauer, Zaschnaus & Diego Cervo.


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Game on for the film and TV industries

Steven Soderbergh’s interactive HBO series The Mosaic allowed viewers to shift between different characters’ perspectives. ©2018 Home Box Office, Inc.


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as vidEO gamEs HiT EvER gREaTER CREaTivE HEigHTs, mOviEs aNd TElEvisiON dRamas aRE iNCREasiNgly TakiNg iNspiRaTiON FROm THEm – aNd viCE vERsa. dOEs THis mEaN THE TwO iNdusTRiEs – FOR sO lONg vERy sEpaRaTE ENTiTiEs wiTH wildly diFFERENT wORkFlOws – aRE dRawiNg ClOsER aT lasT? MAKERS iNvEsTigaTEs.


re the worlds of games and film and television colliding? Throughout 2018, it has certainly appeared that way.

In the past 12 months, high profile creators such as Charlie Brooker, Steven Spielberg, Steven Soderbergh, Roar Uthaug through to Skins showrunner Bryan Elsley have all created projects that have been strongly influenced by the games world. An upcoming episode in the next series of gaming fan Charlie Brooker’s Netflix drama Black Mirror will feature an interactive element which will allow viewers to control the storyline. Separately, Netflix has also just launched an interactive ‘story mode’ version of popular game Minecraft. Back in January, Steven Soderbergh’s interactive HBO series The Mosaic allowed viewers to download an app on which they could view hours of additional content, letting them shift between different characters’ perspectives. “It’s not a TV show, and it’s not a movie,” Soderbergh said ahead of its release. “It’s something else.” Meanwhile, Spielberg’s Ready Player One was inspired by the nascent world of virtual reality gaming, while director Roar Uthaug rebooted the Tomb Raider video game franchise for the big screen. Bryan Elsley also explored the world of computer gaming and virtual reality in Channel 4 and Netflix drama Kiss Me First. “I am not a computer gamer, but I have a new respect for the computer game environment,” says Elsley, who cites the large and loyal audiences for games. “They are works of stunning creativity.” For years, each sector has taken inspiration from the other. Indeed, many superhero movie franchises look just like games, particularly their spectacular vfx-heavy fight and chase scenes. The development budgets of AAA console or PC games can often top $100 million similar to movies. The production teams are similarly large too, hitting up to 300 people for the biggest games, many of them working over a development period of two to three years. However, beyond the fact that games have creatively inspired so many projects during 2018, the two multi-billion dollar industries remain very separate. Few companies effectively straddle the worlds of gaming and film/television. That’s largely because the production and storytelling processes in games and movies are fundamentally different.

Film and TV have linear narratives that are absorbed by passive audiences; characters develop in a logical sequence of scenes and locations over the course of the drama. In games, by contrast, characters wander around an entire open world, designed by the games developer, controlled by the players. That’s reflected in the production processes of each format. Lee Danskin, Chief Technology Officer of Escape Technology, which provides visual tech and services to the film, TV advertising and games industries, explains: “When you produce a game, you are utilizing a code management system – “the core process and that becomes the of mAking A gAme cornerstone for how versus mAking you make the game. tv And film is Each person on each fundAmentAlly machine will have a complete build of the different. but the entire game and they core tools And check in and check out techniques thAt whatever they have been we use Are being working on. In TV or shAred more And film post production, an individual will be more by both working on a single pArties.” shot, edit or conform – it comes down to specific shots being worked on to a point where they are completed by an individual.” A games artist needs to be very much aware of the limitations of what they can achieve, in terms of texture, pixel count and look, so that their work conforms with the game as a whole. Vfx artists, for film, meanwhile, can spend days perfecting their individual shots to as high a standard as possible. There are, however, signs that the walls between the two industries are coming down slightly. Some of the tools, talent and ideas used by the games industry are being picked up by the TV and film world – and vice versa. Actors are increasingly lending their voices to video games; Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Walken, Liam Neeson, and more have voiced characters in games. Meanwhile, games are becoming more cinematic – and borrow many techniques from film. The upcoming and highly anticipated Death Stranding, from Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, features advanced visuals and motion-capture technology that required its stars, Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen, to don dot-studded, lycra suits and act out their roles much like a theatrical performance.


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Warner Bros’ Ready Player One (above), Channel 4 and Netflix’s Kiss Me First (below).

REal-TimE ENgiNEs FROm THE gamiNg wORld, likE uNREal ENgiNE aNd uNiTy, aRE bEiNg usEd iN pREviZ aNd pOsT pROduCTiON iN Film aNd Tv muCH mORE.

The technology that goes into creating games and movies is, at base level, very similar – and is also starting to merge. “A Maya artist is a Maya artist whether in gaming or film,” says Dave Goodbourn, Head of Systems at Milk Visual Effects, which has credits including Doctor Who, Sherlock and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. “The skillset is similar – but not in terms of the production pipeline which is very different.” It’s a point backed up by Escape Technology’s Lee Danskin: “The core process of making a game versus making TV and film is fundamentally different. But the core tools and techniques that we use are being shared more and more by both parties.” In particular, real-time engines from the gaming world, like Unreal Engine and Unity, are being used in previz and post production in film and TV much more, and both are starting to be used for real time rendering in visual effects. “We’re experimenting with Unreal Engine for previz here at Milk,” says Goodbourn. “For rendering, the quality isn’t quite there yet for high-end TV and film, but I expect this to develop rapidly in the near future.” Real-time engines let production teams create and interact with CG environments and objects in real-time. Advocates of real-time engines in film and TV production say they can reap savings in both time and money. Real-time previz, for example, lets a director and his team know very clearly which shots they’re going to want to capture, helping with set build costs, stage directions through to lighting. As production tools, real-time engines are already being used in genres such as kids television. But it will be a while before the graphical quality of real-time engines improves enough for them to be used in movies or high-end television drama, to create compelling and authentic looking worlds such as those found in features such as Ready Player One.



For now, perhaps the biggest area of overlap between the worlds of games and film and TV is in the area of virtual reality. That is particularly the case in the post production sector, where top facilities such as The Mill and Framestore have pushed heavily into virtual reality. Framestore VR, for example, bills itself as bringing ‘Hollywood calibre visuals to the theatre of immersion’ and has VR credits including projects for HBO’s Game of Thrones and Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. These are standalone projects that are smaller in scale than games, but make use of the high quality visuals and workflows of TV and film, albeit in 360 degrees. Escape’s Lee Danskin says that most post production facilities will head towards making games at some point, but at the moment VR is the most likely cross over area. For now however, the truth is that even some of the high profile TV shows and movies that have taken inspiration from games this year are, in fact, a world away from the technical complexity of games themselves.

“for now, perhAps the biggest AreA of overlAp between the worlds of gAmes And film And tv is in the AreA of virtuAl reAlity.”

The storylines might be influenced by games, but the technology and production process remains very different. “I dispute whether having a choice of three endings is even remotely games like. I can do anything I like in an open world game. It is not even close to games,” says Danskin.

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POLAND a rising power

poland has announced the introduction of a new 30% cash rebate to take effect in 2019. with several competitive neighbours, tapping into the real mix of interesting locations throughout the country may be the sticking point when attracting key productions.

oland’s economy is currently undergoing a significant upswing with latest figures suggesting that the country’s EUR470 billion economy is expanding at a rate of 5% a year. The national government has committed to making sure that the Polish production industry is part of this ongoing growth that has seen the nation’s general infrastructure strengthen. Its decision to launch a 30% cash rebate in 2019, and ongoing investment into the production support network, indicates that Poland is positioning itself as the next go-to production hub in Europe.

The rebate should stimulate the Polish film industry and attract even more international productions. The Polish Film Institute will oversee the new 30% cash rebate applied to all qualifying Polish production costs. High-end “After the second television dramas, feature films, feature documentaries, animations world wAr, mAny and animated TV series will be buildings were eligible to apply. A Polish partner pArtiAlly destroyed. on the project is necessary as extensive incentives will only be available for restorAtion in the companies registered and liable for corporation tax in Poland.

AftermAth hAs meAnt thAt historicAl buildings retAin physicAl integrity.”

When in effect, the new rebate will place Poland on a par with nearby countries whose incentive offers range from 20% to 35%. Nearby Romania and Slovenia both announced incentives in 2016 and several competitive countries in Eastern Europe, such as the Czech Republic and Hungary have already become location favorites. The likelihood of Poland breaking


History buffs are well served in Poland. Thousands of years of twists and turns, kings and castles, wars and occupations have left their mark on the country. Away from the big cities, much of Poland feels remote with low-lying mountains that can provide sought after solitude. Open expanses with fresh air to fill your lungs and rejuvenate the senses are easy to explore. Hiking paths laid out across the country which let you delve deep into dense forests, amble along broad rivers and traverse through mountain passes. Vodka aficionados will have much to enjoy in Poland, but if you want to keep up with locals you should drink it neat with no ice and be sure to try local brands. Food is also important in Polish culture. To try out authentic dishes including the infamous pierogi and bigos, head to U Kucharzy in Warsaw. The Michelin starred restaurant serves traditional Polish food with a twist of French elegance.


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through in such a competitive environment looks considerably more probable when one scans an eye over its recent production history. Poland continually attracts big budget feature work and in 2017 attracted several high-profile shoots. Claire Denis’ High Life, a drama set in deep outer space starring Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche located part of its shoot in Poland as did Cold War, a romance set against the backdrop of 1950’s Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris. Poland’s low price of goods and services has been the prime appeal for many years. Germany has formed a strong relationship with the country, so much so that a dedicated co-production fund exists maintained by the three German regional funding bodies and the Polish Film Commission. Germany is recognised to have high production proficiency but is generally more expensive. Domestic German TV and commercials are often outsourced and, due to its cultural and geographical affinities that allow for easy doubling, many choose Poland as their base. Advertising production has been a strength of the country for many years and high-end commercials bound for the European market are often shot in the country. Numerous commercial production service companies such as Oto Film, Bomaye and Opus Film regularly work for brands such as Nivea, O2 and Avon. There has been a noticeable uptake in Indian productions heading to Poland since it introduced a co-production agreement in 2012. 2014’s Kick filmed an action sequence in the Warsaw Palace of Culture and Science. Kollywood production Mersal used the cities of Gdansk, Sopot, Poznan and Rseszow to stand in for modern day Paris. Additionally, the Pakistani action-packed romance Teefa in Trouble (pictured below) shot for 28 days in and around Warsaw. Poland has long provided value for productions that are not willing to forgo on top quality settings. After the devastation of the Second World War, many buildings were completely, or partially destroyed. Extensive restoration in the aftermath has meant that historical buildings have retained physical integrity. Consequently, Poland has often been favoured for 20th century set period pieces. Sky’s Urban Myths episode Hitler the Artist doubled Krakow for Vienna in 2017. The hypothetical comedy, serviced by Oto Film, saw Iwan Rheon playing a young Hitler who decided to chase his dream of becoming an artist in 1910s Vienna. In 2015, Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies doubled Wroclaw for Berlin during Soviet Occupation.



Teefa in Trouble

Q: What were some Polish location

highlights from Teefa in Trouble? A: Interestingly, no one had ever thought of using Poland as a location for films from Pakistan. We wanted to experiment with new locales and when we saw the locations we immediately fell in love with the country. We felt the locations were almost designed with our movie in mind. Q: Why was Poland chosen as the setting

for the film? A: Frankly, it was the friendly and accommodating people that we were working with that tilted the decision in Poland’s favour. The local crew went out of their way to help us. As a producer I wanted to get the best value for money – beautiful locations at a reasonable rate – Poland offered both. Q: Were there any technical challenges to

overcome for the big action sequences? A: Our director Ahsan Rahim never compromises on quality, especially in the action shots, so it was a big challenge. Availability of state-of-the-art equipment and professional crew meant we were able to deliver. Ahsan was more than satisfied with the finished product. Q: The film has been very well received. Do

In fact, Poland’s many cities have such a range of architecture that productions can find locations to double for pretty much any northern European

you think the setting had a role to play in this reception? A: Most definitely. The audience loved the locations. Cinematography plays a pivotal role in how a film comes out and is perceived by the audience. The locations and settings were thus pivotal in our success.


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The 30% cash rebate will be available through the Polish Film Institute, the organisation in charge of administering funds for qualifying productions. CASH REBATE


The country has various international airports, intercontinental flights to North America and Asia, and multiple airlines operating scheduled flights to most cities in the country. The main airport is Warsaw. ATA CARNET



Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, Claire Denis’s High Life, Lukasz Kosmicki’s The Coldest Game, Robert Schwentke’s Der Hauptmann. TIME zONE


There are several sound stages in Poland, varying in terms of dimensions, area and equipment. Sound stages are located in Krakow, Lodz, Warsaw and Wrocław. CURRENCY


Film Commission Poland (+48) 693 477 607 The Polish Film Institute (+48) 224 210 130 Images: Film Produkcja, Studio Agar & MV Photography. Additional images: Film Poland Productions.


setting. This was epitomized in the production of Gareth Jones (main image) which was filmed in Krakow earlier this year. Producer Stanisław Dziedzic proclaimed that “in just one day we managed to capture two different historical locations: London and Moscow. Sounds unbelievable but is true”. Poland’s history has meant that western influenced buildings are only minutes away from communist-style ‘realist’ structures. As the eighth largest country in Europe with a convoluted history, Poland maintains a large variety of natural and architectural delights that may pique interest for a variety of productions. The northern border has a 770 km coastline along which one can find “the shifting sand dunes”. Inland, the Tatra mountains provide lush landscapes and there are many lakes to discover. Krowiarki palace and Mialkowek holiday resort are both examples of abandoned structures that could provide eerie settings. Highlights of the modern buildings on offer include the Bałtyk sky scraper in Poznan. The mind-bending structure changes shape when viewed from different angles. The round footbridge in Rzeszow, meanwhile, lights up at night and can also provide interesting visuals. There are numerous studios throughout Poland, as well as post-production facilities. ATM Studios in Warsaw for instance has seven sound stages measuring up to 1500sqm. Alvernia Studios in Krakow meanwhile has large sound stages as well as post-production audio and visual services. It is advisable that all productions get in contact with Film Commission Poland or a specific regional commission prior to shooting as they will assist in providing permits, and guide productions looking to shoot in the country. Local production service companies can also be a vital asset when navigating a shoot.


The Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw Constructed in 1955 as a gift from the Soviet Union, the palace (above) is characterised by Soviet-era architecture and stands proudly over the city. The high-rise exhibition center and office complex is Poland’s tallest building and one of the tallest in Europe. It’s made up of 3,288 rooms spread over 42 floors. The palace houses a multiplex cinema with eight screens, four theatres, two museums, offices, a large swimming pool and an auditorium hall for 3,000 people called Congress Hall. In 2010 high-power LED lights were installed on the exterior allowing the palace to be illuminated with vivid colours at night. With so much housed in the palace, a variety of filming locations can be found within its complex. One such film was Lukasz Kosmicki’s The Coldest Game. Multiple scenes were filmed for this movie, including an intense chess game between American and Russian players during the height of the Cold War.

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interview david abraham with & aidan mcclure ery few production companies manage to straddle the worlds of TV and advertising but that is the ambition of former Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham’s Wonderhood Studios.

Abraham describes the studios as a “next generation creative business” that aims to develop TV programming and branded campaigns under one roof. In his words, the company has “people who make famous content working alongside people who make brands famous.” Its advertising arm, Studio A, is led by executive creative director Aidan McClure, while its non-scripted division, Studio B, is run by former BBC Studios exec Samantha Antstiss. Both Abraham and McClure’s careers combine TV and advertising. Abraham co-founded agency St Luke’s in 1997, going on to work for Discovery, UKTV and then Channel 4. McLure joined from the BBC’s inhouse agency BBC Creative, and previously worked at Adam & Eve/DDB where he was responsible for the John Lewis Bear and the Hare ad. Here Abraham and McClure, speaking just before Antstiss joins the company, spell out their plans and ambitions for Wonderhood, in particular the work they hope to create for advertising clients. MAKERS MAG

Tell us about the background to Wonderhood? Why are you launching a company that aims to make TV content and content for brands? DAVID ABRAHAM

For a long time I have believed that there is a fundamental


inefficiency in how the industries operate and interact with each other. Content has, historically, been substantially funded by advertising. And creative agencies often draw from the talent, storytelling and music of the content industries. Yet the two industries are organised in quite a siloed fashion. Over the last five to seven years, the environment in which everyone operates has been converging, and this process is only accelerating. But there has been no convergence of the creative machinery that serves this.

clients. We don’t want to become too niche, we want to work with the really big players. What we offer that is different is that programme making side of the business – the ability to do slightly more long form content that is strategically really strong as well as being engaging. That is the area that feels new and fresh to me.

shareable mid-form content that you could describe as advertising as well. There are many examples out there. We want to be a centre of excellence for that way of working.





Where did you start? DAVID ABRAHAM

With a blank sheet of paper and an idea – to find the right people who are open to working in new ways… with a mind to both peer reviewing each other’s ideas, co-creating ideas together, and also being good in their own areas as well. We are going to be pitching for advertising accounts and for commissions from channels and platforms, and will create a business that will celebrate the opportunites that come from the adjacencies of these things being aligned. Some of the content will be very good programmes and very good advertising, which might benefit from input from the two groups. The quality of thinking will be enhanced by their input – a peer review approach. Other content could be the result of the teams actually working together. MAKERS MAG

What are your ambitions for Wonderhood? AIDAN MCCLURE

To be a fully functioning creative agency which works with the top

Can you give us examples of the kind of work that inspires you, and that serves as a model for what you’d like to do? The clients that are doing it best won’t be a huge surprise. Nike is really innovative in this area. Their Breaking2 [a project to break the two-hour barrier for the marathon] work feels really interesting and fresh. It is an idea that is totally rooted within the Just Do It strategy, but then it lends itself to creating really engaging, interesting content and marketing. I really love the Defiant Ones, a documentary on Netflix, which is basically an advert for Beats headphones. Then, from my own experience, the work I did for John Lewis – it was a long form advert which was story led. You could almost describe that as content. DAVID ABRAHAM

Advertising is moving from a very short-form environment to a midform environment – that creates opportunities to tell stories in different ways. But you still need a strong idea. I admire Nike’s Breaking2 initiative which was a brand and a content play. Obviously everyone talks about The Lego Movie and what Red Bull does in live events – they create content that aligns with their brand. Burger King has done campaigns that are


Why are you having to make content that doesn’t really feel like an ad? There is going to be fundamental shifts in the way that advertising works and looks in the next few years. There will always be a role for traditional TV advertising, but it is now just one element in a whole arsenal of ways that you engage and talk to audiences. Traditional TV advertising is called interruption advertising. What we are doing is creating stuff that people actually want to watch – that is the ambition anyway. We are trying to reach people in a way that is not intrusive, talking to people where they are and tailored to those different platforms. MAKERS MAG

How closely will you work with your colleagues from the TV side? AIDAN MCCLURE

David is very keen to establish a peer review system, a bit like Pixar, where effectively you share ideas as a group and discuss them as a group. Sam Antstiss is really keen and up for that. And the way I work has always been very open and collaborative. As we grow, we will have to make sure that systems are in place so that we continue sharing and being true to our founding principles.



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PORTUGAL light fantastic

portugal’s new incentive package could be the spark to ignite an influx of big-budget productions. As one of southern Europe’s most price-competitive destinations, shooting amidst portugal’s well-preserved historic monuments, 1,794 kilometres of coastline and vibrant cities makes both creative and financial sense.

ith the introduction of a new incentive package imminent, Portugal should anticipate more big budget productions descending on the country. It has proved that it can provide valuable assets to productions of any size with its well-developed infrastructure currently dominated by high-end commercial work and Portuguese language content. An abundance of coproduced feature films and TV series has been sustained through co-production treaties with every Portuguese speaking nation as well as France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The country has become a hotbed of high-end commercial production in recent years meaning that crews are adroit, technically skilled and many have fluency in English, French and Spanish. The advertising work produced in the country over the years is also a testament to the versatility of locations on offer in “portugAl hAs A the relatively compact country. A wide rAnge of recent set of commercials by locAtions in its Biscuit Filmworks for Old Spice ArsenAl so it’s A lent a quirky twist on classic worthwhile filming themes for irreverent spots that were set in rocky beaches and destinAtion for A caves, palatial interiors and broAd rAnge quaint villages that can all be of productions.” found within easy reach of each other. The production based itself in Lisbon, the biggest production hub in the country containing the main studios and rental houses offering the biggest range of equipment. Built on a sloping hillside, Lisbon's cobbled streets connect historical and traditional neighbourhoods such as the bohemian Chiado and Barrio Alto with modern urban landscapes such as the Parque das Nações. 112


With a warm climate, endless stretches of sandy beaches and long daylight hours, Portugal is positioning itself as the California of Europe. An ever-popular tourist destination, there are many attractions to be found. Wander the hilly streets of coastal capital Lisbon (above), where you can experience the alluring alleys, quaint shops, Gothic cathedrals and impressive bridges. The best way to take in the maze of cobblestone streets is to take one of the vintage trams like the well-known Tram 28 that traverse the city. If you’re a fan of port wine, head over to the picturesque Douro Valley, the birth place of Port, where you can visit ancient wine cellars. For something more substantial, head down to Casa Guedes, in the old centre of Porto where they serve juicy slabs of roast pork in rustic brown rolls, stuck together with melting sheep’s cheese.

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In 2017 Apple chose Lisbon as the subject of its presentation video demonstrating the capabilities of its latest iPhone camera. The Lisbon Film Commission explained that the city was chosen for its “unique and remarkable light”. The quality attractive to film crews is produced by Atlantic winds that clean pollution from the air, and refracting light bouncing off the river Tagus into the city’s windows. Despite its attractions, Portugal is not yet regarded as a go-to destination for big budget TV and feature films. Located to the west of Spain on the Iberian Peninsula, the country has often been overlooked in favour of its neighbour, which has hosted large shoots for big-budget productions such as Game of Thrones and Wonder Woman in recent years. The introduction of a 25 to 30% cash rebate scheme in March 2018, now places Portuguese film financing on par with its closest competitor. The 30% cashback for international TV, film and VOD productions will be available to foreign projects with a high economic impact, that shoot in low density territories or employ crew and cast with disabilities. It also covers animations and postproduction work. A base figure of 25 to 30% is available to films with cultural relevance and high impact on Portuguese cinematography. Projects need a minimum local spend of EUR500,000 for fiction and animation, while spend on documentaries and post production work will have to exceed EUR250,000 and is administered as a first come first served rebate. Portugal remains one of the cheapest countries in southern Europe and undercuts its biggest competitors in most aspects like living costs and accommodation prices. Pic Portugal, a subsidiary of the Film and Audiovisual Institute (ICA), manages the 17 local commissions that facilitate filming throughout the country. Their main role is to streamline the production process and reduce the level of bureaucracy that has frustrated international crews in the past. The process of securing permits has been simplified and now takes between three working days and a week. Filming at one of the country’s world heritage sites requires additional consultation but is achievable. Terry Gilliam’s The Man who Killed Don Quixote travelled to The Convento De Christo, a convent in Tomar. Location manager Ana Ibáñez noted that it “was a long negotiation due to the special nature of the location and the implicit restrictions”. A local production company helped navigate the process but “the response from the Managing Board of the Convento was always positive and with great collaboration”.



Conquer Your Dreams

Q: What was the brief for the commercial? A: We created the Portuguese Football Federation’s first World Cup campaign featuring the nation’s heroes and showcasing the country to the world. The film cleverly interprets traditional Portuguese phrases through a mixture of live action alongside original and bold illustrations. Q: Was there a location highlight? A: One of my favourite locations had to be the Panoramic Restaurant of Monsanto. It’s an incredible piece of architecture overlooking the city which has laid abandoned for many years. We set up a scene with strobe lights, smoke, footballers, skateboarders and flag bearers and captured on multiple cameras inside and out, including drones. Q: Were there any technical challenges? A: We wanted to show a wide cross section of Portugal spanning young and old, old and new. Key challenges were the amount of locations, versus days, versus budget, it was a fun jigsaw puzzle. One of the biggest limitations was the amount of haze we could shoot in camera so there was a lot of post enhancement. We were lucky enough to have a great team back at The Mill in London to enhance what we’d shot. Q: Describe working with respected

footballers before the Russian World Cup? It was a challenge working around their training sessions. As they were all together for such short periods of time the coach gave us very limited access to them. It helped that this was not a brand based ad and was selling the country and the national team. We worked within the strict parameters we were given.


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In 2016, Terry George managed to film a large portion of The Promise (pictured left) in Sintra. The town’s parks, polished gardens and Moorish style mansions doubled for Turkey at the fall of the Ottoman empire.


Productions are offered a refundable tax credit of up to 30% for feature films spending at least EUR500,000 for fiction and animation and EUR250,000 for documentaries. Payments are capped at EUR4 million per production. CASH REBATE


Portugal has five international airports and the public transport network is particularly well set up, due to the numbers of tourists that the country accommodates. RECENT pRODUCTIONS

Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Roshni Dinaker’s My Story, António-Pedro Vasconcelos’s Parque Mayer, an online commercial, Sea of Thieves, for Dorito’s by Formidable. ATA CARNET



For less crowds, cheaper hotels but still with warm summery warm weather, visit during March to May or September to October. TIME zONE


The sound stages in Portugal are only based in Lisbon and Porto, they include: Digital Azul, Screen Miguel Nabinho, Toolbox and Camaleon Cinema Services. CONTACT

Pic Portugal (+351) 213.230.800 Images: SouthWest Productions, Production Algarve, Olezzo, Survival Pictures’ The Promise.


Portugal is also a good choice for productions looking to capture contrasting imagery in a short time frame. Mountainous regions and pastoral countryside settings are only a short distance from the three major cities of Porto, Lisbon and Faro conveniently located equidistantly along its 1,794 km of coastline. Stretches of sandy beaches can be found along the west coast, while the Algarve’s southern coastline provides rocky cliffs and secluded coves and caves. The islands located in the Azores and Madeira archipelagos are of volcanic origin resulting in rugged and dramatic topography. Adam & Eve DDB found that Portugal’s beaches could double for Australia for its Fosters campaigns that placed a comedy duo in a beach hut in an isolated location. Comporta Beach, about an hour’s drive south of Lisbon is an example of the pristine sandy beaches that can stand in for Australia. As part of the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve, the location offers a 12 kilometre strip of untouched beach, free from encroaching development. A popular tourist destination, the beach has a parking lot and access is via sand tracks or a dirt road. Due to its popularity as a tourist destination, Portugal has a good transport network. Driving from north to south only takes five hours and the three main cities of Porto, Lisbon and Faro each have an international airport.


Biblioteca Do Convento De Mafra. 28 miles from Lisbon is the palace-monastery of Mafra. Built over thirteen years in the early 18th century, the limestone palace and basilica is adorned with statuettes, ornate marble inlay and religious murals. The biblioteca (pictured above), or library in English, is certainly the most beautiful in Portugal, and arguably one of the most valuable in the world. The lavish rococo interior was built by Manuel Caetano de Sousa. The floor is made from rose, grey and white marble. It holds over 36,000 books, including some precious rarities including the first Encyclopaedia known as the Diderot et D’Alembert as well as the 1493 Chronicle of Nuremberg. Interestingly, the library nests several bats that help to keep paper parasites away from the books. The library features in Samsung Galaxy’s Chess. To market the cordless charger, a tense game of chess between two suited men in the pitch black filmed in the library. While the darkness lends intrigue and suspense to the suave spot, the dramatic shadows cast in the room rendered a new quality to the room’s flamboyant interior.

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Dramatic times for the global formats business

TFI in France have just aired a French version of hit British drama The Fall, originally produced by Endemol Shine label Artists Studio, titled Insoupรงonnable.


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baCk iN THE 1990s HiT FaCTual aNd ENTERTaiNmENT Tv FORmaTs sTaRTEd TO bE sOld aNd REmadE all OvER THE wORld. NOw THE samE is HappENiNg wiTH Tv dRamas. a RaFT OF lOCal adapTaTiONs OF HiT sERiEs aRE iN pROduCTiON – paRT OF a sTRaTEgy by bROadCasTERs TO lEssEN THE Risks iNvOlvEd iN suCH aN EXpENsivE gENRE. MAKERS REpORTs ON THE EvOluTiON OF THE mulTi-billiON dOllaR FORmaTs busiNEss.


his winter, viewers across much of Asia can tune into a local remake of The Bridge, backed by HBO Asia and local streaming platform Viu.

Mirroring the storyline of the original 2011 Swedish/Danish hit, the series sees a body left on the border between Malaysia and Singapore and two investigators, one from each country, working together to catch the killer. The Asian remake deal for The Bridge, struck by Endemol Shine Distribution, marks the fifth local version of the crime drama, following adaptations set in the US/Mexico, UK/France, Germany/Austria and Russia/Estonia. It’s not the only drama from Endemol Shine’s catalogue that’s on the move around the world. In China, local production house Croton Media is filming a Mandarin language adaptation of Humans, with the cast led by Ray Ma and Stephy Qi. The Mandarin series is based on Humans UK, as produced by Endemol Shineowned Kudos for Channel 4 and AMC, which itself was adapted from the original Swedish series of Real Humans produced by Sveriges Television and Matador Film. TFI in France have just aired a French version of hit British drama The Fall, originally produced by Endemol Shine label Artists Studio, titled Insoupçonnable. The fact that these dramas are being reworked across the world comes as no surprise to Endemol Shine Distribution CEO Cathy Payne. “They are all good stories, with good scripts,” she says. They are also a good example of a growing trend for hit dramas to be remade. With viewer demand for original, high-end TV drama at an all time high, it makes sense to adapt shows that have already proved themselves in other territories. “It’s all about reducing risk,” says Dave Clarke, EVP of content at distributor DRG, who is also charged with locating dramas for Atrium TV, a consortium of local streaming and telco platforms who jointly invest in scripted projects. “Drama commissioning is a very tricky business, so if you can prove that a storyline, character or setting works, and it has got a successful ratings story, it’s a big help.” US buyers, he adds, are not so concerned about the success of the original as they redevelop projects so significantly – but they are particularly interested in seeing how the mechanics of a show works on screen rather than on the page.

Clarke cites Eyewitness (Øyevitne), a Norwegian crime drama from 2014, written and directed by Jarl Emsell Larsen, which follows the investigation into a multiple homicide witnessed by two teenage boys. The series, which is repped by DRG, was remade for USA Network in 2016 as Eyewitness, for HBO Europe as Valea Muta, and for TF1 in 2018 as Les Innocents. The show has done so well in France, there’s talk of a second season – even though there was no follow up in Norway. However, short run dramas can be a problem for some buyers who like to commission series in volume when they adapt them for their local market. Clarke cites Turkey, ‘ an extremely high turnover remake market’, where DRG has sold in “commissioning an adaptation of Channel drAmA is A very tricky 4 hit Shameless, which business. if you cAn ran for 11 series in total. prove thAt A The drama about a drunk and dysfunctional storyline, chArActer father and his family or setting works, premiered last year on And it hAs got A Fox Turkiye as Bizim successful rAtings Hikaye. “They have story, it’s A big help.” just ordered a second batch of 70 episodes,” says Clarke. “In some territories, volume is critical – it’s no good just having a six part story.” European production and distribution firm Red Arrow Studios International, meanwhile, has licensed the rights to its hit crime series Falco, based on the German series The Last Cop, all over the world. Amazon Prime have just picked up a Mexican version for the Latin American market, while it’s had successful adaptations in France (TF1), Russia (Channel 5), Japan (Hulu/Nippon), the Czech Republic and Estonia. “In a world where there is so much content, it feels a lot safer to build a brand when you are doing it with a hit from another country,” says Alex Fraser, SVP of acquisitions at Red Arrow Studios International. “Aside from the handiness of having the scripts written, and seeing how it is directed, you can also see how someone has marketed it successfully. That has to be reassuring when you are about to spend a lot of money on something.” The growth in the drama format market very much echoes the boom in factual and entertainment format sales that began back in the 1990s and early 2000s. It was a highly competitive era, when multi-channel TV was taking off in established markets, and the industry was developing fast in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.


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Broadcasters knew that their audiences preferred local shows to imported ones and, lacking the time and resources to create hits from scratch, they often looked to adapt successful shows from elsewhere. It was then that formats like Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Big Brother, Pop Idol and Survivor started to spread across the globe.

Images: e BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing & HBO Asia’s e Bridge.

iN a wORld wHERE THERE is sO muCH CONTENT, iT FEEls a lOT saFER TO build a bRaNd basEd ON a HiT FROm aNOTHER COuNTRy.

Fast-forward to today, and the format industry is worth billions. (A 2013 report estimated the value of the top 100 formats was $2,931 million in Europe alone). The UK has long been the world's top exporter of ideas, followed by the US and the Netherlands, but regions such as Scandinavia, South Korea and Israel have all become serious players too. BBC Studios, for example, has licensed Strictly Come Dancing (or Dancing with the Stars as it is known internationally) to 56 territories in total, and The Great Bake Off to 30. The most recent format sale of Strictly was to Nepal, proving how far reaching the format is. Last year, it debuted in dance crazy Brazil; it was so popular there that three seasons aired in one year. In Poland, Strictly has aired for 21 seasons alone. Bake Off, meanwhile, debuted in Greece and New Zealand this autumn, and premiered in Argentina in April as El Gran Pastelero on Telefe, the country’s largest free-to-air TV broadcaster, produced by Turner Latin America. However, successful format distributors don’t just sell the idea and move on, says Sumi Connock, creative director of formats at BBC Studios. They offer lots of support and advice too to local buyers. Citing Strictly, Connock says that BBC Studios has a team of ‘flying producers’ on hand to consult for ‘any production wherever it is in the world.’ BBC Studios also offers format buyers a microsite where they can view every single version of the show, as well as masterclasses in how to produce it. It also hosts ‘creative exchanges’ every year, inviting the producers and broadcasters of international versions to swap programme making ideas. “We work very hard to nurture the show, to make sure everybody has the same ethos when it comes to making it,” says Connock. Endemol Shine offers similar services for its hit formats. One of its biggest sellers is MasterChef, which is now produced in 50 territories – everywhere from Albania to Vietnam. Endemol Shine recently hosted a MasterChef convention, which brought together the programme’s makers from all over the world. “We learn from each other,” says Endemol Shine chief creative officer Peter Salmon. Format sales are also core to the business of a company like FremantleMedia. Its Got Talent format airs in 70 countries, while Idols is produced in 55.



Fremantle has a significant scripted slate, but it’s clear that drama will never be able to match the format sales racked up by factual and entertainment – above all because scripted shows are much more costly to produce. The scripted format market is rather more nuanced, says FremantleMedia’s director of global drama Sarah Doole. Crime stories, she says, travel well. But, the globalisation of the TV industry means that original drama – like Spain’s La Casa de Papel, Germany’s Dark or Denmark’s The Rain – is itself travelling much more widely now, undercutting demand for remakes. “Five years ago, if an original drama was in Danish, people probably hadn’t seen it... The chances are that they may have seen the original version in America now,” says Doole. Original dramas also bring with them a sense of place and uniqueness which can be lost when translated into another language. “Just because a drama has a great story and it worked, doesn’t mean it will roll out around the world. What Netflix, Amazon and viewers around the world want more than anything is authenticity.” Doole says adapted drama often works best when it is moved on in new markets. She cites Lisa Kudrow’s comedy series Web Therapy, which ran on Showtime in the US between 2011-15. It’s “in some recently been remade for territories, volume Channel 4 as Hang is criticAl – it’s no Ups. But it is not a good just hAving straight adaptation – it has been significantly A six pArt story.” reworked. “It is not a copy of Lisa’s original. They’ve taken the idea of the format and moved it on – that is when it works best.” Dramas can, however, have a long shelf life. Showtime in the US is developing Chemistry, a drama based on Paula Milne’s 2013 BBC miniseries The Politician’s Husband. “A great story is always a great story,” says Nick Tanner, head of sales at Passion Distribution, which reps the series originally made by Daybreak Pictures in the UK. “There are so many fluctuations in the media landscape, thanks to the disruptive power of Netflix, Amazon and others, that there is a lot of pressure on dollars and pounds. So falling back on something that is tried and tested is, in some ways, understandable.”

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RWANDA african allure relatively modern and orderly city spread over several hillsides. The sprawling city is where you will find the nation’s limited production infrastructure, including the newly formed Film Commission. Establishing a commission is part of the wider push to bring international work to Rwanda’s burgeoning industry. The film industry is regarded as a way to forge a national identity after the devastating genocide in the mid-nineties. Rwandans are inspired to share their stories in documentary and fictional projects, but larger scale international productions have also taken the stories to global audiences. Most recently, French production Notre Dame Du Nil, an adaptation of a best-selling book telling the story of a Catholic boarding school for girls where tensions between Tutsis and Hutus underlie everyday life, has begun filming in the Western province.

with the formation of a film commission, Rwanda has set its sights on becoming a production hub in Africa. with diverse ecosystems on offer and a forward-looking attitude, Rwanda may be able to become the next breakthrough nation in the region.

wanda may be small, but this just means less distance to travel between the array of locations on offer. Akagera National Park in the east, for instance, covers only 1,120sqkm but you can find low-lying grassland and savannah plains, typical Rwandan rolling hills and valleys, lakes, marshes and swamps of African wetlands. Conservation laws here have grown the population of the once endangered rhinos, lions and elephants.

In the North, Volcanoes National Park is home to one of the last remaining populations of mountain gorillas living in their natural habitat. 1988’s Gorillas in the Mist filmed here for the biopic of Dian Fossey who is credited with “estAblishing A saving the species and many of the commission is pArt gorillas she worked with featured in the film. Elsewhere in the of the wider push country, conservation and wildlife to bring has inspired documentary and ad internAtionAl work. National Geographic recently work to rwAndA’s shot a commercial for its burgeoning conservation work with Grey Crown Cranes which now industry.” number less than five hundred. Although a landlocked nation, Lake Kivu (main image) stretches fifty-six miles along Rwanda’s western border providing a substitute shoreline. Geographically central, the capital Kigali is a



Known as the land of a thousand hills, Rwanda provides unique experiences like trekking with mountain gorillas. Kigali, Rwanda’s capital (pictured above), is an attractive city with winding boulevards, bustling streets and vibrant markets. While the country’s history is impossible to ignore, modern Rwanda is a safe and stable nation. A concerted effort by the government has made it one of the least corrupt African nations and it is generally a safe and welcoming country to travel and work in. New Cactus restaurant in Kigali provides great city views by day and night from its vantage point on one of the city’s rolling hillsides. The broad menu serves French and Italian favourites, as well as spicy Congolese dishes.

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SERBIA production utopia

Serbia’s versatility as a filming location has come into sharp focus since the introduction of its incentive scheme in 2016. Building on a growing interest in filming in the country, the scheme has led to international projects, large and small, heading to take advantage of the burgeoning production scene.

erbia has quietly managed to foster a well-rounded production industry over the last decade. Parity exists between the amount of commercial, TV and film productions originating from major players in Asia, Europe and North America. The far-reaching incentive programme introduced in 2016 which provides straightforward production support alongside an ever-growing infrastructure has turned Serbia into an up and coming centre of production in Europe, able to facilitate any type of projects.

The 25% rebate on qualifying Serbian spend is available for TV, film as well as commercial productions and documentaries, audio and visual post-production – making Serbia one of the few countries to offer such a broad range of incentives. Minimum local spend ranges from EUR300,000 for feature film, “A sizAble chunk EUR100,000 per episode of a of incoming TV series, EUR150,000 for productions were animation, audio or visual postoriginAted from production down to EUR100,000 for commercials and EUR50,000 the commerciAl for documentaries. The introduction industry, with of the rebate has brought a major serbiAn teAms boost to Serbia's production servicing productions profile. In 2017, just a year after for brAnds such As the scheme was introduced, the average total annual budget hondA, huAwei, of productions in Serbia gArnier And ing.” jumped from EUR10 million to EUR30 million. A sizeable chunk of incoming productions originate from the advertising sector, with Serbian teams servicing productions for brands such as Honda, Huawei, Garnier and ING. Red Production



Serbia’s capital Belgrade, formerly the capital of Yugoslavia, is divided between the old-style centre and the more modern suburbs that have grown up around it. Full of museums and churches Tito’s communism can still be felt in the city streets. The great thing about Serbia is that it’s a minefield for history buffs, bursting with historic ruins from Roman times with the capital being home to Communist-era architecture. Kalemegdan Park (above) provides the ideal place to watch the sun set and is the site of Belgrade Fortress, which was held successively by the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. But if you really want to experience Serbian culture and fit in with the locals, try the fish stew on Zemun quay, or maybe spend the night in the bohemian neighborhood Skadarlija listening to tambourines. Serbian cuisine is very similar to Greek so expect to find lots of Baklava and kofta kebabs!

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Services produce over fifty commercials each year in Belgrade alone, and CEO Milos Djukelic notes that commercial producers flock to the country for a myriad of reasons: exterior and interior locations reachable from the capital range "from medieval castle turned into park, large indoor swimming pools, modern bridges, subway, tennis courts, gyms, cozy private homes and courtyards, to modern kitchen interiors and hipster urban places" meaning that "Belgrade can dub for a modern European city like Berlin, but also it can offer the classical architecture of Paris, Vienna and Rome". Situated where Central and Southeast Europe converge, the architectural influences are wide, providing a range of interior and exterior locations. Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in southeast Europe and retains a mix of architecture from the ruling periods of the Ottoman empire, the Habsburgs and USSR. Close to the capital Byzantine monasteries stand in proximity to medieval castles, Roman fortresses and gothic cathedrals. Such a complex history has meant that Serbia can – and has – doubled for a multitude of places. Although NBC’s Around the World in 80 Days will celebrate its 20th birthday next year, the film epitomises how rich the variety of locations on offer is. The 1989 mini-series starring Pierce Brosnan as a globe-trotting Victorian gentleman doubled the former Yugoslavia for eighteen different countries. Belgrade itself stood in for seven different global cities. More recently, the 2017 Papillon remake starring Rami Malek and Charlie Hunnam doubled Belgrade for 1930’s Paris. Meanwhile, Netflix's sci-fi alien apocalyptic thriller Extinction (main image) filmed in Serbia and the futuristic location for its main poster was in the new business area of New Belgrade Airport City. Film Friendly Serbia, a programme created by the Serbia Film Commission to be responsible for streamlining the process of securing permits, was launched in 2012. A set of criteria must be met every two years by participating organisations wishing to be Film Friendly Certified. 28 towns and municipalities offering a range of over 500 locations, including those under the authority of the ministry of defence and the ministry of interior, are currently certified. Serbia has a continental climate, with heavy snow during winter. Summer months have an average temperature of 24 to 28 degrees, and July has the most sunshine, with an average of nine hours. In the winter however this drops down to two. There are studios in Serbia, concentrated in Belgrade, that can cater for big productions. PFI Studios has the most sound stages and an extensive backlot. The eight sound stages range from



Mood Mast spot for FOGG

Q: What was the brief for the commercial? A: For the FOGG Commercial we were looking for locations that were beautiful and unique but not too European on the first look. We wanted a neutral feeling - neither Europe nor India. Q:Why was Serbia chosen as the

main location? A: Because it offers a diverse set of locations in a small geographical area. We needed streets, cafés, a ballet school, trams, metro stations, apartments, river banks etc. We found all of these in Belgrade very close to each other. It also offers professional crew working to western standards at very affordable prices. Q: Were there any challenges on the shoot? A: Not really, we had a few last minute location changes but the local team at Family Film sorted out the location permissions. Q: Did the production receive any incentives? A: Serbia is the one of the few countries in the world to offer incentives for commercials... up to 25% back of the total budget. Our production qualified and we are waiting for the payment as we speak.

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1,800sqm to 600sqm and is currently constructing a 3276sqm stage. Most recently it was home to Netflix original feature Tau (pictured left). Historic Avala Studios is currently undergoing reconstruction and will soon offer smaller studio capacity, perfect for TV or commercial production.


To qualify for the tax rebate, the minimum spend for feature films, TV films and TV series is EUR300,000. TAX REBATE


Serbia has two international airports. The main airport is Belgrade which accounts for more than 95% of passengers travelling to and from the country. ATA CARNET



Daniel Alfredson’s Intrigo, Mani Ratnam’s Crimson Red Sky, Shaad Ali’s Soorma, Carlsberg Lav Beer commercial. BEST TIME TO SHOOT

Serbia has a mild continental four season climate. The summer months of June to August offer a lovely hot climate and little rain. In the winter, the mountains experience heavy snowfall, and the ski season is generally from December to March. TIME zONE


Serbia has its main sound stages at PFI Studios. A new Vision Team facility has three studios ranging from 600sqm to 1300sqm. Avala Studios, that will offer smaller studio facilities, is under construction. CONTACT

Serbia Film Commission (+381 11) 405 9961 Images: Netflix’s Tau © Sanja Bucko, Netflix’s Extinction © Aleksandar Letic, Nikolai Sorokin.


Belgrade can serve as a good base for productions looking to explore the Balkan region. The BBC's McMafia and the soon to be released Intrigo trilogy took this approach to effectively combine a range of locations and incentive schemes on offer throughout the region. Two international airports are in use with Belgrade serving as the main transportation hub. Indian and Chinese productions regularly make use of Serbia. There is no visa regime for the two countries, so basing productions here is a simple procedure. Over the last three years 10 Indian film projects have shot in Serbia, including Mani Ratnam's Crimson Red Sky and Into The Wind. Belgrade Escape is the first Chinese feature film to film in Serbia and utilised 70 local production professionals. Director Wang Zhongyan spoke highly of the crew, saying "every filming is a battle – not only you have to pick the location for the battle, but also, you have to find a trusted comrade. This is a place worth returning to lead another battle”. There are some reliable post-production houses in Serbia too, should you want to make full use of the tax credit. Crater Studio specialise in animation, VFX and post-production and recent credits include The Shallows and Point Break while Digital Asset Tailors is more experienced in commercial post-production for brands including Adidas, Nike, Mercedes and Hennessy.


Airport City, Belgrade

A business park and commercial neighbourhood of Belgrade (pictured above), located in the municipality of New Belgrade, the emerging business district of the city is only 10 minutes from the country’s busiest airport. Construction began in 2005 and by December 2016 nine large buildings were finished. When completed, the district will span 186,000 square meters. The neighbourhood is more than just a group of stand-alone office buildings, though, it was designed with the mantra of becoming a “city within a city”. Many productions filming in Belgrade have used the area. Extinction (main image), the Netflix original film, used this space to set the scene for an alien apocalypse. With its tall glass office buildings and manicured outside space, the ultra-modern, uncannily polished feel of the city was easy to mimic a futuristic, rundown city devoid of human life. Airport city is only 700 meters from the highway and is easily accessible by car or public transportation so crews can come and go with ease. Local production companies assist with filming, crews and locations to provide for your every production need.

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The Brexit Blues

As the deadline for Britain’s departure from the EU draws nearer, one concern in particular is looming large in the minds of producers and facilities – the free movement of people. makers reports on Brexit’s likely impact on production across Europe.



he date of the UK’s departure from European Union, the 30 March 2019, is now getting very close. Yet, for many in the production sector there are still are a large number of questions as to what the UK’s departure will really mean as a final Brexit deal, at the time of writing, is still to be struck. Assuming a deal is agreed, it’s important to remember that little will actually change until 31 December 2020 – when the so-called implementation or transition period runs out.

During this period, the UK will no longer be a member state of the European Union, but market access will continue on current terms and EU common rules will remain in place – meaning businesses will be able to trade on the same terms until the end of 2020. Still, the production sector requires long term planning and certainty to put together complex projects, so creative businesses are keen to know what Britain’s relationship with Europe will look like post 2020.

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Brexit will create some potential opportunities for the UK. A recent BFI report looking at the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU cited a number of them, including: UK facilities being more competitive in light of sterling devaluation; the opening up of new international markets for UK content if it signs free trade agreements with non-EU countries; and an opportunity to make UK tax reliefs more effective if the country is not bound by EU state aid rules.

THERE aRE sTill CONCERNs abOuT THE sHORT-TERm mOvEmENT OF pEOplE aCROss EuROpE, paRTiCulaRly FOR pROduCTiON OF Film aNd Tv sHOws.

The same report, however, also outlined the potential risks of leaving the UK. In particular, it cited the loss of long term freedom of movement of people as likely to erode the available talent pool in the UK industry, adversely impacting high skilled areas such as post, VFX and animation in particular. It also picked out the loss of Creative Europe funding, which would hit smaller indie film and TV producers hardest, and the end of access to support and training funds like the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Since 2007, the UK screen sector has benefitted from GBP298 million in funding from EU programmes, according to the BFI. (The UK government said in its Brexit White Paper in July that it is open to exploring its continued involvement in Creative Europe, which the UK will remain a part of until it ends in 2020.) However, weighing up the likely impact, the BFI report concluded that: “Most of the exit scenarios result in net adverse impacts on the UK’s screen sector.” As the deadline for EU departure draws nearer, one issue in particular is looming large in the minds of producers and facilities – the free movement of people. When the UK exits the EU, the current freedom of movement rules will end. The exact rules that will replace this are as yet unclear – and are set to be outlined in the government’s long delayed immigration white paper. If the UK leaves the single market, UK firms wishing to hire EU workers may need to apply for Tier 2 visas for skilled workers – similar to those used for employees from the rest of the world. These currently cost GBP464 per person for up to three years, but come with an Immigration Skills Charge, which is GBP1,000 per employee per year, plus an Immigration Health Surcharge of GBP200 per employee per year. Crucially, companies would not be able to hire nonUK workers for vacant positions with salaries below a threshold income level, currently GBP30,000 a year.

The UK Screen Alliance estimates that extending the Immigration Skills Charge alone to EEA workers could add up to GBP2.3 million per year to the combined employment costs of the six largest VFX companies, which are responsible for attracting huge amounts of inward investment work from overseas film and TV producers. “The biggest danger to us around Brexit is the free movement of labour,” says UK Screen Alliance chief executive Neil Hatton. He points to recent research conducted by the UK Screen Alliance which shows that approximately one in three people working in VFX come from the EEA and about one in five people working in animation are EEA citizens. There are also still concerns about the short-term movement of people across Europe, particularly for production of film and TV shows. EU membership allows UK companies to easily film in multiple locations throughout Europe, and for EU production outfits to work in the UK. Depending on the exit deal agreed, there could be increased costs and bureaucracy involved with moving production people between the UK and EU. In the UK, for example, non-EU citizens working on a short-term basis in the AV sector must apply for a Tier 5 visa, which requires paperwork and costs approximately GBP244. These visas may apply to EU citizens once the UK leaves the EU, and similar restrictions could be imposed on British workers in the remaining EU member states. Such changes could well discourage some production activity. For productions, it is not just the free movement of people that is a concern – it’s the movement of equipment too. At the moment, production kit can be easily transported around the EU’s internal market. But if the UK does not secure a specific agreement on the movement of equipment, UK producers would need to apply for carnets or carnet-like documents to transport equipment to EU countries, and vice versa. This would increase the cost for UK producers of filming outside the UK, and might reduce the extent to which EU film producers choose to shoot here. Like the plot of a convoluted movie, the exact details of Brexit will only become known towards the very end – and it remains to be seen if the final scene results in feel good or tragic story for the British and European screen sectors.

Images: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find em © 2018 Warner Bros Ent, e Favourite © Fox Searchlight, Outlaw King © Netflix & Mark Mainze.


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tropical thrills media influencers were placed on Chacachacare to explore the remnants of its past as a leper colony run by nuns which supplied authentic frights for the campaign. Darisha Beresford’s abduction thriller The Cutlass (main image) also used the island’s tropical wilderness to similar effect by turning remote and dense jungle habitats into foreboding settings.

The versatility of locations on offer in this island nation deserve more attention than they currently receive. Generous film incentives have enticed a variety of independent feature films and commercial productions but there is still plenty here for adventurous filmmakers to discover.

The islands are actively film friendly and offer a considerable Production Expenditure Rebate Programme for qualifying feature films, TV series, international commercials, documentaries and animations. The rebate is split into three bands; productions spending over USD100,000 access a 12.5% rebate, projects above USD500,000 receive a 15% rebate and those over USD1 million local spend receive the full 35% rebate. An additional 20% rebate is available for local labour, making the rebate one of the most competitive out there.

rinidad and Tobago may be classed as a twin island country, but the two regions offer filmmakers a contrasting set of locations. Trinidad, the considerably larger of the two, is the nation’s economic force with a large industrial sector and is home to 95% of the population. The capital Port of Spain is a bustling tropical metropolis alive with Caribbean culture but also boasts an extensive mix of colonial and modern architecture which makes it stand out from most Caribbean capitals. Tobago, meanwhile, is far less built up, retaining a simplicity and a rural charm. Here, you’ll find the largest selection of Gingerbread houses, a style distinct to the “port of spAin is A region which has tall doors and ceilings, turreted roofs and bustling tropicAl verandas. Both islands offer metropolis Alive plentiful beaches, caves and rain with cAribbeAn forested landscapes but Tobago’s culture but boAsts Main Ridge Forest Reserve which An extensive mix covers the central portion of the island is the most impressive.

of coloniAl And modern Architecture.”

A recent social media promotion for Warner Bros’ The Nun shot on Chacachacare Island, a 900 acre abandoned islet belonging to the country. The viral-style video exemplifies how the tropical paradise can cater to a range of genres. Two social



Tobago is an archetypal Caribbean island, with unspoilt rainforest, mangrove swamps and sandy beaches lined with palm trees, whilst Trinidad, the larger of the two islands, is more developed. Grande Rivière should definitely be on your list whilst in Trinidad and Tobago, for some turtle watching, kayaking and hiking. The capital city Port of Spain is known for its huge carnival, when exuberant displays of calypso and soca music are performed by steel pan bands. Throughout the year, soak up the city's diverse cultural influences in Woodford Square near the renaissance-style parliament buildings, or at the city's many markets. A local favourite dish is sada roti (flatbread) filled with choka. You can find this and more at Chaud which is a popular fine-dining restaurant in the capital. Images: e Cutlass © e Cutlass Productions. Altin Osmanaj.

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USA: ARIZONA surprisingly versatile

Forget any preconceptions of Arizona that you may harbour. Despite making a name for itself with westerns, the state has such a versatility of landscapes and ecosystems that it can double for almost anywhere in the US and beyond.

rizona is much more than a dry, dusty stretch of desert. The state’s northern region has a four-season climate meaning that productions based in Flagstaff can reach the snow-capped San Francisco Peaks in winter or Cococino National Park, which is set alight with jewel tones in autumn. Just a two-hour drive south however, productions will reach the iconic desert landscapes with rising mountains, saguaro cacti and endless horizons.

Multitudes of western style locations from run down ghost towns like Santa Rosa de Lima to fully fledged filming studios make Arizona a top choice for western productions. Old Tucson and sister studio Mescal are set up for Western productions providing set construction, livestock and stagecoaches, gun wranglers, stunt actors and “ArizonA doesn’t coordinators as well as wardrobes and a prop house. Set amid the currently hAve Sonoran Desert’s sweeping plains A filming tAx these studios have provided the incentive, but backdrop to some of the most insteAd operAtes iconic westerns including four the reel sAvings John Wayne films and George Cosmatos’ Tombstone. Most progrAmme, A recently, British director Alex Cox privAte sector used the sets for his indie western progrAmme to Tombstone Rashomon.

AlleviAte costs of productions.”

But Arizona’s production profile is made up of more than western shoots. Transformers: The Last Knight came to Arizona just to shoot at Desert Valley Autoparts, a junkyard near Phoenix which has an extensive range of preserved 40s, 50s and 60s American cars hard to find elsewhere. Fox’s number one comedy in Mexico Run Coyote Run also films in the state. The dramedy follows two best friends living in a border



Sun Devil Stadium, Pheonix

This large open-air stadium is located on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. It has been home to the Arizona State Sun Devils since 1958. The large open-air stadium originally held a crowd of 30,000 but had its capacity almost doubled in the mid-seventies. Numerous film crews have shot here, but perhaps the most notable was Frank Pierson’s 1976 version of A Star is Born. Over 45,000 people crowded into the stadium to see Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson perform songs for the rock’n’roll romantic drama. The duo performed five songs to the crowd, one of which, Evergreen, went on to win Streisand the Oscar for Original Song. The film also shot in numerous locations throughout Arizona including Pima County Courthouse in Tucson, Arizona and Empire Ranch in Sonita, Arizona.

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town divided by a fence. One lives in Naco, Arizona and one in Naco, Sonora Mexico. Much like the show, filming takes place both in Mexico and in Arizona.


Arizona offers a Reel Savings Rebate/Discount Programme. Participating Arizona vendors provide discounts on their products and services for filmmakers who are either registered to the Arizona Production Directory, or have registered their projects with Arizona Film & Digital Media. Arizona also offers fee-free state lands and state roads. ATA CARNET


Arizona has two international airports: Phoenix Sky Harbor and Tucson International. Both have numerous daily non-stop flights coming and going from Los Angeles. Northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon can be accessed from the Flagstaff Airport. RECENT pRODUCTIONS

Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight, Theo Savie’s Wish Man, Mark Hannah’s Amazed By You, Clay Moffat’s Pocketman And Cargoboy, Theo Davies’ Wish Man. TIME zONE


Modern Studios opens in December 2018, Sneaky Big Studios, Reel Men Rentals, Arizona Studios and Sun Studios of Arizona. CONTACT

Arizona Film and Digital Media (1 602) 845 1296 / Film Tucson (1 520) 909 5142 /


Filming at the Grand Canyon is possible but permits must be sourced from the National Parks Service. Unlike state parks where no fees are charged, applications cost USD100 and must be submitted at least four to six weeks before filming. The visuals that can be captured here are stunning as a recent commercial for Swedish telecom brand Com Hem demonstrates. The spot features a young boy flying a lifesize toy plane over the orange hued desert horizon, swooping through the carved-out arches of monument valley and soaring around the canyon. To create the advert, Bleck Sweden captured aerial shots in Arizona, while the plane was added in post. Arizona doesn’t currently have a filming tax incentive, but instead operates the Reel Savings programme, a private sector programme to alleviate costs to productions. Commissions have relationships with relevant businesses and vendors that provide savings and discounts. Hotels around the state, for instance, provide up to a 50% discount. While Arizona has undoubtedly lost out on some high-profile work because of the lack of incentive, there are advantages to the system; money is saved up front rather than after the event, there are no caps on savings and little paperwork is involved. To access the Reel Savings, just register your project with Arizona Film and Digital Media. Moreover, Arizona tends to be cheaper than surrounding states, making it a favourite for independent features including award-winning When I Sing and the British Cactus Boy. Shelli Hall, Director of Film Tucson said “we work hard to support creators in maximising both their budgets and their creative visions in our Southern corner of the state. We’re proud of Tucson’s great filmmaking legacy which started with the many Westerns that filmed here like Clint Eastwood’s The Outlaw Josey Wales and continued through the decades with films directed by some of the industry’s greatest: Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic and David O Russell’s Three Kings”. There are an increasing amount of studio and post-production facilities available in Arizona too. Sneaky Big Studios in Scottsdale has bolstered the state’s indoor filming options and facilitated commercial productions for Harley Davidson and live broadcasts for CNN. The USD20 million development has two sound stages as well as postproduction and audio editing facilities.

the northern region hAs A four-seAson climAte meAning thAt productions bAsed in flAgstAff cAn reAch the snow-cApped sAn frAncisco peAks in winter.


Arizona teems with exciting travel adventures. America’s famed route 66 passes through the state and the majestic beauty of the Grand Canyon National Park and the Sonoran Desert are not to be missed. More often missed by visitors is the Chiricahua National Monument whose volcanic rocks have been carved into rock pinnacles (pictured below) and balancing formations by rain and wind. Film buffs should go to Kolb Studio sitting on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The original Kolb brothers’ studio where they made a living photographing parties descending the Bright Angel Trail in the early 20th century has been turned into a museum. Nowadays, the museum shows the silent films of the brothers’ early explorations of the Colorado river. Arizona has some of the best Mexican food in the Southern USA. Head to Ladera Taverna y Cocina in Phoenix for barbacoa hash, chicken enchiladas and dulce de leche French toast.

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How to make the most of the Global Production Deluge Data from FX Networks show that 487 original scripted series aired in 2017, a 40% rise on 2013 and an increase of 168% from 2002. This continues to rise, with an update from FX Networks in mid-2018 pointing to a 5% increase of scripted series over the same period in 2017. Image: Gnep Photo


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HigH lEvEls OF Film aNd Tv pROduCTiON aRE CREaTiNg majOR OppORTuNiTiEs FOR EsTablisHEd aNd EmERgiNg pROduCTiON Hubs aROuNd THE wORld. ENsuRiNg THaT pROduCTiON CapaCiTy CaN sERviCE dEmaNd sHOuld bE a sTRaTEgiC pRiORiTy FOR bOTH, wRiTEs lEON FORdE OF sTRaTEgy CONsulTaNTs OlsbERg•spi.


riven by voracious consumer demand and increasing investment flow, including from well-resourced streaming platforms, recent years have seen unprecedented levels of film and TV drama production. Data from FX Networks show that 487 original scripted series aired in 2017, a 40% rise on 2013 and an increase of 168% from 2002. This continues to rise, with an update from FX Networks in mid-2018 pointing to a 5% increase of scripted series over the same period in 2017. Meanwhile, over 8,000 feature films were produced worldwide in 2017 according to data collated by the European Audiovisual Observatory – an increase of 22% from 2013. The result is a production deluge that is creating opportunities on a global scale. Producers routinely examine the global production landscape to ascertain the most beneficial jurisdiction – or jurisdictions – to undertake production, with the decision based on a combination of financial, creative, and logistical factors. Research by FilmL.A. shows that the US was the primary production location for 50% of the top 100 films at the domestic box office in 2017, the lowest share since 2013. TV drama producers are just as focused on the benefits of international production as their colleagues in the cinema sector. The fact that over 90 automatic production incentives are now in operation at country, state and province level around the world underlines that fact that many jurisdictions have opted to sharpen the competitiveness of their financial offer – as well as demonstrating that governments well understand the economic and cultural benefits of building competitive production sectors. However, while such incentives are indeed a major consideration in where projects are located, they are not the only competitive factor – and the question of production capacity is now emerging as a critical strategic issue for jurisdictions seeking to build or maintain strong production sectors. A competitive incentive rate may draw the attention of producers, but if the offer is not underpinned by a robust base of crew, talent and production facilities, growth will be a challenge. Lack of capacity inhibits the

ability to adequately service production, damages reputation and can add cost for producers who may have to import necessary skills and services. The issue of capacity demand is exacerbated by the sheer scale of many major productions. These can require a significant volume of highly-skilled crew, plus a high standard of production facilities and services, meaning capacity can be used up quickly. For governments, a key attraction of the screen sector is its ability to create highly-skilled and future-facing employment. However, building such skills requires careful planning and capacity development should always be linked to underlying production incentive or funding strategy. Indeed, an incentive mechanism can be leveraged to help expand capacity – by offering a value uplift for projects that hire local personnel in specified key roles, for example, or requiring applicant projects to employ a certain proportion of locals or interns to ensure knowledge transfer. While such a strategy can help develop skills, the need to build capacity becomes very urgent if jurisdictions are able to attract large productions. A rapid response is therefore required, which ideally would move to close skills and capacity gaps by linking training provision, and career transfer help, with industry need to create clearer pathways into the sector. In this way, capacity demand can be used to widen workforce diversity by ensuring broader access to information and opportunities. Targeted professional development courses should also be created to assist those already working in the industry to progress. Such a targeted response starts with identifying and prioritising capacity needs. To this end, SPI has developed the Production, Infrastructure and Capacity Audit (PICA) service. This provides a bespoke analysis of a country or region’s ability to service specific levels of international projects across skills, infrastructure and services, so that weak points can be quickly identified, prioritised, and a strategy implemented to strengthen the offer. The production opportunity is significant and global. It is crucial that jurisdictions ensure they are ready to benefit, and not get lost in the deluge.

Olsberg•SPI is a creative industries consultancy firm that provides a range of expert strategic advisory services to public and private sector clients, specialising in the worlds of film, TV, video games and digital media. It offers a Production, Infrastructure and Capacity Audit (PICA) service to ascertain current and build future capacity levels.


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back on top

Basing projects in the nerve centre of the entertainment industry is a no-brainer for many productions. A dynamic incentive programme ensures big budget features and TV series can justify the choice and has encouraged productions to look beyond Hollywood’s studio zone.

alifornia has largely recovered from a moment of uncertainty. A 2013 report published by Film L.A. showed that the state’s dominant industry was being eroded by increasingly generous out-of-state film incentive programmes. Over the preceding decade, California’s share of one-hour TV series had dropped by 36%. The statistics for feature film production were just as startling.

In 2015 the state government took decisive action to curb numbers of runaway productions by tripling funds for its incentive programme. Now, The California Film Commission oversees an annual budget of USD330 million guaranteed until 2019/20. The revamped programme, which specifically targets returning productions and encourages use of the state-wide “in 2015 the production infrastructure, has largely been successful, attracting stAte government nearly USD6 billion in direct took decisive spend to California over the last Action to curb three years.

numbers of runAwAy productions by tripling funds for its incentive progrAmme.”

The return of TV series is the most significant area of recovery. The non-transferable 25% tax credit available to relocating TV series which filmed the most recent season outside of California has proved very effective. In the first-year numerous productions including American Horror Story and The OA returned to film in LA where they had made their first season. For subsequent seasons filmed in California the credit is reduced to 20%.



Pasadena’s Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Centre (pictured above) is the perfect spot for rest and relaxation being within easy reach of LA. The library has over six million rare books and the art collection includes work by Andy Warhol and Edward Hopper. Set in 120 acres of ground, the estate has 12 themed gardens such as the Japanese Garden which has courtyards of bonsai, waterways and a tea room. San Francisco, on the other hand, is one of the state’s cosmopolitan highlights but being built on steep inclines, exploring the city by foot can be tiring. Instead, hop on a cable car, the city-wide public transport system that has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in 1873. San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest in the nation. We suggest seeking out Mister Jiu’s for a western take on traditional Cantonese cooking where communal dining is encouraged.

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Feature films, non-returning scripted TV series and TV pilots with minimum budgets of USD1 million as well as miniseries with a USD500,000 minimum budget can apply for a 20% non-transferable tax credit. An additional 5% uplift can be accessed for expenditure related to out-of-zone-filming, defined as original photography incurred outside the 30-mile Studio Zone. Visual effects work, music scoring and music soundtrack recording that represents 75% of the VFX budget or has a minimum local spend of USD10 million are also eligible for the uplift. For the first time, incentives are available to blockbusters with budgets over USD75 million. Warner Brothers’ A Wrinkle in Time was the first big-budget production to make use of the upgraded state support. Numerous others have chosen to film in the state since, many of which would not have received state support under the previous programme. For example, the much-anticipated Captain Marvel received an estimated USD20.75 million credit and Tarantino’s new offering Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (pictured below) has received USD18 million in credits. A higher 25% transferable tax credit supports independent films with a minimum budget of USD1 million, which applies to the first USD10 million of qualified expenditure. The highest amount a production can receive is 25% of its budget, including any uplifts. Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission, who manages the credit programme notes that “we’ve seen an increase in both film and TV production across California in large part due to our expanded incentive programme. But what keeps producers coming back to California is the ease of working here with our skilled crews, vast infrastructure and variety of locations”. Hollywood itself has comprehensive facilities and crew pools, but state-wide, the production infrastructure is extensive. Projects vying for the 5% credit uplift on regional filming have encouraged the growth of statewide facilities. Santa Clarita Studios, for instance, has seventeen stages on site and recently expanded its office space to accommodate more productions. Feature film A Wrinkle in Time based its production there, while Netflix series’ The Santa Clarita Diet and Atypical both shot in the studios. The endless array of outdoor settings used to double for global locations is another major advantage of filming in California. Everything and anything can be found in the state whose topography encompasses the arid deserts of the Mojave to the



A range of commercials all shot in LA

Q: Why do people want to shoot

in California? A: There’s no specific reason, other than the glamour of Hollywood, the brilliant pool of talent, the iconic locations, the jaw-dropping scenery from mountain to ocean to desert to city and the amazing crews who are amongst the best in the world. Oh, and the fact that most of the time the weather’s great too. Q: Is there anything specific you need to

know before bidding a job there? A: Shooting in LA is great from the perspective that you can have literally whatever you need. It’s such a film friendly place that nothing is really impossible; art department and visual effects can bring your dreams to life. But all of that does come at a cost. It’s not the cheapest place to shoot, and you need to be very buttoned up on what you are bidding for before you start. LA is not a town where you want to start piling on the overtime or adding to the brief.

And make sure that you understand about the union situation with your crew, your director and your client. The unions are very strong and you have to respect their rules. If you do, everything will go smoothly. Q: Do you have any restaurant

recommendations in LA? A: The Tasting Kitchen in Venice, Capo in Santa Monica, Kazu on Ventura boulevard in studio city and Sushi Park on Sunset in West Hollywood are all great.


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Tax credits are available for scripted TV projects and feature films. Feature films must have a USD1 million minimum budget. Credit allocation applies only to the first USD100 million in qualified expenditures, plus uplifts. 20% for non-independent (studio) film and TV projects, 25% for independent films and relocating TV series for first season in California. TAX CREDIT

20-25% TRAVEL

California has 25 commercial service airports. The four major ones are in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Oakland. RECENT pRODUCTIONS

Susanne Bier’s Bird Box, Pierre Morel’s Peppermint, Anna Boden and Ryan Flecks Captain Marvel, Jordan Peele’s Us. ATA CARNET



Much of California has a Mediterranean-like climate with warm, dry summers and mild winters. Most of the state gets very little rain, allowing for exterior filming year round. March through early May is one of California’s most beautiful times of year with less crowds and warm weather. SOUND STAGES

California has hundreds of sound stages across the state with over 500 stages in the Los Angeles area alone. CONTACT

California Film Commission (1 323) 860 2960 Images: Big Little Lies ©2017 Home Box Office, Inc. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Andrew Cooper ©2018 CTMG, Inc. Filed Image


immense mountainous elevations of the Sierra Nevada and Sacremento’s flat Delta, not to mention 840 miles-worth of varied coastline. Hit series Big Little Lies (main image) based production in LA, but key scenes were shot in Monterey and Big Sur, a region to the south of San Francisco. Dramatic shots of precipitous cliffs and the windswept shoreline of Del Monte beach became central to the character of the series. Garrapata State Park and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve were also used during filming. In contrast, Wilson’s recent Play Your Heart Out campaign brought tennis star Roger Federer and DJ Money Mark to the middle of the Mojave Desert to collaborate on a track made from sounds produced in the sandy flats. Film Liaisons in California (FLICS) is a network of regional film offices that work together to make sure production needs are met. Cassandra Hesseltine, President of the association says “our 41 offices working together to make filming in California a great experience is the goal of our organisation", going on to note that "FLICS offers so much to filmmakers, from consulting in the beginning phases of a production, helping find the perfect locations, walking productions through permitting, and providing help with all the necessary local resources. Our members are experts in their local regions. So when a production has unique requests, as they all do, we're here to help make their experience smooth by offering creative, workable solutions. Our offices are dedicated to helping any production, from a team of two, to full-blown studio features with crews of hundreds. If one FLICS member doesn't have what a production needs, chances are another does”. California enjoys sunshine most of the time, making outside shooting possible all year round. Free permits are administered, and no location fees are charged to shoot on some California State properties such as beaches, parks, buildings and roads.


Bradbury Building, Los Angeles Gold-mining millionaire Lewis Bradbury commissioned the Bradbury Building in downtown Los Angeles. Opened in 1893, the building’s modest sandstone exterior is deceiving. Inside, a lofty atrium sheds light over a central court. Ornate wrought-iron railings circling five stories (pictured above) and marbled stairs add to the hall’s Victorian grandeur and two open cage elevators, still operated by human conductors, move between the floors. These days, most of the offices belong to the internal affairs division of the Los Angeles Police Department but the building has often been used for filming. The balconies allow crews to shoot a range of angles and high ceilings can accommodate lighting and camera equipment. Some of the guises the building has taken on include a Burmese Hotel for 1942’s China Girl and a military hospital for White Cliffs of Dover in 1944. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner transformed the Bradbury into a dystopian, futuristic ruin where the films climactic chase scene took place. More recently, (500) Days of Summer used it as an office block and a Twix commercial doubled it for a chocolate factory.

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ADFEST 2019 By the middle of next decade, Asia Pacific will be the biggest advertising region in world. That prediction comes from Zenith Media, which recently reported that Asia Pacific is now the biggest driver of global ad spend growth with the region set to account for 33.8% of global advertising expenditure in 2020 alone. Against this backdrop, it’s little wonder that regional advertising show Adfest is fast building a global reputation as Asia's answer to the Cannes Lions festival – and is now attracting the attention of all the big global agencies. Bangkok and Tokyo agencies took home most of the prizes – the Lotus Awards - at last year’s event, when it celebrated its 21st birthday. Adfest takes place each March in Pattaya, Thailand – and the theme for 2019 is TMRRW.TDAY,


devised by Eric Cruz, executive creative director of AKQA in Shanghai in collaboration with advisory body Adfest Collective. “Our industry today is too cautious so TMRRW.TDAY is about resetting our skills and being braver,” says Cruz. Grand Jury President for the 2019 edition is Leo Burnett’s executive chairman and global chief creative officer Mark Tutssel. He will oversee Adfest’s two most prestigious categories, the INNOVA Lotus, which recognises the region’s most innovative ideas, and Lotus Roots, which celebrates the creative impact of local culture. Other jury presidents include Prettybird partner Ali Brown who will lead the Film Craft Lotus and New Director Lotus; dentsu X global president Mitsuyuki Nakamura, who will lead the first-ever eCommerce Lotus categories; Cheil Worldwide chief creative officer Hyewon Oh, who will lead the Brand

Experience & Engagement Lotus and Direct Lotus jury; and Hakuhodo Inc’s Yang Yeo who will head the Outdoor Lotus and Press Lotus. Adfest 2019 will again be divided into two streams: Craft@Adfest on 20-21 March and Creative@Adfest on 22–23 March. The former is dedicated to craft and technology, highlighting the latest production, digital, content and technology trends. Creative@Adfest will “focus on inspiring and pushing the boundaries of the creative and communications industry in the Asia Pacific and MENA region,” according to Jimmy Lam, President of Adfest. For more details about the festival, see

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USA: HAWAII tropical haven

The unique character of Hawaii continues to attract big budget productions and the state is more than capable of facilitating the needs of projects enticed by the singular cultural and natural makeup of the islands.

isually, there is no place on the planet quite like Hawaii. 90% of the native plants and animals found on the islands can only be found in the Hawaiian archipelago and each island has a unique character and climate. Productions will encounter tropical flora and fauna, volcanic peaks, resplendent beaches and horizons looking out over the immense Pacific Ocean.

Commercials and music videos often venture to the islands to capture these one-of-a-kind backdrops. Jeep harnessed the atmosphere of the surfing paradise for branded spots Surfing Journeys in 360 while music video Garden for popstar SZA captured glamourous, entrancing visuals featuring the songstress on black sand beaches and amidst the other worldly jungles.

“the stAte film office is well versed in bAlAncing requests from incoming productions with the needs of the islAnd’s inhAbitAnts. ”

The islands’ natural elements delivered the prehistoric feel that 1993 hit Jurassic Park required and recent reboots Jurassic World and Fallen Kingdom returned to film on the islands of Oahu and Kauai. The recent revival of the franchise has boosted Hawaii’s production profile once again exposing the state as the ideal exotic jungle destination. Since then, the small but solid infrastructure has facilitated shoots for features. Kong: Skull Island filmed throughout Oahu, Hawaii Island and Maui. Jumaniji: Welcome to the Jungle and Marvel’s Inhumans also filmed on Oahu. Oahu, the third largest island and where most islanders live, is the production centre. State-owned Hawaii Film Studio is located 15 minutes from the



Kualoa Ranch, Oahu

Kualoa is one of the most sacred places on the island of Oahu. An area of incredible historic significance, Kualoa (pictured above) consists of a 4,000 acre private nature reserve as well as a working cattle ranch which focuses on environmental preservation and sustainability. Stretching from the steep mountain cliffs to the sparkling waters of Kaneohe Bay there is a lot to take in here. Explore the site on horseback or take a UTV Guided Tour and you half expect to see a dinosaur. Located on the eastern shores of Oahu, Kualoa is just 24 miles from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu’s Waikiki district. Some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster movies and TV shows were filmed here. Jurassic Park, Gozdilla, Pearl Harbour and scenes from TV series Lost were shot at the ranch. The rich beauty of the ranch remains quiet and secluded, which makes it a very desirable location for filming.

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state capital Honolulu with a 16,500sqft sound stage. The studio has housed long running TV series Hawaii Five-0 since 2011.


The minimum requirement for in-state spend is at least USD200,000. The credit equals 20% of qualified production costs incurred on Oahu and 25% on the neighbouring islands of Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, Maui and Molokai.


The Hawaii Film Office offers a 20 to 25% refundable tax credit which is set to continue until 2026. Productions based on Oahu can access the 20% bracket while location filming on the outer islands is specifically incentivised at 25%. A minimum in state spend of USD200,000 is required and payments have a per-production cap of USD15 million.


Cultural tests do apply. For example, productions must provide evidence that financial or in-kind contributions or educational and workforce development have been made towards the local film, television and digital media industries valued at the greater of 0.1% of Hawaiian spend, or USD1,000.


25% Getting to Hawaii from continental US is very easy, with frequent flights from various US states and the majority landing at Honolulu airport. If you’re travelling from Europe, expect a really long flight with stopovers.



CBS’ Hawaii Five-O, JA Bayona’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, TV series Inhumans. BEST TIME TO SHOOT

The weather in Hawaii is almost always warm and sunny. Typically the rain season is November to March but the rain will sometimes come and go in short intervals during the day. SOUND STAGES

You’ll find the Hawaii Film Studio just 30 minutes away from Honolulu airport. It is the state-owned sound stage in Hawaii. There are other sound stages based on Oahu such as Hawaii Media and Island Film Group. Honua Studios is based on The Big Island. CONTACT

Hawaii Film Office (1 808) 586 2570 Images: MN Studio, Bruce, Sergiy N and Maridav.


With increasing traffic looking for a tried and tested tropical Eden, the state film office is well versed in balancing requests from incoming productions with the needs of the island’s inhabitants. Productions must be sensitive to the history, language and culture which makes up the very fabric of the islands. The native Hawaiians developed a special relationship with the land based on the belief that we are directly related to the plants and animals around us. Some locations with cultural or environmental sensitivities necessitate special requirements to film. This may include performing a blessing at a location before filming commences or having supervisory state personnel present on a shoot.

The office also oversees all permits for filming on state-administered locations. Weekend filming is discouraged, particularly for popular locations and requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. Many state locations are free to use but special fees of USD100 per day can apply to airports, harbours and highways, beaches and parks and to film in areas held for Native Hawaiians that are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, a permit costs at least USD1,000 per day. From LA, the flight time is only six hours, but European based productions should expect a journey of at least 16 hours. Most flights land at Honolulu International Airport on Oahu Island. Flights from the US can also take you directly to Maui, Big Island and Kauai. Flying is also the best option for interisland travel. The most in demand routes have frequent flights which depart every hour or so. Commuter airlines provide these flights which range from 25 to 50 minutes.

with increAsing trAffic looking for A tried And tested tropicAl eden, the stAte film office is well versed in bAlAncing requests from incoming productions with the needs of the islAnds’ inhAbitAnts.


Each island in the Hawaiian chain has a unique culture celebrated at every opportunity by islanders with art, theatre, dance and cuisine. Pretty much everything here feels easygoing, low key and casual, bursting with genuine aloha and fun. Visiting the islands’ plethora of waterfalls and national parks to explore foliage and beaches with gold, red, black and even green sands is a must and taking in a golden sunset on one of the many beaches is a highlight of any trip. A local snack known as shave ice is similar to a snow cone, but instead of the ice being crushed, it’s shaven. Some families drive from Honolulu to the North Shore just to stand in line at family owned Matsumoto's for cones packed with island flavors, such as liliko, banana, mango and pineapple.

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USA: MISSISSIPPI southern belle from classic antebellum Southern mansions, and pre-civil war residences through to middle-class ranches and it has extensive surrounding cotton fields, much like the Jackson of fifty years ago. But, while the state shows off its rich history, it is forward looking and has ample contemporary settings. Upcoming Blumhouse Productions’ psychological thriller Ma starring Octavia Spencer has recently been filming in the state, as has comedy The Hollars starring John Krasinski and Anna Kendrick.

Mississippi has a long history of welcoming productions, but the state’s versatile settings remain surprisingly underused. However, a decent film incentive has managed to attract a mix of high-end features and low budget independents which keeps Mississippi on the big screen.

The state’s cash rebate film incentive returns 25% on expenditures made to Mississippi vendors as well as 30% on the payroll of Mississippi residents and an extra 5% for any resident who is a veteran of the US Armed Forces. The scheme accommodates small independent projects as the minimum spend is set at USD50,000 as well as larger productions since there is a USD10 million per project cap. tiff competition from nearby production hubs in Louisiana, Georgia and Florida, has meant that Mississippi has remained under the radar to a large extent. But the state, whose versatile pastoral settings and historic towns are synonymous with southern charm, has reeled in a steady number of period dramas as well as an increasing range of contemporary features.

The landscapes available in the state range from agricultural scenery throughout the Mississippi Delta to rolling hills along the Natchez Trace and white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. Get on Up (main image), Universal’s James Brown biopic is a great example of the versatility of these locations. None of the film the stAte’s cAsh rebAte takes place in Mississippi but it was film incentive returns all shot in the state. Not only did 25% on expenditures cityscapes double for Cincinnati, mAde to mississippi Ohio and Augusta, Georgia but the suppliers As well As Mississippi Coliseum stood in for 30% on the pAyroll of Madison Square Gardens and the state also provided global settings mississippi residents including Vietnam and Paris. Mississippi is well set up for period dramas. The majority of 2011’s The Help filmed in the Greenwood, a city in the eastern Delta which easily transformed into the state capital of Jackson in the 1960s. Greenwood’s architectural highlights range



Mississippi is often referred to as the spiritual home of blues, rock ‘n’ roll and country music. Diehard Elvis fans make the pilgrimage to his birthplace in Tupelo, while Muddy Waters’ sharecropper cabin is one of the things to see at The Clarksdale Delta Blues Museum. Music is so engrained here that state capital Jackson is dubbed the city of soul. For a true Mississippi music experience, head to Red’s Juke Joint where true musicians play the blues in an electric atmosphere. If you’re not so into rock and roll, visit one of Mississippi’s excellent restaurants that range from something creative and upscale through to good down-home Southern soul food. Images: Get On Up Photo by D Stevens - © 2014 Universal Pictures. Steven Gaertner.

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Creative Accounting

The well-publicised billions that streamers like Netflix and Amazon spend on content has lured some of the world’s top creative talents into their fold. But how does their spend on content really compare to long established broadcast players, and with other creative sectors like film and commercials? In other words, who should creatives in need of funding really be pitching to?


oney talks – and all of a sudden it is doing so very loudly in the creative industries. One of unusual characteristics of the rise of streaming firms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu is the emphasis on how much money they are spending on content. Stories about Netflix’s plans to spend USD8 billion on content in 2018 are reported widely in the press. So too is the fact that Amazon has earmarked USD4.5 billion for content in 2018, while Hulu’s budget is in the region of USD2.5 billion. The extensive reporting of these figures is unusual because the creative industries have long been reluctant to tell the world how much they spend – preferring instead to publicise how much they make


when shows are a hit. Publicising the figures serves a purpose for the streamers though, both in helping to underline their rise and the extent to which they are disrupting the film and TV industry. The huge production budgets also unsettle established broadcasters and film studios – and, crucially, act like a magnet for producers who are now beating a path to the streamers with their best ideas. But, are producers right to be directing their energies towards the likes of Netflix and Amazon – how does their spend compare with established players? And is it all about high-end TV now – what about spend in other creative production sectors like film and commercials? Which really invests the most in original content?

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TElEvisiON: sTill dOmiNaNT TV is the largest of the creative media. Global TV revenues stood at USD484 billion (GBP366 billion) in 2016, according to Ofcom’s 2017 International Communications Market Report.

THE assOCiaTiON OF iNdEpENdENT COmmERCials pROduCERs’ mEmbER suRvEy puT THE aNNual spENd ON us vidEO COmmERCial pROduCTiON aT abOuT usd6 billiON.

The British regulator calculated that broadcaster spend on TV production was highest in the US, with USD53 billion (GBP40 billion) invested in content, of which USD21 billion (GBP16 billion) went on original content. Breaking this down, research by business intelligence firm L2 Inc reported that Comcast’s NBC planned to spend USD4.3 billion on original programming in 2017, compared with USD4 billion for Disney’s ABC and USD2.5 billion by HBO. In other markets, the USD10.6 billion (GBP8 billion) UK broadcasters spend on content, with USD4.6 billion (GBP 3.5 billion) spent on first-run original content, is the highest of all European countries according to Ofcom. Public service channels in the UK spent USD2.8 billion (GBP2.1 billion) on first-run UK-originated content in 2016, with just under 50% of this coming from the BBC. Given that Netflix’s USD8 billion budget is invested globally in both TV and film, and that roughly 85% goes on original compared to licensed content, then it’s clear the streaming service is a major content player – but that its overall expenditure is spread very widely, and very thinly in many countries. The BBC recently claimed that Netflix and Amazon only spent GBP150 million a year on new UK programmes. In terms of TV, therefore, producers would do well to target the streamers – but companies like Netflix are just one (quite big) player among many other well-funded TV outfits. Film: paRTial disClOsuRE Film is a significantly smaller market than TV. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) reported that global box office for all films reached a record high of USD40.6 billion in 2017, while home entertainment revenues for digital and discs hit USD47.8 billion – so over USD88 billion in total. In terms of expenditure on film content, however, figures are harder to come by given that full production budgets are rarely disclosed.

Images: A Discovery of Witches © Sky UK Limited, House of Cards © Netflix & David Giesbrecht, Outlaw King © Netflix & David Eustace.

A recent Film LA report looked at the top 100 box office hits of 2017, and concluded that they represented over USD7.55 billion in direct production spending – and had an average budget of USD74.3 million. This money was spent all over the world, but particularly in production hubs such as the UK, Canada, Atlanta and California. Although this USD7.55 billion figure accounts for just the top 100 films, it likely covers a large portion of total global film spend given that a few big budget films account for a significant amount of total film expenditure. That becomes clear when one considers that the UK is the leading global hub for film and, according to the British Film Institute, a record GBP1.9 billion was spent on film production 2017, with USD1.69 billion of this from inward investment films. COmmERCials: gO FiguRE There is no single source that estimates total advertising production spend, according to the US trade body ANA (Association of National Advertisers). The Association of Independent Commercials Producers published the results of a member survey from 2016 which put the annual spend on US video commercial production at about USD6 billion. That consists of TV commercials, online films, and website content. There are no equivalent figures for other key markets such as the UK. Televisual magazine’s Commercials 30 survey reported that the average turnover of the top 30 commercials producers in the UK came to GBP13.4 million in 2017 – or GBP402 million in total. However, one can get a sense of the size of the global ad market through its revenue figures – an estimated USD629 billion in 2018 according to eMarketer research. puTTiNg iT all iN pERspECTivE Despite a lack of accurate global statistics, it’s clear the TV, commercials and film production sectors are big spenders on content – in that order. To put that spend in context, a 2015 report by Ernst & Young analysed the global creative industries – focusing on everything from architecture and advertising to TV – valued them at a combined generated USD2.25 trillion in revenues – or 3% of world GDP.


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force of nature Geographic’s America the Wild series, but there are many production service companies in Montana who are capable at filming the state’s great outdoors. Montana comes into its own with locations for frontier and western productions. In 2018 Paramount Network’s Yellowstone series filmed throughout the state for the drama based around the cutthroat world of modern ranching while feature film Ballad of Lefty Brown (main image) remained faithful to its narrative of outlaws trekking across the Montana plains by shooting here.

The wealth and magnitude of Montana’s natural settings has kept productions returning here. with wide open plains, raw mountain terrain, gushing rivers and an abundance of wild animals, the state encapsulates the spirit of the wild west.

The weather in Montana can be as extreme as its locations. The west generally has a milder climate than the east which has hotter summers and colder, snowy winters, but weather patterns can be unpredictable throughout the year. Permits to film in the state are generally inexpensive and Montana offers funding to qualifying productions under the Big Sky Film Grant.

cademy Award winning The Revenant, one of the biggest productions to film in the state in recent years, effortlessly demonstrated the grandeur of the Montanan landscape. The survival film following 1800’s frontiersmen cherry picked the most remote and untouched landscapes from around the globe, but one of the most dramatic sequences was captured at Montana’s Kootenai Falls. The climactic scene which sees Leonardo Di Caprio’s character make a dangerous escape along the powerful river and down the cascading falls required stuntmen and a team of kayakers on hand for safety. LA water tanks were used for close ups which were then stitched together with those captured in Montana during post-production. 1994 adventure thriller The River Wild also used this location, which is relatively “permits to film in accessible for productions.

the stAte Are generAlly inexpensive And montAnA offers funding to quAlifying productions under the big sky film grAnt.”

Yellowstone National Park is another popular location in Montana because of its wildlife. Epic Yellowstone, a documentary project for the Smithsonian channel has filmed over two years at the park. Grizzly Creek Films produced the documentary which follows the native grizzly bear population through harsh winters and sweltering summer heat. Grizzly Creek Films are experts in this arena, having also worked extensively for National



Montana really lives up to the nickname big sky country. Rugged valleys, vast prairies and sparkling lakes cover this mountain state. Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks are both home to hundreds of animal species. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Giant Springs Heritage State Park can tell you everything about the trials and tribulations of the regions first western explorers in 1806. Also referred to as the Treasure State because of its abundance of natural resources, reminders of the gold rush are to be found all over Montana such as the deserted Garnet Ghost Town which dates from 1895. For some amazing farm-to-table restaurants Montana comes up with the goods, especially if you want to sink your teeth into excellent steak or buffalo reared on the open plains. Images: e Balld of Ley Brown © Ezra Olson.

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Michael Rose Magic Light Pictures Michael Rose is the joint CEO of Magic Light Pictures, the production company behind Oscar nominated and Bafta winning animations such as Revolting Rhymes, The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Stick Man, and Chico and Rita.

bREXiT pREsENTs a majOR CHallENgE FOR aN aNimaTiON iNdusTRy THaT is slOw mOviNg aNd THaT dEpENds ON lONg TERm plaNNiNg – aNd RigHT NOw NOTHiNg muCH EuROpEaN CaN bE plaNNEd wiTH CONFidENCE bEyONd NEXT maRCH, says magiC ligHT piCTuRE’s miCHaEl ROsE.

s British animation producers face the immense economic and political uncertainties of Brexit, it’s important to remember that the UK animation industry is among the finest in the world. It has creativity and talent in depth and the ability to apply it to first class IP, both originated and adapted material. UK animation producers have always been savvy about how projects are financed, and have learnt to be adept at finding third-party finance, exploiting and retaining rights and forging international co-productions.

Working in Europe, and with Europe, is second nature for the UK animation industry. For example, at Magic Light we’ve worked with directors from Germany, Belgium and Spain and even set up our own studio in Berlin. The results have won BAFTAs, International Emmys and been nominated for four Oscars. As for many UK industries, Brexit presents major challenges: animation is a slow process and depends on long-term planning – a single half-hour special takes 18 months to produce, a series can take two or three years or more – yet right now nothing much European can be planned with confidence beyond next March.


And with UK/EU talks at loggerheads and no immediate signs of clarity, questions abound about outcomes as varied as: participation in the EU’s tremendous Creative Europe programme; the ability of staff members who are European nationals to stay in the UK; the further impact on exchange rates; and many others. Meanwhile in the wider world further challenges confront us all: linear broadcasting giving way to streaming; physical DVD being on death row; audiences fragmenting. Nevertheless the producer’s job often involves holding things together as chaos reigns, so I remain cautiously optimistic for the future. The UK industry is dynamic and entrepreneurial. New markets, audiences and opportunities will open up and we’ll find the ways to continue to make great programmes. And we’ll be looking to the Government for more support, especially around raising the animation tax credit so our production base can compete with Ireland and other countries who offer greater incentives. We’ve built Magic Light pictures on the belief that family audiences want and deserve ‘quality’ – stories that delight and entertain, told in ways that exceed their expectations. The more we live in uncertain times, the more important that belief seems.

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UZBEKISTAN monumental beauty

In recent years Uzbekistan has opened up to foreign travellers and welcomed more international investment. The country’s striking architectural locations and surprising history have always inspired feature films and documentary series to shoot here but reforms have made the logistics of production easier.

itting at the crossroads between China, Persia and Europe, incredible religious monuments and ancient citadels are situated throughout Uzbekistan. Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan’s Mongol armies were active in Uzbekistan and the country was a Soviet Socialist Republic for 65 years, leaving an interesting mix of cultural and architectural heritage still to be discovered by international productions.

Although the production infrastructure remains small, Russia has a long filming history here. Close cultural and political ties have meant that Russian crews were able to enter without visas and could communicate easily in the country. Most recently, 2015 TV series Red Queen and feature film Vysotsky: Thank You for being Alive shot here.

“ sitting At the crossroAds between chinA, persiA And europe, incredible religious monuments And Ancient citAdels Are situAted throughout uzbekistAn.”

The good news for international productions is that Uzbekistan has recently started opening to international investment and tourism. Kayumov Shukhrat from Illusion Pictures notes that "It is easy to get permits and locations are very cheap due to the government’s policy" adding that "labour and extras are cheap too".

Documentaries keen to uncover the country’s rich and varied history are one of the biggest sources of incoming productions. ITV recently shot parts of the Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure series in Uzbekistan which delved into the centuries of war and trade along the route. The production travelled from the Ayaz Kala, a 2500-year-old fortress in the Kyzi-Kum desert, to Khiva (pictured below), a desert citadel where locals



Djuma Mosque, Khiva

The Djuma Mosque is the cathedral mosque of Khiva, an old Silk Road town near Turkmenistan’s northern border. The city’s historic center, referred to as Ichan-Qala, operates as an open-air archaeological museum but is still home to three hundred families. The Djuma Mosque was built over the ruins of the previous mosque at the end of the 18th century. Styled in a typical archaic fashion, the Djuma has a flat ceiling supported by 215 evenly spaced engraved wooden pillars (pictured above). The majority of these were made in the 18th and 19th centuries but differing styles in the carvings suggest that six or seven date back to the original 10th century mosque. A deep, penetrating calm pervades the mosque which provides a cool retreat from the bright desert heat. Sally Potter made fantastic use of the Djuma Mosque’s forest of columns in the sweeping historical epic Orlando during filming which doubled Khiva for Constantinople.

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still live in the historic centre. A stop in Tashkent, the fast-developing capital was followed by a visit to Samarkand, one of ancient Central Asia’s oldest and most cosmopolitan cities.


At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in Uzbekistan. TRAVEL

The main international gateways to Tashkent are Moscow and Istanbul although there are direct flights from most European and Asian cities. Entrance into Uzbekistan will most likely occur at Tashkent International Airport, however a few flights arrive in regional hubs such as Samarkand, Bukhara and Urgench. ATA CARNET



Ben Baclean and Chester Yang’s documentary Cycling Nomads, Issac Solemon’s Unkahi, Sadyk Sher-Niyaz’s Queen Of The Mountains. TIME zONE


Uzbekistan has an extreme continental climate. The south of the country is generally warmer than the north. Winters are cold and snowy, spring has plenty of sunshine with mild conditions, summers are very hot and dry and fall has plenty of sunshine with mild conditions. SOUND STAGES

There are a few sound stages in Uzbekistan, but you will only find them in Tashkent.

Images: Bakhodir Saidov, Javarman, Katherine & Yulia B.


Over the years, some international historical epics have successfully filmed at these sites. Samurkand hosted production for around 80% of the 2005 feature film The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayvam. The Timurid architecture, Islamic edifices and Turquise domes provided the ideal backdrop for the drama based on the life of famous Persian intellectual Omar Khayvam. Meanwhile, in the early nineties Sally Potter’s historical epic Orlando used the city of Khiva to double for ancient Constantinople. The Uzbek government does invest in some projects, especially those promoting Uzbekistan as a destination. Recent co-productions have emanated from India, Indonesia and Japan. In 2018, Japan's Kiyoshi Kurosawa shot in Uzbekistan for To The Ends of the Earth. The film followed a TV crew who have come to Uzbekistan to shoot mysterious places and animals but undergo a life changing experience as they discover Uzbekistan’s culture and mentality. It featured a mix of Japanese and Uzbek actors. Uzbekistan does not currently provide tax incentives, but the low costs of goods and services means that the budgets stretch a long way here. Shukrat estimates that “rental fees are about 60% of the usual cost in Europe”. Additionally, currency reforms which took place in 2017 simplified the logistics of working in the country. Visitors are no longer expected to pay for accommodation upfront in hard foreign currency, doing away with the need to carry large sums of US dollars or Euros around, and banks will happily exchange Euros and US dollars into local s'om. Locations, talent and support crew are inexpensive. There is not a large amount of crew available in the country so productions need to factor in the cost of importing most key personnel. The same applies to more specialised filming equipment. Basic camera lighting and grip equipment can be sourced locally. English and other European languages are not commonly spoken. Uzbek is the official state language, but around 14% of the population use Russian as their primary language. Outside of urban centers it will be essential to have a translator that can communicate in Uzbek as well as the regional languages such as Taajik.

uzbekistAn does not currently provide tAx incentives, but the low costs of goods And services meAns thAt the budgets stretch A long wAy.


Uzbekistan’s rich and varied history can be explored in the Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara (pictured below) and Khiva which never fail to impress with their fabulous mosques, madrassas and mausoleums. Tashkent’s State Fine Arts Museum covers 1,500 years of national art and design with exhibitions containing seventh century Buddhist relics, Greco statues and art from Soviet-era Uzbekistan. To this day, the country remains integral to the silk trade, being the world’s third largest producer. The city of Margilon in eastern Uzbekistan is the traditional center of the industry. Tours of the large commercial Yodgorlik Silk Factory are available, or with the help of a local tour guide, visitors can see inside the smaller family-run workshops in private homes who sell their wares in the Kumtepa Bazaar. The national dish is plov (pilaf ) which consists of rice and fried vegetables. Afsona restaurant in Tashkent serves traditional dishes with a contemporary touch.

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