Country Focus: Greece
The Hellenic Film Academy reveals study on local industry
by Joseph Proimakis
- A lack of tax incentives and extensive red tape are apparently the main hindrances to the local industry’s efforts to create a more outward-focused appeal, revealed a study presented by the Hellenic Film Academy (HFA) on Tuesday. Commissioned by the HFA in conjunction with the Onassis Foundation, the study was carried out by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, whose scientific advisor, professor Aggelos Tsakanikas, was on hand to present its findings.
The industry’s potential for growth was a major point in Tsakanikas’ presentation, as he noted: “The production of 20 films per year with an approximate budget of €450,000 can result in a €14.2 million rise in the country’s GNP, while creating 272 new jobs throughout the economy.” Onassis Foundation spokesperson Afroditi Panagiotakou pointed out: “The foundation might soon be interested in investing in film production, so it’s useful to know what €450,000 means in terms of supporting the local economy.”
Referring to the country’s co-production capabilities, Tsakanikas added, “A €25 million investment in a big-budget European production can raise the GDP by €39 million,” though the lack of a well-organised and fully functioning Film Commission office, which would alleviate the burden of dealing with the country’s extensive red tape concerning filming licences, was deemed a crucial setback.
“That’s not entirely accurate,” said Greek Film Center (GFC) director Grigoris Karantinakis when subsequently contacted by Cineuropa, in relation to remarks that the existing Film Commission was out of service. “The Film Commission is existent within the GFC, and we are catering to people's needs. The problem is that the pertinent ministries refuse to work together on simplifying the procedures, while on the other hand, we are marred by memorandum demands which prevent us from obtaining the necessary personnel.”
Though Angela Gerekou, Deputy Culture Minister in charge of cinema, did not attend, spokesperson Panagiotis Tsiligiannis assured the presentation attendees that the ministry is already implementing the necessary measures to help the local industry in all the aforementioned fields. “The actions taken are not yet releasable, but we are planning to make announcements by the year’s end,” he added.