Greek tax rebates, film commission to proceed
by Sakis Kontos
The Greek film industry may finally be on its way to further growth according to Minister of Culture Yorgos Voulgarakis, who said that plans for a tax rebate system and a Film Commission aimed at attracting international productions to the country will “definitely proceed”.
Appearing with Film Centre representatives, Voulgarakis said that the two initiatives are included in the yet to be passed new film law, which has been the subject of heated discussions in Greek cinema circles.
According to the minister, too many opportunities were lost in the past to make Greece a filming destination, when foreign producers willing to bring their projects to the country found the bureaucracy and the lack of a coordinating body impossible to bypass.
“[Canadian-Greek director] Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) wants to film here in the autumn. And there are others who I believe have already contacted the [Film] Centre. What I’m saying is that the interest is there. But the mechanism is not. The law will help change all that,” said the minister.
He did not specify details on tax deduction percentages or who and when would work in the Film Commission, initiatives which are now a standard in most countries across Europe that are considered major filming destinations.
The law’s finer points are still under consideration and were supposed to be argued at a National Cinema Conference called by the Ministry next week but many professional associations have already refused participation.
The Film Centre confirmed that their budget for 2007 is set at €7m. An additional €1.5m out-of-budget was allocated directly by the Ministry to directors Theo Angelopoulos and Yannis Smaragdis for their current projects The Dust of Time (I skoni tou hronou) and El Greco respectively.