Making Serbia Part of the Picture

The Serbian film Commission, SFC, has mapped out 160 locations suitable for filming as part of a bid to attract more producers of feature films, TV shows and commercials to Serbia.

The project, financed by the European Union and the Austrian Agency for Development, includes 34 municipalities and cities connected to the river Danube.

Previously, the SFA mapped out and certificated ten municipalities and cities, two public companies and one ministry as being “film friendly”.

It comes at a time when Serbia is becoming increasingly attractive to foreign film crews and is earning more from the business.

In recent years, Hollywood stars such as Kevin Costner, Chris Noth, Pierce Brosnan and Selma Hayek have all shot movies in Serbia, much to the delight of local fans.

Serbia’s selling points when it comes to attracting filmmakers are lower prices than elsewhere, skilled staff and up-to-date studios that can create visual effects and animation.

Although many foreign filmmakers put Serbia on their wish list for filming, the country still earns far less as a film location than neighbouring countries, such as Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania.

In order to make more progress in this field experts say Serbia has to offer the same incentives to filmmakers as neighbouring countries have done.

One carrot would be to return 20 per cent of the money that filmmakers invest in filming, which has long been the practice of Hungary, which earns €100 million a year from foreign productions.

According to the director of the SFA, Ana Ilic, Serbia also needs to relax the regulations on obtaining licences for filming in public places and specific locations.

In Serbia these procedures can last several weeks...

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