Slovakia has seen a spike in international film and TV production over the last few years thanks to an enticing new 33% incentive alongside its diverse scenery.
One of the standout projects to shoot recently in the central European country was Shira Piven’s historical drama The Performance, about the Jewish American tap dancer Harold May who was scouted to perform with his troupe for Hitler.
Produced by Daniel Finkelman of US outfit Sparks Next, alongside Chris Milburn and Chaya Greenberg, the drama filmed for 30 days across some of Bratislava’s most historic sites including Reduta — the Slovak national theatre that is home to the Slovak philharmonic orchestra — and the Primate’s Palace.
“Filming went really well, and Slovakia was such a wonderful and diverse location,” says executive producer Alin Bijan. “On one of our last days of shooting, we managed to shut down a street in Bratislava and set up an entire green screen across the buildings, where we had cars from 1937.”
Another big project to shoot in Slovakia last year was season three of Amazon’s action series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. “We found a very talented group of filmmakers, and also developed relationships with a variety of businesses and some contractors, all of whom joined together to make our filming in Slovakia a wonderful experience,” says series producer Howard Ellis. “What I see is that Slovakia is growing into a future destination for international film.”
Warner Bros also shot a couple of projects in the country, including Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore, which filmed for two days, and fantasy feature World’s Eater, directed by Tomas Bencik, which filmed from September 2021. The latter applied for Slovakia’s 33% cash rebate, with local service provider Jumpcat supporting the production. It shot on location in the Low Tatras mountain range in central Slovakia, which is separated from the northern High Tatras by the Vah river.
Other striking Slovakian locations include the city of Kosice, with its preserved historical centre consisting of baroque, renaissance and gothic buildings, and the vast number of castles, fortresses and old mansions, such as the white medieval Spis Castle and fairytale-like Trencin Castle.
Permits usually take about two days to secure for most locations, and about a week for downtown shoots.
A4 Studio in Bratislava has a spacious stage space (70x30 metres), a Spidercam camera system, underground corridors for cables and parking for 600 cars. Other sites include Koliba Studios, Shining Film Studio and Jumpcat, but most productions come for the locations. Slovakia’s skilled multilingual workforce is generally lower priced compared to other European countries.
Most equipment rental companies are based in Bratislava, offering the latest grip equipment, generators, cameras, sound and light equipment, as well as cranes. Other kit can be rented from neighbouring Czech Republic, Hungary or Austria.
Slovakia is a member of the European Union and participates in the Schengen Agreement. Its currency is the euro
Bratislava has direct flights from cities across Europe including Paris, Madrid, Rome and London. The mid and the north of the country are mountainous (Carpathian Curve), with lowlands in the south and east. The Danube river connects to Vienna and Budapest.
First person to contact: Zuzana Bielikova, head, Slovak Film Commission email@example.com