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Overview and productions

The film commission in Slovakia is in the process of drawing up a document clarifying what costs are eligible when applying for its enticing local cash rebate, worth 33% to qualifying productions. They include actual incurred and paid costs, including royalties and fees paid to cast and crew registered to pay taxes in Slovakia. Work is being done to simplify the course for applicants looking to shoot in the central European country.

The commission is also spearheading efforts in Slovakia to build new networks and relationships with international producers, studios and streamers, as international interest grows in setting up productions in the country.

“The difficulties of pre-production were a steep learning curve of understanding the peculiarities to Slovakia vs Romania or Hungary on making sure the spend qualifies,” says Illustrious Media founder Chris Milburn, who has bases in London, Los Angeles and Romania. He shot Shira Piven’s historical drama The Performance for 30 days in Slovakia at the end of 2021, using some of capital city Bratislava’s most historic sites including Reduta, the Slovak national theatre and Primate’s Palace. “There is always a better way to reduce these costs and streamline the structure and qualification needs,” he adds. “Compared to some European countries, Slovakia doesn’t have too many of these add-on costs.”

Milburn also brought horror remake The Strangers to Slovakia, which shot for 46 days in 2022 and used Slovak forests as well as locations around Bratislava.

“We used Frame Films SK as our local service provider on both, and are gearing up another film with them, as they have access to local crew in Slovakia and can provide crew from Romania at a competitive rate,” says Milburn, who also co-owns a film studio in Romania with Frame Films. 

Slovakia’s biggest draw is the cash rebate at 33% on everything above and below the line. “Period European shoots, as well as rural contemporary America or contemporary European, all work well in Slovakia,” says Milburn. The ability to shoot for a few days in Vienna or on standing sets in Budapest and still qualify for the rebate is also a great draw. “Having an easily accessible and supportive film commission and audiovisual fund is the icing on the cake,” he adds.

Other striking Slovakian locations include the city of Kosice, with its preserved historical centre consisting of baroque, renaissance and gothic buildings, and a vast number of castles and old mansions, including the white medieval Spis Castle and fairy tale-like Trencin Castle. In central Slovakia, filmmakers can shoot in the Low Tatras mountain range. Permits usually take about two days to secure for most locations and about a week for downtown shoots.

First person to contact: Zuzana Bielikova, head, Slovak Film Commission:

Overview and productions

Locations and permits

Permits usually take about two days to secure for most locations, and about a week for downtown shoots.

Infrastructure and crew

A4 Studio in Bratislava has a spacious stage space measuring 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 lower priced compared to other European countries. 

Most equipment rental companies are 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.

European status

Slovakia is a member of the European Union and participates in the Schengen Agreement. Its currency is the euro

Size Matters

Bratislava has direct flights from cities across Europe including Paris, Madrid 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.

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