Greece has much to offers with a rich array of film locations that have international appeal. A spectacularly beautiful nation, it is home to mountains, beaches, islands and a rich historical architecture dating back to the classical era.
Economic unrest has had an adverse impact on the economy but Greece's strong production base survived. The nation has talented crews and modern rental equipment as a result of the country’s always-thriving TV business and for films and commercials, local companies claim to be cheaper than rival markets such as Spain and Portugal.
Greece now offers a 35% cash rebate to feature films and documentaries - see our incentives page for more details.
In terms of access, capital city Athens is a four-hour flight from London and ten hours from New York. There are also international airports on a number of Greek islands. Greece's locations are generally in close range to each other, so time and money can be saved on travel within the country.
Greece has a rich production heritage, having hosted numerous high-profile films as far back as the 1950s and 1960s (Boy on a Dolphin, The Guns of Navarone, Zorba the Greek etc).
The country hosted scenes in early 2018 for BBC/AMC co-production The Little Drummer Girl, directed by Park Chan-wook and based on John le Carre’s book. Filming spots included iconic Greek locations such as the Acropolis (which was shot at night for the first time) and the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio, while parts of Athens doubled for Middle Eastern story settings.
ITV drama The Durrells filmed four seasons in the UNESCO-protected old town on the island Corfu island, and elsewhere in the countryside. Additionally, the 2018 Bollywood movie Tiger Zinda Hai, starring Salman Khan, filmed dance sequences on the island of Naxos.
The Two Face of January, by director Hossein Amini, starring Oscar Isaac, Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst, filmed in Athens and on various locations in Crete. The musical feature Mamma Mia! with Meryl Streep was shot on the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos.
Greece also remains popular as a commercial production location with recent shoots including a live-action campaign for videogame Assassin's Creed: Odyssey.
Following the introduction of a new Cinema Law in 2010, it is no longer necessary to obtain a general film permit for shooting in Greece. However, producers still need to contact the relevant local authorities and get authorisation from them. To shoot in archaeological sites, a special permit is required from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism – though this is reportedly easier to arrange than it used to be. Specific permits are also needed for aerial shots or to close off public places.
As explained above, Greece has also cut prices for filming at historic sites in Athens. Permitting has also been simplified. Film Policy is led by the Ministry of Culture via the Greek Film Centre. In turn, the GFC has a sub-division entitled the Hellenic Film Commission that aids foreign producers.
Where to begin? Greece has a range of beaches and coastlines, distinctive whitewashed towns, churches in extraordinary locations, superb antiquities, mountains, forests, vineyards, olive groves, rivers, lakes and more. Sights of particular interest include Athens, Santorini, Rhodes, Kefalonia, Crete and Delphi.
Among modern architectural sites are Athens’ Olympic facilities, Thessaloniki Science Centre & Technology Museum and the New Acropolis Museum.
Greece gets 250 days of sunshine a year and has good filming light, so there is little risk of days being lost to the weather (though there are showers in winter and it can get extremely hot in July and August). Locations are quite close together, so travel time between different shooting scenes is quite short.
Athens is the main production centre and here you will find good crews and equipment rental firms. Production support is available from Central Athens Film Productions and also Hellenic Film Commission.
Other local firms that provide production support include Film Greece, which has positive testimonials from clients in Japan, Italy, the UK, US and India. These clients include National Geographic TV and The History Channel.