Q&A with Mojca Planšak, Slovenian Film Commission
Where are the best places to shoot a film, high-end TV series or commercial and why?
Slovenia is a land of four distinct macro regions: the Alpine, Mediterranean and Karst, Thermal Pannonian, and Central Slovenian region with the capital city of Ljubljana, all of which can provide distinct and unique film settings.
As a filming destination, Slovenia has many advantages. Most importantly, even the most distant film locations in Slovenia are not more than two hours from Ljubljana, the technical centre, by car. It is also possible to shoot at various locations during the same day, as one can be surrounded by the rolling hills of Pomurje in the morning, while enjoying the sea or looking down from an Alpine summit in the afternoon. Slovenia boasts two climate zones as well: the continental and the coastal. This is extremely convenient for filming, especially during the winter.
Can you tell me about the variety of locations on offer? Can they double for other countries?
Aside from the breath-taking natural features and lovely cities with remarkable architecture, highly experienced professionals in various fields of film-making industry will help you with your project. In short: Slovenia provides unique filming locations and all the logistic and technical support which goes with it.
What makes Slovenia stand-out from other locations?
All the well-preserved historical sites, the number of scenic locations in the immediate vicinity, and the fact that it is possible to shoot in the mountains as well as by the sea in a single day belong among the key factors that qualify Slovenia as one of the most exclusive film locations. Already the following day, the crews can film in the Karst region or the Pannonian Plain.
What international film, TV projects and commercials have you assisted recently and where did they shoot?
Production houses from Italy, the Philippines, Croatia, Serbia, Republic of Korea, USA and Great Britain have taken advantage of the cash rebate and filmed their projects in our country. Large production companies making big, ambitious high-budget films as well as companies that shoot TV series have been interested in filming in Slovenia.
Which major projects have shot in Slovenia recently and where?
A number of movies have already been shot in Slovenia, including The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. The reason was that it resembled New Zealand, where previous Narnia movies had been shot. Also, Bollywood film producers have discovered Slovenia – one of the films shot in Slovenia even featured Indian star actor Upendra, who said he felt like he was in heaven in Slovenia. Apart from movies, Slovenia is also popular for shooting commercials.
Is it easy to get permission to shoot in Slovenia? What is the process for applying and who to?
There is no restriction with regards to the access to filming in public spaces. Permitting is a straightforward process with no extraordinary rules - it typically takes up to five working days for permits in the cities. Not to mention financial incentives for all kinds of visual productions.
What facilities are available in Slovenia?
We are able to provide the logistical and technical support for international film producers as well as a wide range of filmmakers, film experts, artisans and assistants experienced in productions and used to international co-operation.
Can you provide details of the funding/incentives available for international productions that shoot in Slovenia? How do producers apply for it? What is the criteria for receiving the funds? Etc
In line with the model of the majority of the European countries, Slovenia’s 25% cash rebate for foreign productions represents a further incentive for foreign producers to shoot in the Slovenian territory. There is a Public Call that is online. The cash rebate amounts up to 25% of the total acknowledged expenses for the realisation of the (post)production of an individual project spent in Slovenia. The Public Call remains open until the funds are exhausted and applicants should submit their applications at least 45 days before they start shooting (or producing, in case of animated films) in Slovenia.
How experienced are the local crew? Are there enough of them to handle a few major productions shooting in Slovenia at the same time?
The local crew are very experienced and with good management could handle a few productions.
What would international producers need to bear in mind when shooting in Slovenia?
They definitely need a local co-ordinator. Also, there are some restricted areas, such as Lipica or Triglav National Park where special permission for shooting is needed.
For more information on shooting in Slovenia click here and read out forthcoming International Production Guide, due out in January.