Spotlight on alternative Greek locations and their doubling potential

KFTV talks to international producers about their experiences filming in stunning lesser-known locations, including the island of Evia, as part of our International Production Guide 2021

Greece has an abundance of stunning historical locations, beautiful islands and sandy beaches to choose from, while Athens is a very diverse city, combining modern and ancient architecture.

“Especially during the Covid era, producers seem to prefer ‘isolated’ areas of Greece where crew and cast can stay safe together during filming [often doubling the place for other locations],” says Andreas Tsilifonis, executive producer at Central Athens Film Production. “Popular locations include Corfu with it’s typical Italian architecture, Santorini’s volcanic landscape, and even the new Olympic venues.”

Here we provide some locations highlights and comments from producers, with the assistance of the Hellenic Film Commission

Highlight: Island of Evia (Euboea)

Situated close to Athens but seems a world apart. The island of Evia has a diverse history and range of scenery, including Aegean beaches and coves on its east coast, a mountainous interior with rivers and forest, and a west coast that includes the city of Halkida, industry and wetlands. Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness filmed on the island from late September to November 2020.

Giorgos Karnavas, producer at the film’s Greek partner, Heretic

“It is a very unique place with a wild background of almost jungle-style greenery and a complex of five beaches. [While we were filming] the weather was unprecedented. We managed to shoot straight summer even up to mid-November.”

Triangle of Sadness

Highlight: Island of Amorgos

One of the hidden gems of the Cyclades islands, untouched by mass tourism, with secluded beaches and beautiful little villages. German director Nana Neul’s road trip movie Daughters (Tochter) filmed on the island in the summer of 2020.

Bettina Brokemper at Heimatfilm, the German co-producers of Daughters

“We were supposed to go from Germany to Italy and then end in Greece. But that changed once we were able to film again (post-lockdown) and instead we started back up in Greece in mid-June on this island. The experience was great, like filming at an outdoor studio where the cast and crew could walk from one location to the other and maintain their social distancing requirements.”

Daughters

Highlight: Elefsina

Elefsina is due to be the European Capital of Culture in 2021, thanks to the city’s mix of archaeological sites with a modern, buzzing café, theatre and growing film scene. The BBC’s Little Drummer Girl series used Elefsina to represent Lebanon (and doubled Nikaia in Athens for Palestine).

Simon Cornwell, The Ink Factory co-CEO and executive producer of The Little Drummer Girl

“The variety and scope of filming locations available in Greece made it the perfect place in which to bring ‘The Little Drummer Girl’ to life. We were able to shoot not only extraordinary scenes set in Greece, but scenes set in the Lebanon, Israel, Yugoslavia (as it then was) and Rome as well. On top of that, the generous support of numerous arms of government, and the highly-talented crew and support team at our wonderful partners Faliro House, made the shoot one to remember and repeat.”

Highlight: Crete

The largest and most populous of the Greek islands. This has been a popular filming backdrop over the years because of its stunning beaches and villages, but it can also pull off a few surprises as a double. Dutch production Do not Hesitate chose the mountains on the island of Crete to showcase Syria. 

Leontine Petit, CEO Lemming Films, producers of Do Not Hesitate

"We did not expect to find such great and suitable locations in Greece not to say in Europe for our project. Due to Heretic and their team the shoot went beyond our expectations.”

Do Not Hesitate

Highlight: Corfu

Located on the north-western side of the country, in the Ionian Sea, Corfu island has a cosmopolitan feeling with stunning beaches. The highlight of the island is the Old Town, with its characteristic Venetian style. Over the past couple of years it has played host to the ITV series The Durrells.

Pat Lees, producer, The Durrells

“Some of the locations were quite remote, however there were always ways to work around them, sometimes with boats, sometimes with trucks. We worked on the last three seasons of the show with the experienced Greek line producer Kostas Raftopoulos who, along with his crew, brought these elements together, assisted with the location permits and created excellent working practices with the UK cast and crew.” 

The Durrells

Highlight: Nisyros 

Not your typical Greek island. This small land mass in the Aegean is also an active volcano with an other-worldly landscape that has the potential to make it a popular filming location. The island is reachable by ship from Piraeus and Kos and also offers a heliport. The island recently hosted the Spanish-Greek co-production drama Window to the Sea, starring Emma Suárez as a woman at the end of her life who travels to the island to escape and finds love.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, writer/director, Window to the Sea

“We shot in Athens and Nisyros in September and October and what was truly amazing was not only the uniqueness of the locations, but the warm weather so late in the autumn and the amazing spirit of the local people and crew. I planned the shots on the terraces in [the picturesque fishing village] Pali, swam in the abandoned harbour of Avlaki, and loved travelling on my motorbike to the shoot on the road to Nikia."

Window to the Sea

This report is an extract from our new issue of the International Production Guide.

Spotlight on alternative Greek locations and their doubling potential
Window to the Sea filming in Nisyros
Spotlight on alternative Greek locations and their doubling potential
Window to the Sea filming in Nisyros

Greece has an abundance of stunning historical locations, beautiful islands and sandy beaches to choose from, while Athens is a very diverse city, combining modern and ancient architecture.

“Especially during the Covid era, producers seem to prefer ‘isolated’ areas of Greece where crew and cast can stay safe together during filming [often doubling the place for other locations],” says Andreas Tsilifonis, executive producer at Central Athens Film Production. “Popular locations include Corfu with it’s typical Italian architecture, Santorini’s volcanic landscape, and even the new Olympic venues.”

Here we provide some locations highlights and comments from producers, with the assistance of the Hellenic Film Commission

Highlight: Island of Evia (Euboea)

Situated close to Athens but seems a world apart. The island of Evia has a diverse history and range of scenery, including Aegean beaches and coves on its east coast, a mountainous interior with rivers and forest, and a west coast that includes the city of Halkida, industry and wetlands. Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness filmed on the island from late September to November 2020.

Giorgos Karnavas, producer at the film’s Greek partner, Heretic

“It is a very unique place with a wild background of almost jungle-style greenery and a complex of five beaches. [While we were filming] the weather was unprecedented. We managed to shoot straight summer even up to mid-November.”

Triangle of Sadness

Highlight: Island of Amorgos

One of the hidden gems of the Cyclades islands, untouched by mass tourism, with secluded beaches and beautiful little villages. German director Nana Neul’s road trip movie Daughters (Tochter) filmed on the island in the summer of 2020.

Bettina Brokemper at Heimatfilm, the German co-producers of Daughters

“We were supposed to go from Germany to Italy and then end in Greece. But that changed once we were able to film again (post-lockdown) and instead we started back up in Greece in mid-June on this island. The experience was great, like filming at an outdoor studio where the cast and crew could walk from one location to the other and maintain their social distancing requirements.”

Daughters

Highlight: Elefsina

Elefsina is due to be the European Capital of Culture in 2021, thanks to the city’s mix of archaeological sites with a modern, buzzing café, theatre and growing film scene. The BBC’s Little Drummer Girl series used Elefsina to represent Lebanon (and doubled Nikaia in Athens for Palestine).

Simon Cornwell, The Ink Factory co-CEO and executive producer of The Little Drummer Girl

“The variety and scope of filming locations available in Greece made it the perfect place in which to bring ‘The Little Drummer Girl’ to life. We were able to shoot not only extraordinary scenes set in Greece, but scenes set in the Lebanon, Israel, Yugoslavia (as it then was) and Rome as well. On top of that, the generous support of numerous arms of government, and the highly-talented crew and support team at our wonderful partners Faliro House, made the shoot one to remember and repeat.”

Highlight: Crete

The largest and most populous of the Greek islands. This has been a popular filming backdrop over the years because of its stunning beaches and villages, but it can also pull off a few surprises as a double. Dutch production Do not Hesitate chose the mountains on the island of Crete to showcase Syria. 

Leontine Petit, CEO Lemming Films, producers of Do Not Hesitate

"We did not expect to find such great and suitable locations in Greece not to say in Europe for our project. Due to Heretic and their team the shoot went beyond our expectations.”

Do Not Hesitate

Highlight: Corfu

Located on the north-western side of the country, in the Ionian Sea, Corfu island has a cosmopolitan feeling with stunning beaches. The highlight of the island is the Old Town, with its characteristic Venetian style. Over the past couple of years it has played host to the ITV series The Durrells.

Pat Lees, producer, The Durrells

“Some of the locations were quite remote, however there were always ways to work around them, sometimes with boats, sometimes with trucks. We worked on the last three seasons of the show with the experienced Greek line producer Kostas Raftopoulos who, along with his crew, brought these elements together, assisted with the location permits and created excellent working practices with the UK cast and crew.” 

The Durrells

Highlight: Nisyros 

Not your typical Greek island. This small land mass in the Aegean is also an active volcano with an other-worldly landscape that has the potential to make it a popular filming location. The island is reachable by ship from Piraeus and Kos and also offers a heliport. The island recently hosted the Spanish-Greek co-production drama Window to the Sea, starring Emma Suárez as a woman at the end of her life who travels to the island to escape and finds love.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, writer/director, Window to the Sea

“We shot in Athens and Nisyros in September and October and what was truly amazing was not only the uniqueness of the locations, but the warm weather so late in the autumn and the amazing spirit of the local people and crew. I planned the shots on the terraces in [the picturesque fishing village] Pali, swam in the abandoned harbour of Avlaki, and loved travelling on my motorbike to the shoot on the road to Nikia."

Window to the Sea

This report is an extract from our new issue of the International Production Guide.

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