How Jericho Ridge producers doubled The Republic of Kosovo for the US

The film's producer Harvey Ascott and executive producer Mark O'Sullivan tell KFTV how they built a remote American town in the Kosovar mountains. 

By Melissa Kasule 3 May 2022

How Jericho Ridge producers doubled The Republic of Kosovo for the US
Jericho Ridge set in Kosovo Credit: DLNQNT

When it came to doubling the US for Will Gilbey’s survival thriller Jericho Ridge, The Republic of Kosovo surprisingly ticked all the boxes for the film's producers. “We had planned to shoot in Canada to double the film for America in March 2020 but then there was the pandemic, so we proceeded to set up shop in five different countries, however COVID just continued to make that difficult,” says executive producer Mark O'Sullivan from In Plain Slight. 

Gilbey’s screenplay and directorial debut, starring Nikki Amuka-Bird (The Outfit, Old), is set in a remote mountain town in North Washington state, ravaged by unemployment and drug addiction where a lone deputy attempts to save her son from a murderous drug cartel.

The film is produced by London-based DLNQNT’s Harvey Ascott and Alex Tate. Ascott had become familiarised with the region after producing a number of projects in Kosovo and Albania since 2011, including the Academy-winning Shok (2016) in the northern region of Kosovo.

Home from home

“I know Kosovo like I know London, it's like a home away from home, so I took the producers out there for five days and we saw all the whole country, says Ascott. “It is such a varied place that offers mountain views, typical white big Chelsea housing, huge forests, lakes and great infrastructure.”


Pristina, Kosovo. Credit: DLNQNT

O’Sullivan adds: “ I was quite pleasantly surprised because I didn't think we would be able to pull off America there and it was actually more progressive and cosmopolitan despite perceptions following the war. The film is set in a sheriff's office in the middle of nowhere in America. This could be North Carolina, Nebraska, or Texas and as a result meant that we could shoot the project anywhere as long as there were mountains and an isolated area, which landed us in Kosovo.”

Ideal locations

Jericho Ridge was filmed in the country’s capital Prishtina with a nine-week shoot taking place in the national park; the producers were impressed by its mountain views. “We found the perfect location in Kosovo surrounded in the mountains by the forest which was ideal for the film since it is set across two to three locations,” explains O’Sullivan.


Jericho Ridge set Credit: DLNQNT

“We were fortunate to get permission to shoot in the national park which had amazing trees and great access to roads, but effectively was easy to make it look like America,” recalls Ascott. “We also had a great classic American house for our protagonist which was built by a man who visited Texas and fell in love with their architecture.”

Studios and infrastructure

Being Europe’s youngest country (after it declared independence in 2008), means production services companies and filming facilities in Kosovo are less than in the average country.

Ascott explains, “There are approximately three to four basic studios in the region very to similar to English old studios that are not very well kept which they are developing more and more. But, in fact, though the studios in Kosovo are in their infancy they were all busy so we filmed in a massive warehouse and completely built our set in there with blacked-out windows and soundproofing which worked perfectly.


Jericho Ridge set Credit: DLNQNT

It was very easy to deliver props like American cars, and American police cars from Bulgaria and Germany to the country, which made it easier to pull off America in the film. It was also a good diverse mix among the crew with 70% from Kosovo and the other 30% either British, Bulgarian, Turkish, Serbian and Albanian.

“Accessing crew equipment is very straightforward because typically they can pull up on these amazing resources from different neighbouring regions. We worked closely with Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Serbia, we even had our special effects team come from Turkey.

Financial incentive

In 2020 the Kosovan government announced plans to introduce a 30% cash rebate under a new cinematography law to attract more international productions to the region with a minimum spend of €100,000 on projects. “This will play a big role in bringing traffic to the country and will be a gamechanger for the country,” said O’Sullivan.  


Jericho Ridge set Credit: DLNQNT

Ascott adds: From 10 years since I shot Shock in Kosovo, the country has improved so much and can't wait to see what it could be further down the line. This film has raised the bar for Kosovo and in seven years' time I expect it to be on the same level as Ukraine or Bulgaria are at the moment and will become a completely different market.

The producers are currently developing two new feature projects that are aiming to shoot again in Kosovo and its neighbouring regions, O'Sullivan says: There are two other major feature projects we are also looking to bring to Kosovo as well as Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia. This is simply because of the great experience we had, the crew we worked with and the price point of shooting there.

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