‘Crimes for the Future’ and ‘Triangle of Sadness’ Usher in Greek Filming Boom – The Hollywood Reporter
Viggo mortensen stumbles out of a crumbling white stone building. He limps, eyes downcast, past ghostly ruins, toward a shimmering beach. At the edge of the water, he finally raises his head to face one of the striking images of Future Crimes – a huge wrecked ship turned on its side, covered in rust, floating a few hundred feet from the shore.
Future Crimes brand canadian author David Cronenbergthe long-awaited return of body horror, and he shot the entire film in Greece. That ship is the Mediterranean Sky, a 600-foot tanker abandoned since 2003 in the Bay of Eleusis, and the mystical, timeless city Mortensen passes through to see it is Athens. felonies is competing for the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, making it one of five films of significant Greek interest.
Next to Ruben Ostlundcompetition candidate triangle of sadness (shot on the island of Evia), Panos Koutras‘ Cannes premiere title Dodo, Emin AlperThe Turkish-Greek co-production of burning days (in Un Certain Regard) and Evi Kalogiropouloushort film On the throne of Xerxes, Greek representation at Cannes this year is stronger than it has been in decades. Despite the ravages of COVID-19 and the financial crisis of the late 2000s, the Greek film industry has become a force to be reckoned with on the world stage.
“Greece is a small country, and it is not a rich country. So the talent we want to support is always way above the budget we have,” says Athena Kalkopoulou, the director of Hellas Film, the promotion and distribution arm of the Greek Film Center. “But Greek cinema is again in a position of growth.”
The Greek Film Center is a vital organ in a vast network of public institutions, private companies, universities, film festivals, avant-garde producers and creators who are driving the revival of film. country’s film industry. Founded in 1970 under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the GFC is a solid organization that assists filmmakers in all areas, from financing and production to scouting, distribution and promotion. Of the approximately 900 films the GFC has supported since 1970, a total of 86 were made in just 2021 and 2022.
Markos Holevas, Chairman of the GFC Board of Directors, describes the GFC’s mission as “cultivating a new generation of filmmakers. Help them create a new vision of cinema. He asks, “You know the weird Greek wave?” It refers to the explosion of idiosyncratic films released from Greece in the early 2010s, starting with Yorgos Lanthimos‘ dog tooth. Weird Wave directors like Lanthimos and Athina Rachel Tsangari (2010s Attenberg2015 Knight) got films accepted in Cannes, Venice and Berlin and screened them around the world, which was not easy during the dark first years of the financial crisis. The movement helped put Greek cinema back on the map. As Holevas points out, “it was the result of a Center policy, which was implemented 10 years ago”.
The current boom in Greek cinema is not the fruit of good fortune. Years of careful planning and intra-organizational cooperation have led to this point. But if you look at the production numbers, you’d be forgiven for concluding that it all happened overnight at some point in 2017. That was the year the Greek government passed a stricter law on tax refunds, which led to the formation of the National Center. Audiovisual and Communication, called EKOME.
EKOME is a unique public-private partnership between the Ministry of Digital Governance and the private sector, which offers incentives for the filming of audiovisual projects such as films, TV shows and video games. The 25% rebate on qualifying spend they offered in 2018 grew to an industry-best 40% two years later amid the pandemic. “I remember sitting in our hotel room having meetings during Cannes last year,” recalls Vasiliki Diagouma, communication manager at EKOME. COVID canceled the 2020 edition of the festival, and the 2021 market has become hybrid and decentralized, with countries even bothering to send delegations setting up off-site operations. “I remember sitting down and thinking, we’re so lucky because business has never been better.”
Cash back, a 30% tax break, and special programs like the ability to charge a percentage of wages above the line “have made Greece immune to the pandemic.” Since April 2018, EKOME has supported 221 projects, which have created around 51,400 jobs and generated around 349 million euros in investments. Two of these projects were the Cronenberg and Ostlund films.
There is no doubt that EKOME has changed the game. But it also “triggered a national debate,” says Yorgos Tsourgiannishead of Horsefly Films and producer on Alper’s burning days. Some fear that the discount will only attract expensive international co-productions, which could “dry up Greek teams and drive up prices”. It’s already happening, notes Christos Karamanisa veteran DP who filmed burning days. “It has become more difficult to serve Greek films with Greek crews,” he says, and even Diagouma says EKOME is “more aware than ever of the need to provide technical training and expand academic programs.” .
But overall, everyone is optimistic about the situation of the Greek film industry. Karamanis says the incredible Cannes screening is “a long time coming”. Kalkopoulou describes it as “the fruit of all our work”. And if a Greek film or co-production can win a competitive award, it will be just another jewel in an already illustrious crown.
Ryan Coleman is a member of the first Unifrance Critics Lab.