Cyprus Joins Race to Bring Filmmakers for Shooting

(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, FILE)

With Greece shaking off its reputation for being unfriendly to film makers and now wooing them, Cyprus too is trying to recruit producers and movies to shoot on the island, citing it is a “natural studio” of brilliant light, a good climate and attractive backgrounds.

That was the pitch that Lefteris Eleftheriou of Invest Cyprus, the organization that chairs the country’s film commission, made in a feature story by Hollywood’s Bible, the magazine Variety, as he touted the country’s snow-capped mountains, sandy beaches and Roman and Ottoman ruins.

He said Cyprus is willing to back it up with financial incentives too, including a cash rebate or tax credit of up to 35% on qualifying local spending for feature films, TV series, animation, documentaries and other projects that promote Cyprus and its culture.

That would be, provided they meet certain financial criteria and pass a cultural test. The minimum spend per film is €200,000 ($230,000), and €100,000 ($115,000) for TV projects. Qualifying spending can be a maximum of 50% of the total budget.

That is proving to be a magnet for movies already and the government is ready to lift its $1.7 million cap on subsidies for making films, to as much as $23 million, said Eleftheriou, a number he said would put Cyprus “in a position to attract huge productions from the United States and elsewhere.”

Cyprus hasn’t yet brought a parade of producers, drawing only a small number of feature films annually but hoping the new incentives will change that and also attract more minority co-productions and production services on the island to boost the local economy of shoot sites.

Cyprus doesn’t have the studio facilities or crew base of a country like Malta but local companies have a good record servicing international shoots, predominantly from the Middle East and North Africa regions, as well as Eastern Europe, the report said, with indications incentives could go as high as 35 percent if producers show interest in Cyprus.