ATHENS – Eight episodes, part of an international production by Amazon Prime titled “Greek Salad” will start filming on Monday (Jan. 31) and continue for the next four months, Athens Film Office (AFO) director Stathis Kalogeroupoulos told Athens-Macedonian News Agency in a story published Saturday.
“The episodes will be screened next year,” Kalogeropoulos says, “and the total production cost in close to 8 million euros, filmed entirely in Athens, with scenes from all over the city.” The “Greek Salad” series is the television sequel of the film trilogy by multi-award-winning French film director Cedric Klapich, who will be joined in directing by Lola Doillon and Antoine Garceau, colleagues from the internationally known series “Call my agent” on Netflix.
Over 70 Greek and foreign productions have been completed in Athens since March 2020, while another 5 are in the works. These do not include Perrier’s international campaign that was also filmed in Athens.
“AFO is part of the City of Athens’ Development & Tourism Promotion of Athens Company (EATA), which is supported by the city. It relates to tourism, but tourism is its indirect beneficiary,” the AFO director says. “What is directly beneficial is, first of all, development in terms of the companies participating in the production – whether by assuming it directly, or by providing services to the productions. The second naturally is creating jobs: as foreign companies arrive asking for staff, local companies seek new staff because the current one is not enough. Therefore, there are gradual opportunities opening for people who were not even associated with the sector.”
Athens has several advantages for large foreign producers, he says: financial benefits provided by the state; service providers, especially by word of mouth by people who have already worked in Greece; and mild climate as well as flexibility in scenery. For example, he explains, “For Tehran’s needs, Athens became Tehran. It is a significant advantage for one site to be able to resemble another.”
Licensing by the city is a simple process, he notes, “but in terms of a production, taking advantage of state infrastructure, using buildings that do not belong to the city but to other agencies, it’s a daily battle.” The AFO acts as mediator so such problems are resolved, he says. “What’s happening is that for the rest of the agencies handling state property, all this is entirely novel and exotic, but this is changing gradually, of course.”
Some of the productions in Athens include “Greek Freak” on the life of Giannis Antetokounmpo; episodes of the “Jack Ryan” series with John Krasinski; David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future”; and Emmy-award-winning Israeli series “Tehran”, with Glenn Close and Shaun Toub.
As Kalogeroupoulos explains, “A Greek film is considered a large production if it has a crew of 35-40 people. In Tom Clancy’s ‘Jack Ryan’, there were days the production totalled 650 staff. The need for such numbers that cannot be covered right now led the Film Office to collaborate with NBCUniversal to train human resources.” This relieves the stress of local production companies to find crew for such productions, he noted.
The NBCUniversal-AFO collaboration will lead to training 60 new crew members to be trained over two days in May as production assistants. The AFO received over 330 applications for the positions, he said, which led to expanding collaboration and to consider repeating the plan to other specializations, such as the Greek SOciety of Cinematographers and production accounting professionals. All information is provide on the AFO web page, https://athensfilmoffice.com/.
None of the seminars require prior experience, the AFO director underlines, but are addressed to “people who want to get into the sector and don’t have prior experience – whether they’re looking for a job or to change sectors, and are geared to start from the very beginning” in the new film scene of Athens.