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Economy

Invest Cyprus Boosts “Olivewood” Film Industry at Raindance Film Festival

LONDON – As this year’s guest country at the 29th Raindance Film Festival, Cyprus hopes to boost the “Olivewood” film industry by showcasing the talents of established and upcoming Cypriot filmmakers, as well as the optimal environment for filmmaking on the island.

Raindance is an independent film festival in London that showcases feature films, shorts, web series, and music videos to an audience of film executives and buyers, journalists, film fans, and filmmakers. First hosted in 1993, Raindance is considered the UK’s largest and most important festival for independent filmmakers to exhibit their work.

Representatives of the Cyprus High Commission and Invest Cyprus will attend the festival’s opening night at the Dorchester on October 27 and Invest Cyprus will host a gala evening at the May Fair Hotel on the following night. Invest Cyprus will also hold a talk in which they will outline government-led tax incentives and location advantages available to filmmakers who choose to film in Cyprus.

The High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus in the UK said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate on such an esteemed event and showcase the cinematic potential of Cyprus. The island is home to many talented individuals and we want to prove to international audiences and filmmakers that Cyprus is an ideal location for film production.”

Cypriot filmmaker Marios Piperides. Photo: Los Angeles Greek Film Festival

During the 10-day festival, Cypriot filmmakers will meet industry experts and professionals for mentoring and networking, as well as being given the opportunity to pitch their ideas directly to a panel of industry executives.

Cyprus’ presence at Raindance will illuminate the Cypriot film industry and its many talented artists. The film industry in Cyprus stretches back to the 1960s, when the release of the renowned Limassol-born Michael Cacoyannis’ Zorba the Greek put Cypriot cinema on the map. Sixty years on, Cypriot filmmakers still take inspiration from the Oscar-winning film and explore tragic and beautiful themes within their work.

Raindance will be showcasing several films from up-and-coming Cypriot filmmakers at the 2021 festival.

Tonia Mishali’s Pause follows the life of Elpida as she attempts to cope with the reality of her oppressive marriage and the beginnings of menopause. Stelios Kammitsis’ 2021 film The Man with the Answers tells the story of two men who meet on a road trip across Europe and end up on a journey of self-discovery.

Smuggling Hendrix is Marios Piperides’ directorial debut that explores the tensions between Greek and Turkish Cypriots through the story of a lost dog. Petros Charalambous’ Patchwork examines what happens when a disillusioned mother strikes up a friendship with a defiant teenage girl.

These Cyprus-based films are in excellent company. Raindance has previously played host to the UK premieres of groundbreaking classics like Pulp Fiction, The Blair Witch Project, and Oldboy.

Established Cypriot talent will also be on hand at the festival, as the award-winning cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos will give a masterclass. Zambarloukos is known for his frequent collaborations with the renowned director and actor Kenneth Branagh and served as the Director of Photography on blockbusters such as Cinderella, Mamma Mia, Thor, and Murder on the Orient Express. His success is a beacon for young Cypriot filmmakers and reflects the technical talent emerging from Cyprus.

During the festival, Invest Cyprus will detail the geographical advantages that Cyprus has, highlighting why Cyprus has been given the nickname “Olivewood” in recent years.

Cyprus is located on the same latitude as Los Angeles, meaning the angle and quality of light are identical. Cyprus boasts 300+ days of sunshine a year with a wide variety of stunning locations, from the vibrant Limassol Marina to the awe-inspiring Troodos Mountains. The island also has well connected transport networks which make for easy access to the rest of Europe and reduce logistical issues for film crews.

George Campanellas, CEO of Invest Cyprus said: “Cyprus is a perfect filming location and has a wealth of talent that can support all aspects of the film industry.”

“Cyprus’ economy has made a significant and positive recovery following COVID-19 and we hope to show what the Cypriot film industry has to offer and boost investment in this sector,” Campanellas concluded.

The Cypriot government is committed to supporting filmmaking on the island and has introduced an incentive package to encourage international producers to choose to film in Cyprus. Production companies will enjoy a cash rebate or a tax credit when they pick Cyprus as a shooting location and will benefit from tax discounts on investments made on equipment and infrastructure, in addition to VAT returns on expenditure in scope.

The Raindance Film Festival runs October 27-November 6.

More information is available online: https://raindance.org.

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