Creator of the viral hit Utopia, award winning indie filmmaker Kosta Nikas, who heads up Screenlight Pictures, was reportedly in Greece last month location scouting.

Nikas was welcomed on the island of Corfu by the director of the Ionian Film Office, Mrs Angela Krokidi, who gave him and his team a guided tour of possible locations including the gorgeous Old Town in Corfu.

“It was a great honour and joy to receive director Kosta Nikas at the premises of the Ionian Film Office on his trip to Corfu,” said Mrs Krokidi.

“Mr Nikas has been a very warm supporter of the Ionian Film Office ever since it took its first steps towards informing and facilitating audiovisual productions in the Ionian Island region of Greece and promoting the region as an important filming destination.

“We welcomed the opportunity to discuss his future filmmaking plans, to share experiences, to scout locations in the unique Old Town of Corfu and to set the ground for a very promising collaboration in the near future,” she added.

Nikas is also looking at shooting his first Greek language feature film, The Funeral, in his ancestral home.

“It’s been a dream to shoot a film in Greece. I did part of my growing up and schooling here; served in the army. Crooked Chef is our first priority. It’s set in Australia, where the bulk of the shooting will take place, but we have scenes set in the Mediterreanean. Corfu is a perfect location due to its rich, varied architecture and landscape; a different look from the typical white-washed Greek islands most are accustomed to,” says Nikas.

During his visit to Greece, Nikas was welcomed by the Australian ambassador to Athens, Mrs Alison Duncan, where he had an opportunity to discuss his trip and film initiatives on the island.

Australian Ambassador Alison Duncan and filmmaker Kosta Nikas, Australian Embassy, Athens

“It was a great honour to meet the Aussie ambassador,” said Nikas. “She made me aware of many wonderful Greek – Australian cultural initiatives taking place in Athens, under the auspices and support of the embassy.

“I bumped into many fellow Aussie filmmakers during my travels in Greece this year, many attracted by the diverse locations and character of the place… it’s one big fat beautiful set!” added Nikas.

Indeed, Greece has fast become a paradise for filmmakers, not just tourists, with Hollywood and many foreign production companies scouting its rich and diverse landscape for cast, crew and sets, whilst also taking advantage of the generous tax incentives and support services on offer.

Greece has now become the country of choice for international film investments. The creation of investment laws and the continuous improvement of the legislative framework for the cash rebate, combined with the technical-material infrastructure, security and natural beauty of the country, are strong incentives for international film productions.

Since 2015, film production has been changing in Greece with the establishment of the National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication (EKOME), which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Digital Governance.

EKOME manages, among other things, the incentives of the “horizontal” cash rebate (reimbursement of costs): initially 25% (with Law 4448/2017) of eligible film production expenses, then 35% (Law 4563/ 2018) and finally 40% (law 4704/2020), which is still valid today.

The cash rebate incentives saw a total of 176 projects financed in the last four years, 94 domestic and 82 cross-border (usually co-productions) or foreign, with a total budget of 252 million euros. EKOME estimates that these were shot in 140 locations throughout Greece.

In 2021 alone, ten films or series with a budget ranging between 8 to 20 million euros were filmed in Greece. For the first time, we saw many productions financed by major American studios (Disney, Paramount), with many shown on popular streaming platforms Netflix, Apple TV, and Amazon.