EUFCN Spotlight on: Serbia Film Commission

In 2009 Serbia started to emerge as a new competitive territory for film production. The Serbia Film Commission was founded in the summer of that year and since then its aim has been to promote and develop Serbia as a cost-effective and high-quality destination for international filmmaking. We interviewed Film Commissioner Milica Bozanic, to have a glimpse of the advantages of filming in Serbia.

photo credits: D. Trifunovic

Which main productions were shot recently in Serbia and which ones were postponed due to the global emergency?

“Last year Belgrade hosted 4 episodes of the TV Series SEAL Team and doubled as Japan in Johnny Depp’s Minamata. Serbia also provided locations for Bollywood blockbusters URI and Baaghi 3.

The Coronavirus interrupted the third season of CW TV Series The Outpost, which will resume very soon. Sci-fi thriller Aurora starring Megan Fox was set to be filmed in Serbia, but was postponed due to the pandemic. The film will be directed by Serbian director Lazar Bodroza.”

SEAL Team Season 3. Photo credits: Courtesy of Aleksandar Letic

What’s the biggest production ever supported in your territory?  

“The biggest film production in Serbia was Paramount’s horror Crawl, directed by Alexandre Aja, that used the Port of Belgrade as a studio space to recreate the devastated housing in Florida during a Category 5 hurricane. The majority of the film was shot in the water. Paramount quoted Serbia as the fastest incentive processed in the film studio’s history.”

What do you think is something unique the Serbia Film Commission can offer?  

“The Serbia Film Commission office is a liaison between the film industry and the government, and has developed effective film friendly policies on the national level when it comes to incoming productions. Our film commission is strongly rooted in the industry: we are able to assist international clients connecting them very rapidly and efficiently to the right partners, in just one or few phone calls. The great hospitality of the people in Serbia is an additional strength.”

photo credits: Marija Konjik

How are you handling the actual emergency and how do you see the future of the audiovisual industry?

“The past year was extremely exhausting, I believe that we all secretly enjoyed a bit of slow down, especially crews with months and months of overtime. However, we are trying to stay on top of things and mediate the return to a new normality. We are about to resume filming and we are developing safety guidelines.

The future offers a lot of room for rethinking the production process. I am a huge believer in innovation and technology, for example the gaming industry converging with the film industry. I also hope this difficult time will bring new narratives and storytellers.”

Are you interested in filming in Serbia?

The European Film Commissions Network is a non-profit association that supports and promotes the European film industry and culture. It currently represents 94 European film commissions and film institutions from 30 different countries.