Film in Serbia
• Crater Training Center receives Epic MegaGrant
Crater Training Center receives Epic MegaGrant
Crater Training Center receives Epic MegaGrant
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Crater Training Center receives Epic MegaGrant

Crater Training Center receives Epic MegaGrant

January 21st, 2021

The world leading company in interactive entertainment and 3D engine technology Epic Games has awarded Crater Training Center with a MegaGrant for a project aimed at education of higher education teaching staff, starting February 2021.

Crater Training Center has proudly announced the news of becoming a part of Epic Games journey towards expanded education in the field of 3D engine technology. The second recipient of Epic worldwide Mega Grant program in Serbia will support growing effort among higher educational institutions in Serbia to include interactive technologies in their curriculum. A specialized Unreal Engine course specifically designed for teachers in order to provide them with the right knowledge, corresponding teaching material and expertise in engine technology. The course has been developed with insights coming directly from the industry through consultations with companies such as 3lateral which is one of key development centers in Epic family.

Crater Training Center is known for bridging the gap between education and industry. The project  gathers 30 professors working at Universities and other institutions in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac, Zrenjanin and Niš, responsible for education between 1000 and 1500 students annually. Some of them include academic institutions such as Faculty of Technical SciencesUniversity of KragujevacAcademy of Arts in Novi Sad, University of Arts in BelgradeSchool of Electrical EngineeringTechnical faculty “Mihajlo Pupin” in Zrenjanin, Faculty of Organizational SciencesSchool of Electrical and Computer EngineeringMetropolitan University, among others.

In parallel to the programme designed for academic teachers, Unreal Engine Essentials course is added to the regular course list of Crater Training Center available for everyone wishing to get started in engine technology. The course provides an in-depth understanding of creating linear and interactive content in Unreal Engine 4. More information about the Mega grant project and course are available here.

Epic MegaGrant Recipient final fb (1)

Crater Training Center receives Epic MegaGrant

January 21st, 2021

The world leading company in interactive entertainment and 3D engine technology Epic Games has awarded Cra ...

CGA Belgrade is moving forward – REGISTRATIONS FOR ONLINE Conference are open

CGA Belgrade is moving forward – REGISTRATIONS FOR ONLINE Conference are open

Registrations for CGA Belgrade online event on December 1st are now open, so save the link to your Calendar and get yourself a comfortable spot for a virtual CGA experience. This year we will be joined by some amazing industry names during afternoon sessions that are set to start at 4PM CET.

We’ve been witnessing extensive changes amidst global pandemic this year that have made us rethink and reimagine our lives and work. 2020 has challenged us to slow down and respond to uncontrollable situations with great care in order to hopefully move forward and turn difficulties into opportunities.

As one of the results, virtual production has been the focus of industry attention with Unreal Engine blazing the trail of game-engine technology application in Film, Animation and TV. If you want to keep a close eye on all things virtual production, make sure you join in on our session Virtual production and Unreal Engine led by Mark Flanagan from Epic Games with an intent to examine the uses of game-engine technology in Film, Animation, TV and New media.

SPIN VFX has also joined the chat and we couldn’t be more delighted to welcome their Executive Producer Neishaw Ali, Visual Effects Supervisor Jeff Campbell and CG Supervisor Simon Milner for a round of CG insights.

oval_office2-nick-denboerAlthough 2020 has been weird enough, there’s still room for Weird animation with Nick denBoer. Nick will take you on an online tour through some of his commercial work in Maxon’s Cinema 4D including music videos for deadmau5, work for Old Spice, KFC, Conan O’Brien and other projects.

Divided into segments CGAcademy, CGArts, CGAlliance and CGAfterHours, we’ve prepared an afternoon programme that will meet your needs whether you’re looking to get more concrete knowledge, creative inspiration, better understanding of industry business or just plain fun with your peers. No matter your level of industry savvy. We’ve also prepared a present or two, since it’s important to take extra care of each other now more than ever.

With that in mind, we’re very grateful and appreciative of all the help and support we received from our long-term partners and sponsors Autodesk, 3lateral, Nordeus, Maxon, Foundry and Embassy of Canada in Belgrade. Without their help, we wouldn’t be able to create quality content you’re used to enjoying at CGA Belgrade.

2019_me_quokka_virtual-production_9-mark-flanaganThe sessions are set to start at 4 PM CET and the full programme will be available in the coming days. We will send you the event link with all necessary info after you’ve registered.

CGA is one of the SFC staple projects founded in collaboration with Crater VFX Trainig Center and VFX Serbia.

 

Register for CGA Belgrade moving forward HERE.

THRILLER THE LEDGE DISCOVERS NEW FILM LOCATIONS IN SERBIA

THRILLER THE LEDGE DISCOVERS NEW FILM LOCATIONS IN SERBIA

The female-driven action story The Ledge started principal photography in special nature reserve Jelašnička gorge in Serbia beginning of October. Directed by Howard J Ford (Never Let Go) film stars an enticing young cast of actors including Brittany Ashworth (The Crucifixion, Hostile, Accident Man), Ben Lamb (Divergent, Now You See Me 2), Louis Boyer, Nathan Welsh, David Wayman and Anais Parello (Offensive, I-Art). Commenting from the set, director Howard Ford stated that every mountain is a challenge but with enormous help from Red Production and their amazing team in Serbia this team effort is going to be a winner!

Climbing thriller features never seen on screen locations around Suva planina in southern Serbia that are doubling for Dolomites, in combination with settings in and around Belgrade including some studio built décor. Niš City Government provided huge support on the set showing that film friendly concept is well working throughout the country. The Ledge is produced by Kate Hoffman and Fred Hedman of Evolution Pictures, company dedicated to genre movies, and Miloš Đukelić of Red Production Belgrade, prolific production service company able not just to provide services but also to develop project as a producer. Worldwide rights are being handled by GFM Film Sales.

Described as a female cliffhanger, Evolution Pictures managed, with the help of Red Production, to make COVID-proof arrangements in Serbia to allow shooting to commence. Cast & crew, among whom many are passionate climbers, are monitored daily to comply with Serbian regulations.  

“The Ledge is exactly the type of movie that Evolution was formed to make. A great piece of writing with a dynamic director capable of creating something unique and commercial, with an exciting young cast, all of whom are emerging talent. COVID was an enormous obstacle to overcome but with the help and support of Sheila Fraser Milne from Paterson James, Miloš Đukelić from Red Production and Phil Hunt of Headgear, we are now in production”, said Fred Hedman.

Producer Miloš Đukelić said: “The story of The Ledge is an interesting parallel with the effort it takes to make a movie of this scale in the middle of the pandemic!  When I met Fred and Howard I was impressed by not only their professional approach but by their real passion for this piece.  It was an easy decision to join the film as a producer.  It’s a roller coaster ride, full of adrenaline.  Red Production is very experienced in filming in Serbia and also working with producers in order to benefit from the Serbian incentives which are very advantageous.  We’re all living on the ledge these days and the only way is up!”

DIGITALKRAFT STARTS WORK ON PEASANTS JOINING A CO-PRODUCTION WITH BREAKTHRU FILMS STUDIO

DIGITALKRAFT STARTS WORK ON PEASANTS JOINING A CO-PRODUCTION WITH BREAKTHRU FILMS STUDIO

 

Digitalkraft is looking forward to its new exciting challenge. The final preps for the new project a feature length animation “The Peasants”, that will mark first co-production of this kind with Polish Breakthru Films Studio. The Polish team is well known for its previous project “Loving Vincent”, awarded and praised in festivals, including nominations for Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe. Breakthru developed specific artistic technique and animation pipeline that will be once again applied in production of the upcoming film, involving Belgrade team in the opportunity to master innovative techniques and be part of an ambitious European animation work.

“In November 2019, producers of the “Loving Vincent”, Sean Bobbitt and Oscar winner Hugh Welchman, contacted us with the idea to work together on a new project called “The Peasants”. Screenplay is actually an adaptation of the novel written by Polish Nobel laureate Wladyslaw Reymont. The film, written and directed by Dorota Kobjela and Hugh Welchman, will be created using the same oil painting animation technique. I believe while working together, both studios will improve existing technique with an even more fluid and organic painting process and cause an evolution in oil painting animation, innovating animated film at the same time”, says Jelena Angelovski, producer from Digitalkraft.

The creative spark between Polish and Serbian team clicked even more after visiting the National Museum in Belgrade, where they selected works from the period of academic realism of notable Serbian painters Uroš Predić, “Landscape in Bavaria”, by Milan Popović and “Flower Seller” by Miloš Tenković to be incorporate in the film. Artists in Belgrade, Sopot and Kiev will revive part of the common Slavic cultural heritage making it visible through the project and giving Serbia the opportunity to position its artwork within the cinematic world.

That’s why a dedicated open call for 15 academic and non-academic painters, experts in art of reproductions, will become a part of this major project. The application deadline is extended to September 18 for which you can apply via LINK. The project is scheduled to be released in 2022, and besides painters, the team will include 20 VFX artists and 2 supervisors Biserka Petrović and Vladimir Vinkić who previously worked on “Loving Vincent”. Belgrade team will be led by Ana Pakljanac from the Digitalkraft studio.

The shooting has already started in Poland and will last 36 days, while the total production budget is enclosed to be 4.5 million EUR.

FILM PRODUCTION IS BACK IN BUSINESS

FILM PRODUCTION IS BACK IN BUSINESS

Film productions are ready to resume with adoption of safety protocols by the Government of Serbia. Safety measures and guidelines for Film Productions in Serbia are introduced through work of Serbia Film Commission and Film Center Serbia. As elsewhere measures include standard sanitisation and PPE for the crew members, temperature measuring, social distancing whenever possible, limited number of people on set and as much online work in pre-production as possible. As of May 22nd public gatherings are limited to 100 people and there is no requirement on PCR test for entering the country but testing on request is becoming available with a fee of 50 EUR.

Production companies are actively prepping for the filming season and a number of them officially announced principal photography for last week of May. The first ones to be back to their daily routine are domestic TV series and projects that were interrupted by CoVid19 outbreak and state of emergency declaration on March 15th. Only this time their daily routine will be slightly different.

Vision Team are the first ones to be testing the new protocols for their upcoming historic TV drama „The King“ with a smaller show based in their new studio facility.

„The exercise has shown us that it is possible but requires a lot of changes in planning and shifts in between teams. We shot 4 seasons of Survivor in remote jungle locations where risk of malaria was present, so some of the health measures and attitude we are practicing now is drawn from that experience. Real locations will follow after we are done with studio. Even in quarantine we filmed the empty streets for plate shots that will be altered with VFX“, says Dragan Đurković, CEO of Vision Team and Board Chair of Serbia Film Commission.

Balkanic Media team who are shooting on the backlot in PFI studio is ready to go back to the set and diverse medieval locations around the country.

„We are working on travel arrangements for „Outpost“ cast from US and UK while Serbian crew is preparing extensively with respect to health guidelines. We are ready to restart shooting first week of June with teams split in groups so that overlap is avoided as much as possible“, says Ivana Vasić English, costume designer and partner in Balkanic Media.

Alongside TV series the advertising clients are getting ready to return to Belgrade and finalize contracted shootings. Production companies are introducing different systems for remote shooting to enable presence of only essential crew members on set. Local advertising projects are already in production.

Direct airlines to London, Vienna, Frankfurt and Zurich were resumed from May 18th, and further lifting of restrictions is expected to follow soon with global  measures. Hotel industry is open for business and in close communications with production teams our preferred hotel partners are ready to introduce additional measures specific to film industry.

pfi-roadkill-set

FILM PRODUCTION IS BACK IN BUSINESS

Film productions are ready to resume with adoption of safety protocols by the Government of Serbia. Safety measures and guidelines for Film Productions in Serbia are in ...

HEAD GEAR FILMS PARTNERS WITH BALKANIC MEDIA IN SETTING UP $25M CREDIT FACILITY FOR PRODUCTIONS IN SERBIA

HEAD GEAR FILMS PARTNERS WITH BALKANIC MEDIA IN SETTING UP $25M CREDIT FACILITY FOR PRODUCTIONS IN SERBIA
The Outpost set at PFI Studios – Courtesy of Electric Entertainment – Arrowstorm – Photo by Aleksandar Letić

April 24th, 2020 – London-based financier Head Gear Films announced today the largest investment in productions aiming to shoot in Serbia. Head Gear is known as one of the most prolific providers of production services and debt finance to independent media projects. The facility will be operated in partnership with Belgrade-based production outfit Balkanic Media, which has been founded by Ironclad filmmaker Jonathan English with Los Angeles-based producer James Gibb.

The fund will cash flow the government rebate in Serbia, which proved as one of the most efficient cash rebate programmes around Europe offering 25% for qualifying film and TV productions and rising to 30% for qualified Serbian spend on features with a budget €5M and above. Head Gear’s experience on locations in Serbia will be further advanced with Balkanic’s experience in successfully handling two seasons of CW’s The Outpost and the third season of CBS’s Seal Team that both benefited from Serbian cash rebate.

Head Gear Films, founded by Phil Hunt and Compton Ross, said the fund would focus on TV series but would also be available for single picture financing. This marks the largest commitment by a single film financier to Serbia and further advancement of international filming portfolio in post CoVid19 period. The fund is designed as revolving credit facility without sunset date offering debt and gap financing for Balkanic’s service productions but also its own original content.

“I’ve always been keen on expanding into other areas and this partnership with Balkanic will build on our growing television slate as well as continuing to lay foundations in other territories. I’ve known Balkanic partners Jonathan and James since the mid 90’s so this is a perfect fit for a new venture in Serbia”, said Hunt.

“Serbia offers producers incredible value for money, we are thrilled to partner with Phil and Head Gear Films, this deal enables Balkanic to provide third party producers, studios and TV networks a suite of financing options which includes funding the state rebate”, added Gibb.

“Serbia has positioned itself not just as a shooting location but as a reliable production partner. The government rebate combined with low production costs, world class studios at PFI and highly experienced crew, makes Serbia the unbeatable deal in Europe”, concluded English. Balkanic is currently shooting the third season of series The Outpost at PFI Studios in Belgrade for Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment and Arrowstorm Entertainment. The company has also produced indie films The Deal and A.I. Rising.

The set of economic measures for mitigation crises caused by Covid-19

The set of economic measures for mitigation crises caused by Covid-19

On the 31st of March 2020, the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Serbia has presented the set of measures for mitigation of crises caused by COVID-19 pandemic in the total amount of EUR 5.1 billion. The measures refer to the area of fiscal policy, maintaining the liquidity of the economy and direct support to companies. The adoption of these documents, enabling the implementation of the measures, is planned for the first half of April. Measures are intended to support film production companies and freelancers, too, so it is expected to be one of the Serbia`s first steps in helping film crews and industry. Serbia Film Commission member, Crowe RS has made an overview of all the measures that will be adopted and you can find them below.

Fiscal policy measures are:

 

  • The payment of taxes and social security contributions for private sector during the state of emergency will be postponed – the payment will begin in 2021;
  • Deferral of payment of corporate income tax in advance in the second quarter of 2020;
  • Donors are exempted from paying VAT.

Measures dedicated to private sector, to be precise to all freelancers, micro, small and medium entities, imply minimum wage payments, while assistance for large legal entities is 50% of the net minimum wage for employees who got fired.

Measures to maintain the liquidity of the economy will be implemented through: 

  • The Development Fund (for freelancers, micro, small and medium-sized legal entities) – EUR 200 million is foreseen;
  • A Guarantee Scheme for loans that should maintain liquidity and working capital for freelancers, micro, small and medium-sized legal entities. This type of support will be realized through commercial banks, and the total value of the guarantee scheme is about RSD 240 billion.

Speaking about large legal entities, introducing of regulation regarding corporate taxpayers was announced too, as one of the ways of financing economic entities. The aim of this measure is to enable large legal entities to borrow on more favorable terms.

However, entities that have reduced their staff numbers by more than 10% during a state of the emergency (not counting part-time employees whose contracts expired during the state of emergency) and those who have temporarily closed their businesses before the declaration of the state of emergency on March 15th, will not be able to use these measures.

Analysis of the Economic Effects of the Incentives for Investment in Audiovisual Production

Analysis of the Economic Effects of the Incentives for Investment in Audiovisual Production

Serbia Film Commission together with the Faculty of Economics conducted an Analysis of the Economic Effects of the Incentives for Investment in Audiovisual Production under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy in support to production of film, TV series and commercials. The analysis, done in common global methodology framework, was first in Serbian practice, giving an overview of the full effectiveness of incentives from their introduction in 2016 till present.

The aim of this research was to measure the specific economic effects of the service-oriented production sector and the incentive program beneficiaries, to improve its further incentive and monitoring mechanisms, to highlight the contributions that the audiovisual sectors have to the country’s economy, being a major pillar of the creative industries. The detailed data focused also on the comparison within the sector measuring the contribution of each sub-sector that is supported. The figures on the TV commercial performance made outstanding arguments in support to sustainability and effectiveness to the sector economic rational. The Incentive Regulation, from April 2016 up to now, with a total of 17 million EUR supported the realization of 24 films and 22 series, out of this sum 20% was spent on attracting 88 TV advertising project shot in Serbia, generating total of income of 67,7 million EUR to the economy till August 1st 2019.

The results showed that the utilization of the Incentives` budget is between 92% and 95%, while the total return on investment that the state receives from subsidies is 5.38. In 2019, the number of employees in the industry has increased by an average of 57% compared to 2016, and over the previous four years the number of full-time equivalent employees, the FTE index, reached 11.110. The analysis also estimated that the variety of formats supported by the incentive program was a great way to deepen the destination portfolio, encompassing better market and geo-targeting of foreign clients.

Proving of self-sustainability of incentive programme, 11.567.613 EUR of the total tax was paid on the basis of VAT, contribution tax and annual profit tax of the companies that participated in the survey.

Especially significant is the effect that the industry has on tourism, since foreign productions had 44.889 hotel overnights from 2016 to 2019, and generated a total tourism contribution of 3.680.898 EUR only on account of accommodation costs.

Long term goal of the Analysis was to lay grounds for specific methodology which will in future provide annual monitoring of the incentive effects and performance of the entire sector.

The full findings and Analysis are available in Serbia on the link HERE.

World Drive of Lexus RX in Belgrade

World Drive of Lexus RX in Belgrade

Again, Belgrade proved its reputation of “the most transformable” city. Tuna+Icon have gain trust of The&Partnership UK agency and together with Stink Films London brought famous brand Lexus to drive their latest RX model around Belgrade streets, which, for this occasion, transformed to New York roads. Impressive CG statues opened the central Nikola Pašić Square with National Assembly and Belgrade City Hall in background, while Ada Bridge got modern business district background. Drone captured stunning moments of Belgrade downtown in the dawn.

For five days, director Salomon Ligthelm and DP Nicolas Karakatsanis filmed all amazing shots at Kralj Aleksandar Boulevard, in front of St Marko`s Church, Main Post Office Building, at Kneza Miloša, Kralja Milana, Svetozara Markovića, 1300 kaplara Streets, Terazije and in front of Hotel Moscow and Yugoslav Drama Theater. For scenes out of the city, Location Manager Ilija Nikolić Svetac suggested roads around Avala Mountain, and its greenery and car absence made this the best option. Each day crew had 120 members, 250 extras on set, and since filming most of the scenes was on the move, it was flawlessly executed with Russian Arm.

The production design sector, headed by Sanela Spajić, successfully transformed the Palace “Albania” and the street in front of it into an authentic venue for parades that are usually organized in front of New York’s Times Square. During this operation, they had to control traffic around the whole quart, as well as to hide bunch of glowing commercials but at the same time add new ones.

“The project was very challenging from the beginning since the production company together with the director had to choose between Belgrade and Budapest as a filming location. After all efforts to bring this job to Belgrade, it was necessary to justify their trust”, says Lada Stamatov, who was executive producer together with Uroš Lazić and Tom Farley, from Stink Films. “In addition, another challenge was also short 2-week deadline for client to accept the proposed sites and for us to obtain permits for them, having in mind that this shooting had to completely block most prominent streets. With the great understanding and the huge help of the Belgrade city authorities, especially the city secretary, Darko Glavaš, everything was ready for shooting on time, and according to the wishes and demands of the director and director of photography. Our collaboration was full of understanding and support. His assistance and commitment was crucial, especially because of the deadlines we worked on and the requirement to close the main streets of the city center.”

Incentive programme of the Ministry of Economy, whose good and quick implementation and simple procedure orderly makes additional distinction compared to other countries of Eastern Europe, was again crucial advantage. Producers had in mind Government support for shooting commercials, and together with experienced and professional crew Belgrade’s vivid streets became best choice for new Lexus RX.

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World Drive of Lexus RX in Belgrade

Again, Belgrade proved its reputation of “the most transformable” city. Tuna+Icon have gain trust of The&Partnership UK agency and together with Stink Films Lon ...

10 years of Serbia Film Commission

10 years of Serbia Film Commission

Last night Serbia Film Commission has celebrated 10-year anniversary at the gala ceremony held in Belgrade City Hall. Belgrade City Mayor professor Zoran Radojičić, and more than 150 Government and public sector representatives, together with industry members attended this event. It was a great opportunity to take a look at all SFC achievements, film and advertising projects, global artists that filmed in Serbia. To express gratitude to all who continually provide support to every shooting in Serbia during these first 10 years, Serbia Film Commission awarded 32 institutions and organizations with honors in three categories – the most attractive film location, best Film Friendly partners and best business partners.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić send a video message expressing congratulations on the achievements and the warm wishes for years to come with strong support to creative industries which reflect continuous increase of national film budget both through film fund and incentive scheme.

Since 2009, SFC has gathered about 60 members, including most relevant production companies, services, rentals, post production and business members. After years of advocacy, in 2015 we welcomed implementation of Incentive programme for filming in Serbia that enlarged number of foreign shooting in dozens of most attractive interior and exterior locations in Serbia – Sava Center and KPGT, Belgrade downtown, Kalemegdan Fortress, Royal Palaces, City of PančevoSmederevo Fortress, Novi Sad and Petrovaradin Fortress, mountains Stara planina and Tara.  Today, Serbian Incentive programme supported over 140 projects providing a 25% cash rebate on qualified Serbian spend for feature films, TV series, animation films and visual effects, TV commercials and documentaries, and continues to expand with 30% cash rebate on qualified Serbian spend for feature films whose budget is minimum 5.000.000 EUR.

Recently conducted analysis of economic effects of Incentive programme of Ministry of Economy produced in collaboration with Faculty of Economic in Belgrade demonstrates that the Incentives contributed to the rise of employment in the film sector by 57%. Each euro invested in servicing production of foreign films and commercials has returned to the state budget with 2,4 EUR, and direct income of our economy on 1 EUR invested is 5,2 EUR. The overall film sector for the past 4 years has generated over 100 million euros to the Serbian economy.

The latest recap of some of the most memorable locations and scenes proves that Belgrade and Serbia have so much to offer to international productions. 

 

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10 years of Serbia Film Commission

Last night Serbia Film Commission has celebrated 10-year anniversary at the gala ceremony held in Belgrade City Hall. Belgrade City Mayor professor Zoran Radojičić, a ...