Since Croatia introduced a 20% cash rebate for international film and TV production in 2012, the country has become a magnet for footloose location projects. The picturesque seafront city of Dubrovnik features heavily in HBO’s Game Of Thrones, which has sparked a tourist boom. This year, Lionsgate’s Robin Hood, starring Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Jamie Dornan and Eve Hewson, has been shooting in the city, which stands in for 12th-century Nottingham. History Channel’s Knightfall, about the Knights Templar, is also in town.
During 2016, the country hosted Disney/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi and BBC drama McMafia. The next arrival will be Scott Free TV drama The Terror for AMC.
Despite the surprise resignation of Hrvoje Hribar as chief executive of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) earlier this year amid allegations of interference from the Ministry of Culture, the Croatian government has expressed continuing support for the film industry. The hope now is to build new studio facilities and add to what the country already offers.
Croatia offers a 20% cash rebate of up to $580,000 (hrk4m) for feature films, documentaries, TV drama and animation calculated on total qualifying expenditure. This consists of the costs of goods and services purchased in the country and wages paid to local tax residents (both cast and crew) for services carried out in Croatia. There are minimum spend requirements and the incentive is administered on a first-come, first-served basis. Although it is capped on paper, it is possible for bigger projects to access considerably more.
Full details on financial incentives in Croatia: Filming in Croatia
Infrastructure and crews
The crews are improving all the time in line with the increased volume of production. In early 2017, three big projects were shooting in the country at once — a sign there is capacity to deal with multiple projects. Croatia still does not have studios to match Barrandov or Babelsberg but there is a strong lobby for such facilities to be built. “Film studios are a necessity. We have to do it,” says Margarita Peric, Filming In Croatia programme co-ordinator.
There are no direct flights from the US but Croatia is easy to reach through European hubs. It is straightforward to travel around within the country.
Lea Lobger, producer, Pound For Pound, says:
“The locations [in Zagreb] matched the film we wanted to do. The tax incentive was important and labour is less expensive than in Denmark. The crews work longer and do six-day weeks. Zagreb is a lovely city to shoot in.”
Would she come back?
First person to call
Margarita Peric, programme co-ordinator, Filming In Croatia
Need to know
- DO enjoy the history and architecture of Dubrovnik, especially the old harbour.
- DO find a good local production services partner. Popular Croatian companies include Embassy Films Croatia and Pakt Media.
- DO consult the local film commissions including Istria Film Commission and Zadar Film Commission.
- DON’T shoot during the summer tourist season.