Greek film production has undergone a financingcrisis during the last couple of years - but amid the chaos several projects havemanaged to move forward.
The underlying uncertainty has been causedby the same debate that has echoed across Europe; whether public funds should financefeature production.
Under Petros Tatoulis, then Greece's deputy Culture Minister in charge ofcinema, cash to state fund the Greek Film Centre (GFC) was slashed from Euros 12mto Euros 4.5m, hitting seed money and co-productions. But measures intended to encourageprivate investment - including a foreign co-production tax shelter, announced atCannes last year - never materialised.
Tatoulis lost his job in March, replaced by Giorgos Voulgarakis. The situationthat confronted him was not pretty: of the 24 film projects listed in developmentor pre-production (see link below), nine which had GFC funding approved waited twoyears before securing the monies.
The delay was partly because the GFC - underThanassis Valtinos, its thenCEO - reassessed several greenlit projects as part ofa new regime. The uproar saw the projects approved, but Valtinoswas replaced by George Papalios, a former producer whofunded films by Theo Angelopoulos during the 1970s and 1980s.
Yet while several projects have beenmired in red tape, bigger homegrown productions have managedto move forward.
Odeon, the powerful distribution and exhibitionoutfit still celebrating the box-office success of last year's Sirens In The Aegean (1.3m-plus admissions)has proceeded with its Euros 14m production scheme - and this in a country wherebudgets rarely exceed Euros 1.4m.
Its three foreign co-productions are Kostas Kapakas' Uranya (Greek-Italian,Euros 1.4m) shooting from May; Panos Karkanevatos' Athanasia (Greek-Canadian-Dutch, Euros 2m), filming from August;and Yiannis Smaragdis' El Greco (Greek-Italian-Spanish, Euros 8m),shooting this summer.
Odeon has also secured distribution rightsfor all three as well as for The Dust of Time,Theo Angelopoulos' international co-production with Valeria Golino,Bruno Ganz, Harvey Keitel andWillem Dafoe, which shoots from October; and AngelikiAntoniou's co-production Eduard (Greek-German, Euros 2m).
CL Productions meanwhile is involved in theproduction of Vasilis Douvlis'Genovefa (Euros700,000) shooting from next month, Eduard (in post, see above), and DimitrisKoutsiampasakos' TheGuardian's Son (Euros 700,000) also in post.
But even they, along with smaller privateproduction outlets like Panos Papahadzis'Argonauts Productions, Konstantinos Moriatis and Antonis Kafetzopoulos' Bad Movies and Cinegramare looking to Voulgarakis to makes good his promise toPapalios and give much needed legislative breath to filmproduction.For full Greek listings, click here