A new website to promote Serbia as a location for international co-productions has been launched by Film In Serbia, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) project set up to promote Serbia to the international filmmaking community.

Michael Harvey, chief of the USAID mission in Serbia told Screendaily that he was initially sceptical when his team identified the film sector as one of the key economic fields in Serbia worth investing in.

'But when local filmmakers explained to me that not so long ago former Yugoslavia was the prime filming destination for US and European productions, I saw there was something there,' said Harvey.

That view is backed by UK producer Mike Downey of Film & Music Entertainment who has been a consultant on the project since October 2007 and has produced projects in the former Yugoslavia since 1991.

'Serbia is currently being rediscovered as a country with unique potential for international feature film and commercial market. Serbia offers a high-end production value and world-class talent, highly skilled, multilingual, experienced crews, and close proximity to European centres. With the unmatched location diversity and some of the lowest location rates in Europe, Serbia is finding its way back into the film industry,' explained Downey.

The next step in USAID's project will be to establish the Serbian Film Commission as an operative body which will work on promoting Serbia and attracting foreign producers.

In the past two years, Serbia served as a location for international productions such as Endgame Entertainment's Brothers Bloom, RAI's Einstein by Liliana Cavani, Europa Corp's District 13- Ultimatum and Berlinale entry Human Zoo by Rie Rasmussen. Ralph Fiennes' Coriolanus is scheduled to start shooting in Belgrade in Spring 2010.