'Chernobyl' to 'Fast & Furious': Savings, Scenery and Soundstages in Eastern Europe
Georgia’s production services industry broke into the big time in 2019, hosting the country’s first-ever studio production when Fast & Furious 9 shot for 30 days from mid-August to mid-September in the capital, Tbilisi.
The latest in Justin Lin’s gasoline-fueled franchise tapped the Film in Georgia scheme, which provides up to a 25 percent cash rebate on local spend, to the tune of $8.7 million. By far the biggest film production to ever shoot in the former Soviet republic, F9 was the test case to prove to Hollywood that Georgia could deliver at the tentpole level.
Georgia is hoping to build on this progress in 2020, pushing the country’s unique fusion of medieval and modern architecture with European, Soviet and Asian styles as a prime location for productions from Hollywood to Bollywood, from Europe to China.
And Then We Danced filmed in Georgia.
Georgia offers a 20 percent to 25 percent cash rebate on local qualifying spend, with an additional 2 percent to 5 percent top up if a projects meets a cultural test by including elements designed to promote Georgia. The rebate can be used for key nonresident salaries paid in the country, up to a maximum of 15 percent of the local spend. International and local productions have to register as legal entities in Georgia. At least 50 percent of a project’s total budget must be in place at the time of application. Qualifying rebates of up to $347,000 get automatic approval, higher rebates require special government approval. Production must begin within 24 months of receiving approval. The minimum spend for feature films, internet/TV films, drama series and miniseries is $174,000.
GFS Studio in Tbilisi has three soundstages (two are 2,363 square feet with 24-foot ceilings and one is 3,300 square feet with a 26-foot ceiling).
F9, which spent more than 30 days and $8 million in Georgia, was the first studio project in the region. Other international shoots include British drama The Lady of Heaven, Cannes Directors’ Fortnight title And Then We Danced and Sharan Sharma’s Bollywood biopic Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, about India’s first female air force pilot.
David Vashadze, Film Commissioner (email@example.com; +995 322999200)