Negotiations are being made following an application by the “Vasilika Thermi” company to invest a sum of 50 million euros for the creation of six film production studios (sized at 30,000 square meters on an 80-acre plot of land) in the area of Thermi in Thessaloniki.
The major investment project is to be developed on the site of the old Kordogianni granaries, which the company has already purchased. “Vasilika Thermi” is connected to the Nu Boyana Hellenic film production company and studios, owned by businessman John Kalafatis and his partner Yiariv Lerner, the latter of whom manages Millennium Media, one of Hollywood’s largest independent film companies. The two partners run businesses in the USA and Bulgaria, and have already started productions in Greece.
“Eight million euros have already been invested in Thessaloniki, while the investment plan foresees another 30 million for building infrastructure and around 10 million in technical equipment,” Kalafatis told “K” magazine, adding that the company “will develop offices and post production facilities in Athens, in an area near the former airport of Elliniko, where it has already acquired a property.”
The group has already shot well-known films in Greece, including “The Enforcer” starring Antonio Banderas and “The Expendables 4,” starring Jason Statham and Sylvester Stallone.
“We are seeking to develop infrastructure in Greece that will make it even easier to attract major production companies and networks, such as Netflix, Disney and Paramount, for example, to shoot films and series here,” Kalafatis revealed, stressing that “Greece has many advantages, such as its sunshine and natural beauty, but also its history and culture and, in recent years, the modernization of the wider infrastructure, as well as hotel and other facilities.”
The framework introduced in previous years and further honed by the current government, which provides for tax exemptions and other incentives for productions shot in Greece, has acted as a catalyst for ongoing development in the movie industry, as the entrepreneur, who is also active in the construction markets in New York, acknowledged.
“We believe that the private sector and government agencies must join forces in order to develop this industry that will have multiple benefits for the economy,” Kalafatis underlined. “Apart from the promotion of Greece and investments in the film industry, dozens of specialty area professionals – from set builders and make-up artists to electricians and drivers – can find substantial employment in this industry.
“Moreover, through our Film Forge initiative, we are in a constant process of training technical and managerial staff and other actors needed by film and TV productions.” His group’s investment in Thessaloniki, Kalafatis adds, can also help to upgrade Greece’s cinema industry and artistic production in general, and he is ready to discuss possible collaborations for this purpose.
This article is based on an article originally published in Greek at kathimerini.gr.