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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old May 24th, 2003, 12:30 PM   #1
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Shooting in Eastern Europe

Does anyone have any information on the film industry in Eastern Europe? I was just invited to go scouting some locations there with a producer; leaving pretty soon. It seems that the film industry is pretty advanced there, especially in Poland, Hungary and Czec Republic. Has anyone shot anything there or knows the overall conditions of production there? Services? Crews? Prices?

Is it at all possible to do production in Russia or any other Eastern European countries besides the 3 mentioned, or is it full of mafia, corruption, etc.?

Can you really save a lot of money there since you'll have to bring most talent with you?

How about ocean scenes? Romania and Bulgaria was suggested -- is there any infrastructure? Does anyone have any information on shooting in Yugoslavia -- or all these little countries that were Yugoslavia at one time. I've seen some aerial footage. Very nice nature, mountains. Aren't there still unexploded mines?

I've got here bunch of information to read and some people to contact. I just want to know if anyone has any real experiences there.
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Old May 26th, 2003, 06:49 AM   #2
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I can't really comment on eastern Europe as I am from the West
part. But one suggestion: be very careful there! It is known that
people have been kidnapped there in remote places and whatnot.
I suggest you travel in a group at all times.
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Old May 26th, 2003, 08:44 AM   #3
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Hi George.

"It is known that people have been kidnapped there .....I suggest you travel in a group at all times"

Carry a gun.
Give meat to the people so they'll let you alone.
Also, garlic should keep away those blood suckers vampires.

Well... I'm from Romania.
It hurts me a litle to read those comments... It's not your fault, Rob that someone told you don't go there, they're savages! Or have you been kidnaped recently in one of those countries? You'd be welcome into my house anytime and I promise I'd let you go after taking all your money! :-)

Back to the topic.
There's the Black Sea here, so no ocean views! Close enough, I gues! Great view, anyway. If you need some mountains on the scene, you can find great ones here. Actualy, those great landscapes are some of the few things that escaped from the comunism era.

Poland, Hungary, Czec Republic, Bulgaria and Romania. You'll have a great experience and everything you'll need for your production.

The Romanian cinematography is on an ascending trend the past few years, after the hibernation in the comunism era.

Some of the films shot in part in Romania where Franco Zeffirelli's "Callas Forever"(2002), “Out of Season” (Roman Polanski), "Amen" (Costas Gavras)...
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Old May 26th, 2003, 09:12 AM   #4
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I hope I didn't offend you Cosmin. It was not directed at any
Country in specific. But yes, a dutch guy and other people have
recenlty been kidnapped somewhere in east Europe. As we both
know (eastern) Europe is quite different from the US and people
who aren't from around are easily spotted. Especially with
expensive equipment. My comments were just a cautionary
thing. Regarding the group travel is mainly for when you really
get into remote parts like deserts (where the dutch guy was
kidnapped) and things.

Better be safe than sorry!

Ofcourse most people are really very kind and warm in eastern
europe. I myself have never ran into any trouble and really
liked the countries and the people in it.

My piece was never intended for any racism or other blunt
remarks about other cultures and countries. My sincere appologies
if anyone is or was offended.

I hope this better explained where I was coming from!
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Old May 26th, 2003, 10:10 AM   #5
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You did not offend me at all Rob.
Is just that when something is told (on media) about my country is ALLWAYS something bad. And bad thinks are not all about here. You seem to know that from experience.
You were easy to pick on, anyway! :-)
Sorry for the dutch guy and others, though...

"It seems that the film industry is pretty advanced there, especially in Poland, Hungary and Czec Republic"
Yes it is. The people are smart and inovative.
"Services? Crews? Prices?"
Good servicies.
Crews: you'll find realy smart guys along with realy stupid ones. There's no midle way. (this is MY experience)
Prices: low.
If the producer wants to see those places is because the location are so beautifull and the costs are so small.
"is it full of mafia, corruption, etc.? "
The corruption is realy high! (I can tell you this because I deal with it day by day...)
"Can you really save a lot of money there since you'll have to bring most talent with you? "
Depends on what you want. Have you heard of Marcel Iures (romanian)? ("The Peacemaker", "Mission: Imposible", "Amen", "Hart's war"). Just an example...
This is what I can tell you about Romania.
I don't know about unexploded mines, but Yugoslavia is a realy beautifull place.

Have a nice trip and be careful... everywhere you go! :-)
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Old May 26th, 2003, 10:24 AM   #6
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Friends of mine were kidnapped, robbed, stripped and blindfolded and left in a field with only their passports, that was in argentina.

3 english backpackers went missing and found dead 2 weeks later, Queensland Australia.

Around 11,000 ilegal gun related deaths occur each year in north america, and eastern europe is unsafe.

It is the same as everywhere in the world, use common sense, and sometimes bad stuff happens and you have no control.

I wouldn't worry about eastern europe, stuff happens everywhere.

Zac
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Old May 26th, 2003, 01:09 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info. We are leaving for Yougoslavia tomorrow; then will hit other places; will be gone for a while. I have no idea about Internet in Yougoslavia. I'm taking my girlfriend with me so I guess I'll trust my friend to check my email and inform me what's new in film, video, politics. I suppose there is no CNN or anything similar in some remote Yougoslavia region. We have couple of satellite phones. Hope they work there.

Anyway, I did some checking, and the Yougoslav film industry used to be pretty advanced. The Germans and Italians filmed there bunch of westerns -- unbelievable nature.

As to the other countries, it appears that the Czech Republic is most advanced. Forman and Menzl are from there. Menzl got an Oscar for Closely Watched Trains, which was OK. I also saw his My Sweet Little Village, which is one of the cinema's classics.

It seems that the Czech Republic gets the most of US production from the Eastern European countries. XXX, Mission Impossible, Knit's Tale and a number of other major films were made there. But Yougoslavia appears to have the nature we need. I have no idea about building sets there and the craftsmanship. That may have to be done in the Czech Republic, or Poland. We'll find out. This is an indie production; not enough $ to do it in the US.

By the way -- saw couple of films this weekend -- "Dancer Upstairs" and "Bunny". Quite interesting what you can do on a limited budget. The dancer upstairs was good. But Bunny, which must have been made for the smallest fraction of the Dancer Upstairs' indie budget, was better. It did have flaws, like not the best casting, etc., but it is an example that you can make an excellent movie with the smallest budget.
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Old May 26th, 2003, 01:47 PM   #8
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Just some thoughts. I remember watching a web documentary about the counter-Milosevic protests in Serbia which was made by someone who went there with a GL1 (or something like that). Their comment was that they were given lots of leeway even covering things like police crackdowns because it was perceived with their smaller camera that they were tourists or nobodies. With an XL1 they would look like press and receive more attention (negative and positive).

There have been good feature films made by westerners in the east. I can speak of one which was the science fiction film by Mamoru Oshii (director of GHOST IN THE SHELL) called AVALON (http://us.imdb.com/Details?0267287). Oshii wanted to set a film in eastern Europe and found Warsaw a good place to set a near futurish story. Lots of good mid-20th century architecture, broken down industry and also cooperation from military authorities who rolled tanks down a city street for him. You can imagine that getting that kind of assistance in a western country would cost a pretty penny.
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Old May 27th, 2003, 07:17 AM   #9
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Both Avalon and Ghost in the Shell are awesome movies. I'm
glad I have them both on DVD.
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