Monday, November 13, 2017
Beyond Mamma Mia! Hollywood courted as Greece vies for slice of movie millions
November 13, 2017
Nikos Giannopoulos still vividly recalls the excitement that swept the people of Amorgos when French film-makers arrived to make The Big Blue three decades ago.
“Everyone wanted to be a part of it,” says Giannopoulos, the movie’s executive producer, as he takes in the remote island’s dramatic landscape.
“It was a game changer that helped put Amorgos on the map.”
Luc Besson’s film about two free divers was a huge commercial success that went on to become a cult classic, and tourist arrivals soared. But more than a decade would elapse before blockbusters were shot again in Greece, with star-studded casts descending on the islands of Cephalonia and Skopelos in 2001 and 2008 for Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Mamma Mia!
Subsequent pleas by film-makers to exploit the country’s unique natural attributes – its distinctive light, rugged landscape and aquamarine sea – invariably fell on deaf ears. Repulsed by a cumbersome bureaucracy and lack of financial incentives, Hollywood turned elsewhere.