Mamma Mia’s Move to Croatia Infuriates Greek Government

Total Croatia News

The Greeks are wondering why a movie taking place in Greece was filmed in Croatia.

Less than 30 years ago, when The Big Blue arrived in cinemas, life on the small Greek island of Amorgos changed completely. Until that moment the beautiful island was unknown even to the Greeks. It was a symbol of peace, and then a tourist boom happened almost overnight. Thanks to the Luc Besson’s hit, Amorgos was flooded with tourists from all over the world, reports Jutarnji List on November 13, 2017.

“Everything changed, and they all wanted to be part of this story. Amorgos was finally put on the world map,” said Nikos Giannopoulos, one of the producers of The Big Blue.

Unfortunately for Greeks, the lucrative business opportunities with Hollywood and other filmmakers were not recognised, and many years passed before other hit movies returned to the Greek islands. In 2008, Mamma Mia was filmed on the island of Skopelos. Of course, tourists have flooded the beaches of this Mediterranean paradise.

It sounds incredible, but the Greeks did not recognise the potential of having perhaps the most beautiful open film studio in the world. It took them nine years and the financial crisis to understand they could make money in a rather simple way.

“Just remember how many movies were filmed with Greek topics. And do you know how many of them were shot in Greece? Just two! I think that is an embarrassment, an unprecedented shame,” said film director Andonis Kioukas, who is also the organiser of the International Film Festival at Amorgos. “I do not even know how many opportunities we have missed. In the last ten years, we have lost Alexander the Great, Troy and 300, and the icing on the cake is the loss of Mamma Mia 2, which was filmed in Croatia.”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited in October the second largest film studio located in the United States. The visit and all the lost opportunities have prompted him to announce the introduction of various incentives for foreign filmmakers to come to Greece.

From now on, filmmakers will be able to quickly overcome bureaucratic hurdles, which were one of the reasons why Greece has been avoided for years. For example, before shooting a film in Greece, Nicolas Cage had to formally join a Greek band as a drummer so he could get a work permit for filming.

The main reason for the change in direction for the Greek government was the loss of Mamma Mia 2. The first part, filmed in Greece, achieved incredible success, earning as much as 610 million dollars and bringing masses of tourists to the islands of Skopelos and Skiathos. However, the sequel was moved to Vis in Croatia, which brought the Greeks to despair. The pearl of the Croatian part of the Adriatic now plays the role of the fictitious Greek island of Kalokiri.

“That is a shame! Greece is the birthplace of the story, and the film was filmed in Croatia,” complained Lefteris Kretsos, a senior official in the Greek government.

Translated from Jutarnji List.


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