A multi-million movie starring Nicolas Cage will be filmed in Cyprus, it was announced on Friday.
Cage has starred in such well-known movies as Rumblefish, Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Guarding Tess, and Leaving Las Vegas.
The Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (Invest Cyprus) announced that the first international film production is to take place on the island after the coordinated effort to attract important players from the film industry.
The film, starring the Academy Award winner is titled ‘Jiu Jitsu’ and is to be filmed entirely in Cyprus while production cost is estimated at €24.6m. It is a science fiction and martial arts film, whose cast includes “established Hollywood actors” Frank Grillo, Alain Moussi, Rick Yune, Marie Avgeropoulos and JuJu Chan, Invest Cyprus said.
Producers are Martin J. Barab and Dimitri Logothetis, who will also be the director.
“This development is crucial for the growth of the Cypriot audiovisual industry, but also for the Cypriot economy as a whole, since it is a significant investment with multiple benefits that will promote our country worldwide,” the agency said.
It said that Cabinet recently gave Invest Cyprus exclusive responsibility for the development of the audiovisual industry and the chair of the Incentive Plan application committee (EASO).
The agency said it considers it particularly important that shortly after the assignment to them by the state of these new competencies, it was possible to attract, through targeted and well-coordinated efforts, the first cinematographic production.
“This film production will place our country on the global cinema map and will be the first and essential step for the further development of the field,” Invest Cyprus said.
Invest Cyprus in cooperation with the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, and the government’s press and information office organised last year, the first-ever film summit in which over 120 delegates participated including producers and directors from Hollywood, Pinewood and Bollywood.
During the summit, the island promoted itself internationally to investors, dubbing the incentive plan ‘Olivewood’.
In statements to the press, Georgiades said efforts are ongoing at all levels and sectors and that both the public and private sectors had been mobilised.
During their stay in Cyprus, participants were taken to Paphos, Troodos, Larnaca and Limassol to find inspiration on possible film locations.
Last September, the government launched a scheme for the promotion of the film industry providing Cypriot and foreign producers with incentives, cash rebates and/or tax credits of up to 35 per cent on qualifying production expenditures and also predicts tax allowances of 20 per cent for investment in infrastructure and equipment.
The scheme aims to allow inflows of capital from international productions to Cyprus and to support the local industry.
An online platform has been launched with information for foreign and Cypriot film industry professionals concerning the competitive advantages of Cyprus in the sector.
Visitors to the platform can also learn about the locations of the island that can be used in audio-visual productions, and access a list of local professionals.
The move comes after a long debate on the absence of state support to the film industry that pushed foreign producers to other countries in the area to film their movies.
In 2016, MPs heard that a BBC production on Cypriot migration to the UK was to be filmed in Malta instead of the island as it would cost less to do so.
The then Chairwoman of the Directors’ Guild of Cyprus Alexia Roider, had said that a large part of the film was set in Cyprus and the producers had asked the government for information on what facilities and incentives it offered to film on the island, but decided to shoot in Malta instead, after they were told nothing could be offered.