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Giannis Fyrigos – Member of Location Managers Guild International-LMGI

Giannis Fyrigos – Member of Location Managers Guild International-LMGI

Greece is now at the top of the list as the preferred country for foreign production companies to shoot a movie, a series, or a reality show. For Greeks, an exotic destination is Santo Domingo or the Seychelles. For foreigners, our country is a paradise with natural beauty, culture, and the cradle of ancient Greek spirit, and they find it highly attractive to mentally transport their viewers to the land of the sun. Giannis Firigos is the key person to open the doors and welcome foreign productions that will make our country desirable around the world.

Interview: Fotini Androulaki

Giannis, tell us about all these major international productions that have taken place in Greece in recent years.

Indeed, in the last 5-6 years, Greece has become an attraction for the realization of international film shoots, due to its natural beauty, history, and good service offered by production companies and their staff, as well as support from the state.

What do you look for as a Location Manager? Do you  have a portfolio of places or is the location determined after the production brief?

There is always an updated database with locations for each case, as there is usually not enough time for preparation. Everything happens very quickly and we need to have alternatives due to weather conditions. Success is to have at least a plan B, maybe even a plan C.

What talents are required for your job?

Good knowledge of the legislation regarding the licensing and procedures required for filming in public spaces, such as archaeological sites belonging to municipalities, artistic perspective and culture regarding location proposals, good public relations, and contacts with authorities and services.

What do you enjoy the most?

“The Wrap” of each project! That is the end of the filming where foreign colleagues smile at you and express their satisfaction with the result. This is the greatest satisfaction after months of preparing for a project. I also enjoy it, when the film or series starts playing abroad and the good ratings are communicated to me.

You are considered one of the most successful professionals in your field. What productions have you worked on in Greece? Are there any preferences from the company or do you influence the location?

I have worked on four consecutive seasons of “The Bachelorette” for Warner Bros, based in Germany for the German TV channel RTL, which was a great success, as well as “Adam & Eve”, the American film “Below Deck”, and recently a film for the American cinema called “Uncovering Love in Kefalonia”, and of course “GNTM” for German television, with Heidi Klum, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Kylie Minogue. After years of collaboration with some top director-producers, there is trust because I know what they are looking for and what the client wants. We have created a common dialect of communication, resulting in the best possible proposal.

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Will reality shows remain trendy or will that change?

They are the daily relaxation for viewers after their work, and because they are not “staged”, they are usually filmed in outdoor locations and the viewer mentally travels to our country through the image and sound. They learn about the place, our history, and our culture, and become ambassadors of our homeland.

There are significant economic benefits for our country if one calculates that on average the shoots last for 6 weeks, each foreign crew consists of about 100 people plus the Greek staff, accommodations are rented for their stay, collaborations are made with security companies, vehicle rentals, catering, villas are rented, fees are paid to public bodies, etc.

What to expect during the current year?

I can not reveal much at this point due to confidentiality agreements, but my colleagues and I will be shooting several film productions for major German and American companies and television channels. What is certain is that we will return to Kefalonia for another consecutive year!

Thank you very much!

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