Had your fill of Switzerland, France, New Zealand and Australia? It's time for Indian filmmakers to explore the picturesque European nation of Slovenia, which offers snow-capped mountains, lush meadows, pristine lakes, subterranean caves and the restless sea. And, what's more, it is also an untapped market.
The dream merchants of the Indian film industry can use scenic locations in the country, nestled in southern Central Europe, with the Alps at one end and the Adriatic Sea at the other.
"Slovenia is a small country, only 21,000 square kilometres in area, and one can go from end to end in a few hours. You can go for surfing in Adriatic Sea and skiing in Alps in a matter of three hours," said an official from that country, who did not wish to be named.
"Slovenia offers facilities to Indian film production companies without any fees or municipal charges. The Slovenian culture ministry as well as the municipalities, which host the film crews, actively supports the process.
"Indian films use exotic locations and for a standard shooting it takes about 25,000 euros, but it doesn't include air fare," added the official.
In the last 18 months, a few ad films and six southern movies, including a song for director Sadhu Kokila's Kannada movie "Super Ranga", and two songs for Nagarjuna's "Bhai" were shot in the country of about two million population.
"I had some fantastic moments while shooting for a song sequence and Predjama Castle," Nagarjuna was quoted as saying after his visit to the country.
Claiming to be one of the most competitive production locations as well as offering services available in western Europe, filmmakers are aptly supported by Celje-based RTA Agency (www.rta.si), run by CEO Katarina Karlovsek.
The agency hosts Indian film crews for the period of 10 days to two weeks.
From receiving them at the Venice airport (in neighbouring Italy) to providing logistic support, location selection, local extras, tourism management, dance crews, paper work and supply of Indian food, RTA looks after everything required by the film crew.
"They also provide visa support and they have taken care of all the six feature films from southern India. They would like to host crews from anywhere in India," said the official.
For film shoots, ample facilities are there.
From Bollywood dance studios to Bharatanatyam dance schools run by Slovenian teachers who studied in India to Slovenian musicians who play Indian music, the country offers everything.
The best period to shoot is from May to November and one can explore the historical capital city Ljubljana, said to be founded by the Romans 2,500 years ago, Koper, which dates from the Roman times, the lake town of Bled, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe with its ancient church.
Devoted to Indian cinema, the Slovenian audience and distributors have constantly been seeking Indian cinema for their projection.
Last year Ritesh Batra's highly acclaimed Hindi movie "Lunchbox" was screened at the Ljubljana International Film Festival as a tribute to the centenary of Indian cinema.
This year Rajat Kapoor's "Ankhon Dekhi" was the inaugural film at the Bled Film Festival.
The country has a filmmaking culture and focusses mainly on documentaries and children films and do co-production.
Two Slovenian children films were screened at the 84th International Children's Film Festival in Hyderabad.
"They are keen to engage India in the filmmaking process," said the official.
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