A small guide for serviceproductions in Austria

You want to shoot in Austria because either the story takes place in Austria or because you want to take advantage of the landscape, the ambience or the historical, world-famous backdrops of the mountains or in cities like Vienna and Salzburg? Then you should consider the following tips.

DBAW 

Look for an experienced partner in Austria - the various film commissions in Austria are usually very helpful, because they have large databases with various motifs and usually also know what conditions and costs this can involve. You can therefore contact the nationwide Austrian Film Commission as well as various local commissions, the largest being the Vienna Film Commission, but you will also find contacts in almost all other provinces. At almost all major festivals, representatives of these organisations usually have their own programme - in Berlin, for example, the already legendary Viennese coffee house at Potsdamerplatz - and are available for further information.

The other option would be to look for a film production company as a service producer as a partner, which on the one hand establishes contacts with the film commissions and on the other hand can very quickly and concretely prepare a feasibility analysis for your project. Beyond the network of commissions, a producer can offer you his or her experience with the organisational requirements and, above all, the budgetary situation - and above all, the budget is, after all, a factor that should not be underestimated in most projects.

Start planning in time - the earlier you contact a producer in Austria, the better for your project. Unfortunately, the possibilities of financing are limited in Austria and sometimes it would make sense to try to finance a co-production, but this requires selective means, i.e. money from one of the funds that has to be applied for. A jury or commission decides on the allocation of funds, which usually meets four times a year. Unfortunately, there are no tax incentive models in Austria, only FISA (Filmstandort Austria) awards money that almost has the character of a tax credit model. I will come back to FISA later. Theoretically, local commissions in the provinces also support filming, but even these are only limited budgets and are awarded by selection juries or advisory boards - usually with long lead times. The Vienna Film Commission itself cannot give incentives, and in Vienna you could also get money from the Vienna Film Fund, in addition to the FISA, but for this you also need an Austrian producer as a partner and a jury decides on the award. Therefore, plan long lead times and involve the Austrian producer in advance.

It will be easier if you bring a lot of money with you - well, then it is easy everywhere - also here we advise you to have an Austrian producer as a partner, because despite the lack of tax models, with the appropriate lead time he will possibly succeed in raising money and above all he will help you to make the shooting in Austria cheap and efficient. We may be a small film country, but we have a very well trained film industry, experienced filmmakers, a technical equipment park that is up to date and from the shooting in the studio to the recording of the film music in the Synchrostage Vienna (where the music for Crown and ... was recorded) Vienna and Austria offers everything you need for your production. Above all, a breathtaking backdrop, whether in the city or on the lake, on the Danube, in the steppe or in the mountains.

Filming permits in Austria are in most cases a matter for the municipality or the city. With small municipalities it is relatively easy, in larger cities the Austrian producers know which authority is responsible here. Basically, you are allowed to shoot anywhere, usually the effort involved in shooting has to be approved - especially if public traffic areas have to be used for it. The infrastructure available to you for this purpose corresponds to what is common international practice, from electricity generators to catering. Only in Vienna is it a little more complicated, but here too the experience of an Austrian producer is important for perfect planning and a smooth running of the shooting. By the way, a lot of the motives are privately owned. For example, if you want to shoot at Lichtenstein Castle - the castle is located near Vienna and was once the ancestral seat of the Princes of Lichtenstein and is still owned by the Princely Family - you will have to negotiate with the estate administration.

In the 90s, scenes for the Disney adaptation of the 3 Musketeers with Kiefer Sutherland and Oliver Platt were filmed there. The Hofburg, the residence of the Habsburgs who provided the kings and emperors of Austria for 600 years, is the responsibility of the Burghauptmannschaft (scenes were also shot there at great expense for the aforementioned Disney production) and the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße, for example, a breathtaking scenic motif in a high alpine region, is also a private road and we know from experience that the operating company is very accommodating. 

Austria is a tourist country, so the issue of accommodation is just a matter of budget and knowledge of the area. Or let me put it this way, booking in one of the houses of international hotel chains is something anyone can do - the really fine, inexpensive and yet comfortable and, if desired, luxurious hotels, in turn, are only known to Austrian producers.

Filmstandort Austria, or FISA for short, is the only financing model that roughly corresponds to a tax credit model. However, applications can only be made for international productions if the total budget of the production exceeds 4 million euros and if at least 400,000 euros are spent in Austria. Of the expenditure in Austria, about 20% is financed by FISA, provided that an Austrian producer submits the application and also settles it after the end of the production. The funds are paid out in tranches, after the rough cut a first cost report with supporting documents has to be submitted. Here, too, the Austrian producer can assist you in making the expenses in Austria efficient and as budget effective as possible. Sometimes it helps to make necessary expenditures, e.g. in equipment that would have been incurred anyway, in Austria, in order to reach the threshold for FISA funding, so that you can then benefit from funding.

Now how do you find such a producer - look for someone with experience, with know how, someone you want to and can work with. Probably the search engines on the net are not a bad place to start looking, keyword: service producer, Vienna;

(that's where we come in the first place)