Romania is a small country located in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by the Ukraine and Hungary to the north, Moldova to the east, Bulgaria to the south and Serbia to the west. Known mostly for being an ex-Soviet bloc country, Romania had a bloody revolution in 1989 that overthrew and executed dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Romanian Film Industry, Cold Mountain Filming Location
Romania has been a hot spot for Hollywood movie locations since the early twenty-first century. What exactly is the appeal of this former Eastern bloc republic? For Hollywood historical filmmakers who want to capture The American Civil War era of the 1860s, the land of today’s Romania is eerily similar to the American countryside of this time period.
For example, in 2005 the historical drama “Cold Mountain,” starring Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger and Jude Law was shot partially in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania and the rural, humble town of Potigrafu. The country’s natural scenery offered unmatched shots of soldiers marching through fields and historic farms. In Potigrafu, where villagers must travel to larger cities to see movies, village life is captured in its true essence.
Movie Production Companies Help Romanian Economic Situation
Other production companies have sought out Romania as well after realizing the financial savings of “Cold Mountain.” According to the October 2, 2005 Los Angeles Times article entitled “Filmmakers’ mania for Romania” by John Horn:
“‘Without the savings that Romania offered, ‘Cold Mountain’ absolutely would not have gotten made,'” said producer Albert Berger, who estimates that the country’s affordable labor trimmed more than $20 million from the film’s budget, which Berger says would have exceeded $100 million had the movie been shot entirely in the United States.”
The article cites examples comparing the American film expenses verses Romanian ones. For instance, “a movie filming in Los Angeles could pay a driver as much as $470 a day; that same person in Bucharest might be given a daily rate as low as $9.52.”
Additionally, young Romanian entrepreneurs are jumping aboard the Hollywood bandwagon. Horn interviewed a brother and sister who dropped out of university despite their parents’ concerns to pursue careers as a camera assistant and makeup artist, respectively. The money is just too good. What the sister earns in a week, her parents don’t make in one month.
The country of Romania has proven to be an excellent filming location for historical films due to its authentic scenery and low cost of production. Romanians have prospered as well, earning better wages when film crews come to their village or town.