Ukraine is the largest country in Europe. It borders Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, and Russia. Within its borders are the mighty Carpathian Mountains, the East-European Plain as well as the Black and Azov seas.
Ukraine is the largest country in Europe. It borders Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, and Russia. Within its borders are the mighty Carpathian Mountains, the East-European Plain as well as the Black and Azov Seas.
The 2014 political unrest, revolution and subsequent change in government significantly impacted the Ukrainian economy. With the political situation now stabilized and the economy improving, the price of services and goods are some of the most competitive in Europe. Today, film, TV and commercial productions are quickly returning to Ukraine. Recent foreign productions include a recent Apple TV commercial, HBO’s Chernobyl series and The Death Of Stalin.
Given its size, Ukraine has possibly the widest variety of locations of all our shooting destinations. Ukraine boasts hundreds of castles, palaces, monasteries, and both basic and ornate churches.
Ukraine’s capital is Kiev, located in the center of the country, features amazing Soviet-era architecture ranging from concrete-paneled Khrushchyovka apartment blocks to the UFO-esque Institute of Information and the imposing Motherland Monument. Other attractions include the reconstructed medieval-era Golden Gate, as well as subway stations, sports stadiums, boulevards and throughways, along with dozens of impressive churches and cathedrals – all film friendly and affordable!
Ukraine is also home to myriad unique, Soviet-era relics including abandoned factories, military installations, municipal facilities and monuments. Not far from Kiev is Chernobyl’s abandoned city, Pripyat, which is also available as a film location with some special permissions required.
In West Ukraine is the city of Lviv. Dating back to the 13th century, Lviv is comprised of beautiful gothic, renaissance, baroque and classical-style buildings.
In East Ukraine, Russian influence is more apparent and highlights include the stunning old and new Dnepropetrovsk State Circus buildings as well as Khortytsia Island’s wooden Cossack village and fortress.
In south Ukraine is Odessa, famous not only for its film-friendly port, but a number of other attractions such as the sprawling, labyrinthine catacombs which lie beneath the city. Fun fact: the city was one of the most “Western” looking cities in the former Soviet Union and Odessa was often selected for films with plots set in America or Western Europe.
Ukraine’s natural locations range from sands and cliffs of the Black and Azov seacoasts to rivers and lagoons to rolling plains to dense forests to the snow-capped peaks of the Carpathian Mountain range.
FILM PERMITS & PERMISSIONS:
As with many countries in Eastern Europe, with the appropriate budget and contacts, it is possible to arrange filming permits virtually anywhere in Ukraine. Small productions are able to shoot without official permits so long as they do not impede public traffic. If your production requires the use of government or public property, traffic control, or public transportation systems, permits will be required. However, with enough lead time, permits are easy to arrange through our local partners with and, in most cases, are free of charge.
FILM TALENT, CREWS & EQUIPMENT:
Our local film partners in Ukraine have access to a large pool of experienced crew members (directors of photography, grips, gaffers, hair/make-up, set design, wardrobe) who are fluent in English.
Ukraine is home to a wide selection of multilingual, non-union talent on which a production can expect significant savings. In-demand talent charge an average of 400 Euros/day, with supporting cast at an average of 150 Euros/day and extras costing an average of 20 Euros/day.
Ukraine also offers top-of-the-line equipment ranging from the latest ARRI, RED Phantom, Sony and Black Magic cameras, professional lenses from Zeiss to Cooke, as well as state of the art grip, electric and rigging gear. Ukraine’s rental houses also have modern trailers for talent, make up and wardrobe trucks, catering vans as well as power generator and lighting vehicles. For production companies that elect to bring their own equipment, Ukraine is an ATA Carnet member.
Ukraine is also home to several large film studios as well as post-production houses which offer all high-quality post services (editing, sound mix/design, VFX) at highly competitive rates.
FILM COST, TAX INCENTIVES & CO-PRODUCTION OPPORTUNITIES:
The currency in currency in Ukraine is the Hryvnia. The exchange rate is roughly 25 Hryvnia to $1. Major credit and debit cards are accepted in most banks, large supermarkets and international hotels. Compared to Western countries as well as other Eastern European countries, Ukraine is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe.
There are currently no film tax incentives available in Ukraine, Ukraine’s crews are non-union and its current economic situation make the prices of services and goods in the country available at highly competitive rates. Additionally, all foreign film productions are VAT exempt and, according to the Ukraine Film Commission, a cash rebate program will be introduced in 2020 with a rebate of 16.67% on qualified costs.
ACCOMADATION & TRANSPORTION FOR FILMMAKERS:
For film productions in Ukraine, large passenger vans, StarWagons, cargo vans and box trucks are also available at affordable rates.
Ukraine offers various modes of transportation from private cars for hire, rental, taxis and public buses and trains. Air travel between major cities is also an affordable option. Depending on the location of your shoot, the road conditions in Ukraine vary from modern highways to less-traveled roads which require additional travel time to navigate.
Lodging is inexpensive, with four star hotels ranging between $60-100/night and lower prices available depending on location and ranking. Most hotels will offer discounts to groups or crews booking an extended stay. Rooms outside of Kiev tend to be even less expensive. For extended stays, AIRBNB rentals are a cost-effective choice, with inexpensive, high-quality options and friendly hosts.
Individual meals at an expensive restaurant in Ukraine cost around $5. A three course meal at a mid-range restaurant costs around $10. Catering for films can be arranged 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
VISAS & TRAVEL ADVISORY FOR FILMMAKERS:
Work visas are not required for visiting film crews in Ukraine. Passport holders from 65 countries, including the US, EU and Canada, can stay for up to 90 days within a 180 day period on a tourist visa. Many other countries, including China and Australia, can apply for 30 day business e-visas ahead of their trip. Click here for more information on Ukraine’s visa policy.
Ukraine is currently listed as a “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution” on the US State Department’s 1 to 4 travel advisory ranking (4 being “Do Not Travel). Foreign citizens are advised not to travel to Eastern Ukraine where there is still fighting between the government and separatist forces. However, the vast majority of Ukraine, and its capital Kiev, remain very safe for foreign filmmakers and standard vigilance is enough to deter any problems with petty crime.
PIONEER MEDIA'S PREVIOUS PROJECTS & FILMS SHOT: