OVERVIEW

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The least-visited country in Europe, the Republic of Moldova is wedged between Ukraine and Romania and has a population of 3.5 million. Moldova’s economy has risen steadily at 5% annually since the early 2000s, ending the stagnation experienced following its 1991 withdrawal from the Soviet Union.

Today, Moldova’s largest studio, Moldova-Film, once was on the top four film studios in the USSR, now mostly functions as a museum. However, Moldova, and its capital Chisinau, is home to a growing pool of local filmmakers and production companies with a growing selection of crews and equipment and a desire to attract foreign filmmakers to this largely undiscovered country.

For information on filming in Moldova’s autonomous “rebel republic” of Transnistria, visit our dedicated page for filming in Transnistria HERE (link to Transnistria landing page).

FILM LOCATIONS​

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Like all of Eastern Europe, Moldova boasts Soviet-era architecture and abandoned sites, but has entirely unique locations that could fit a variety of story scenarios and documentary ideas; Milestii Mici is the largest wine cellar in the world, Purcari is one of the oldest and most photogenic wineries in Moldova, the baroque-style Capriana Monastery is one of the county’s oldest and most picturesque sights, and Orheiul Vechi is an incredible 13th-century monastery built into caves near the Raut River.

Moldova’s natural sights include rolling plains, caves, forestland and one-of-a-kind sights such as the “Hundred Hills,” an alien-like stretch of land comprising of rows of small hills ranging from 15-30 meters in height.

FILM PERMITS & PERMISSIONS:

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As with most countries in Eastern Europe, filming permissions are relaxed and easy to navigate through our local partners. In most cases, permission to shoot in public spaces take one to two days. If needed, local authorities can be hired for traffic control, security and closing down streets.

FILM TALENT, CREWS & EQUIPMENT:

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Today the Moldova-Film complex remains in its original location, and still intact are large swaths of its Soviet-era buildings, props, and sounds stages. The studio’s weathered appearance betrays that it has seen better days and to tour its grounds at times feels more like a visit to a museum. However, the studio still contains the potential for filmmakers seeking practical firearm and pyrotechnic F/X, which have become prohibitively expensive elsewhere for low budget productions. Also on site is a warehouse packed with props and costumes for plots ranging from Soviet times to WWII to Ancient Rome, all of which are still available for productions.

Whilst Moldova-Film today would not be suitable for every element of production, it does offer a range of services from two fully-functional sound stages, a sound studio and access to modern lighting equipment as well as cameras such as the ARRI Alexa and Red Epic. Additionally, a variety of independent companies now occupy office space on studio grounds and can assist incoming productions in locating additional crew, equipment, materials and other facilities in Chisinau. Crew members usually cost between 50-75 Euro/day.

There are a few casting agencies in Moldova. As the filmmaking community is relatively small, through our local partners it is easy to locate experienced, multilingual actors as well as background talent at very affordable rates.

FILM COST, TAX INCENTIVES & CO-PRODUCTION OPPORTUNITIES:

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The currency in Moldova is the Leu. The exchange rate is roughly 18 Leu 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, Moldova is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe.

There are currently no tax incentives, credits or rebates offered for foreign productions shooting in Moldova. However, at this stage, the savings incurred from the inexpensive cost of film production in Moldova may serve in lieu of a tax incentive for most productions.

 

ACCOMADATION & TRANSPORTION FOR FILMMAKERS:

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Moldova offers a wide variety of modes of transportation from trains, private cars for hire, rental, taxis and public buses. For film productions, large passenger vans, cargo vans and box trucks are also available at affordable rates. Depending on the location of your shoot, the road conditions in Moldova vary from modern roadways in Chisinau to less-traveled roads which require additional time to navigate. Visiting film crews should use experienced local drivers, especially when traveling outside of Chisinau.

A room at a 4-star hotel in Chisinau can range from $60-$150/night, with 3-star hotels averaging $30-40/night. Most hotels will offer discounts to groups or crews booking an extended stay. Rooms outside of Chisinau 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 Moldova cost around $5. A three course meal at a mid-range restaurant costs around $10. Catering for films can be around 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

VISAS & TRAVEL ADVISORY FOR FILMMAKERS:

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If conducting business through a local partner, there are no special visas required for foreign filmmakers shooting in Moldova. Citizens of 103 countries, including all Western countries, enjoy visa-free entry into Moldova for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Chinese citizens may apply in advance for an e-visa.

[MOLDOVA VISA MAP]

Moldova is currently listed as a “Level 1: Exercise Normal Travel Precautions,” which is the safest travel advisory ranking designated by the U.S. Department of State. Public security in Chisinau and all major cities is very good, tension between religious groups and expression of extremist views is very rare, and attitudes to western countries are positive. Petty crime does exist but standard vigilance will be enough to deter.

PIONEER MEDIA'S PREVIOUS PROJECTS & FILMS SHOT:

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FILM PHOTO & VIDEO GALLERY:

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+1 860-391-9289

Email: media@mediapioneers.net