Located at the crossroads of Russia and Europe, Ukraine offers a wealth of locations ranging from Soviet-era architecture to onion-domed churches, from heavy industry factories to medieval castles, from snow-covered mountains to abundant fields. Ukraine’s rich agriculture means visiting productions have miles of wheat, barley, corn, and sunflower fields to choose from.
Ukraine is a popular alternative to filming in Russia which is generally more expensive and harder to permit. It’s also a popular destination to film old-world European locations at a fraction of the cost of filming in Western Europe.
Cost & Rebates
Ukraine is one of the more (if not the most) cost competitive film production centres in Europe. It’s particularly worth heading to the Ukraine for studio builds and locations that double for Russian looks. Ukraine offers a cash rebate of up to 25% for qualifying productions. This financial incentive is for feature films, television series, as well as music videos and commercials.
When To Shoot
Ukraine has a four-season climate. Summers run from May to September and are hot and dry. Winters run from November to March and are bitterly cold and snow covered. The southern coast has more of a Mediterranean climate.
Visiting crews travelling on most western passports can enter visa-free for stays of up to 90 days. Work permits are not required to film in Ukraine.
Cast, Crew & Equipment
Ukraine has a small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. There are some very experienced camera, lighting, grip and art department crews but less in special effects and table top. Most heads of department speak fluent English. Crews are non-union. Ukraine’s close proximity to major European production centres allows easy access to those crews should you ever need to look further. Productions that are talent heavy can make significant savings shooting in the Ukraine. Talent is non-union. Day rates charged are generally very flexible to the production’s budget. All the standard film equipment (cameras, dollies, cranes, lenses) is available. Most camera and lighting equipment is supplied by Arri. Special systems such as Motion Control or Time-Slice need to be brought in from abroad.
For crews bringing in their own film equipment, Ukraine is an ATA carnet member country.