McMafia is about internationally organized crime. The show is directed by James Watkins and stars James Norton, known for his roles in Happy Valley, Grantchester and War and Peace.
‘The locations were consistently wonderful. Beautiful coastline, buzzing cities. The other big draw is the crew. They are all so good at their jobs, but also such good people individually. Always making sure we were enjoying working in their magical country. They are so proud to be Croatian. Their love for the country runs off on their guests,’ said Norton, describing his experience filming in Croatia.
The show was filmed in two parts: the first during the winter of 2016 when most scenes were filmed in Zagreb, while the second part of filming took place from May this year, when the cast and crew moved down to the coast.
‘Croatia was a wonderful place for filming, we loved the hospitality and enthusiasm of the Croatian team, and of the people in general. Croatia is obviously already known as tourist location, but it is still not recognized from the UK production standpoint. With proper development and infrastructure in place, Croatia could be a world class filming destination that can compete with any other location,’ Watkins said.
The filming of McMafia was made possible through the Croatian Audiovisual Centre's incentives program. More than 150 local film professionals were engaged on set, while more notable roles were played by Nina Violić, Lucija Šerbedžija, Goran Navojec, Željko Vukmirica, Vanja Matujec, Romina Tonkovic, Adlan Abdelmongy, along with more than 3000 extras.
‘I am so excited to see a quality foreign production in Croatia, especially one like McMafia, which includes a significant number of Croatian film professionals as well as local residents. The excitement generated across Split reminds me of the glory days of Croatian cinematography, which has only been enriched by foreign productions. Just the fact that Croatian cities can play the roles of major global metropolises, as well as themselves, shows that local infrastructure, and local communities, are ready to offer all that is necessary for top quality productions at the highest level. Thanks to the synergy between foreign and local professionals, the resulting creative-artistic product is a constant reminder of the professional-artistic combination that has been successful here for some time. Of course, we need to also emphasise the financial resources that profit the Republic of Croatia,’ said Daniel Rafaelić, director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, during his visit to the set in Split.
Through the incentives program, 34 projects were filmed in Croatia, between 2012 and 2016, with local spending nearing 400 million HRK, while projects in 2017 forecast local spending at more than 100 million HRK.