Shooting of French film The Lake completed: ‘We enjoyed working in Croatia’

The French film, The Lake, officially finished shooting on 25 July. The action-packed thriller is directed by Steven Quale and is produced by Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp. The movie was shot in Croatia thanks to Croatian Audiovisual Centre's production incentive. ‘We enjoyed filming there, the crew is professional, flexible and dedicated to the film.  We can not ask for more’, said producer Raphaël Benoliel.

The plot is structured around marine commandos trying to solve a long-forgotten secret. At the bottom of a lake they find crates filled with gold bars. The film is set in Bosnia & Herzegovina, though the majority of the film is shot in different locations in Croatia. Two crews filmed in Zagreb, Istria and the surrounding area (Grožnjan and Hum), Karlovac, Ogulin, Lokve Lake in Gorski Kotar, as well as Čiče Lake near Velika Gorica. 

'We did not have the time to see the entire country but we had the chance to explore a large variety of locations. From the charming and smallest village in the world Hum, to the Zagreb Fair where we re-created a city destroyed by the war. The support of all the cities we had to shoot in as well as the one from the national army have made our shoot a wonderful experience', said Benoliel.

Half of the crew was made up of Croatian film professionals: set designers, camera/coordinator crews, first and second unit directors, directors of photography, and stunt performers. Some of the supporting roles were played by Croatian actors, and over a thousand extras were engaged. The production house Pakt Media was responsible for servicing production in Croatia, while EuropaCorp’s budget for the film is set at almost 7 million EUR. The Croatian Audiovisual Centre’s rebates render a twenty percent return on local costs. The film’s premiere is planned for summer 2016.

'Rebate is essential when you choose a destination. The Croatian one is a good model. Hrvoje Hribar and the HAVC are a great help for the rebate and way more. Croatia is definitely on my top destination list for shooting. Thanks again to all the technicians and crew that worked with us, to Diego Zanco and his incredible team', Benoliel said. 

In the three years since it was initiated, the rebate program for film/television production has attracted a total of 17 international projects which have spent over 165 million HRK on Croatian services and products. It is estimated that international projects will generate over 200 million HRK in local spending in 2015.

Eight productions have applied to the program in the first half of 2015, while seven more are in the works until the end of the year. From those who have applied, five projects were shot in locations in Croatia: Luc Besson’s The Lake, NBC series Dig for USA Network, the Indian film Fan, the third season of Crossing Lines, and Marion Hänsel’s Belgian film En amont du fleuve (Upriver). 

Production is also under way for the animated documentary Chris the Swiss by Swiss director Anja Kofmel, which is being coproduced by Croatian Nukleus Film, while by the end of summer the Winnetou trilogy Philipp Stölzl will commence shooting, as well as the sixth season of Game of Thrones, and the children’s film When My Father Became a Bush by Dutch director Nicole van Kilsdonk.

The second half of the year will see announced shooting of the Italian film Un Confine Incerto by director Isabella Sandri, the Danish film Second Best from director Mikkel Serup, the German TV film Mordkommission Split , Part I and II (aka Branka Marić und Der Teufel von Split) by Michael Kreindl, and the French-Croatian biopic L’Odysée about Jacques Cousteau by Jérôme Salle

Filming in Croatia is a programme of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre