”Homeland”-creator on how to attract film and TV-productions to Copenhagen

15 Aug 2015, Posted by Liv Saalbach Holse in Uncategorized

In connection to Copenhagen TV Festival Copenhagen Film Fund invited one of the world’s most successful TV-series creators to Copenhagen. Howard Gordon has been a key figure on “24” and created “Homeland” which have earned him three Emmys. We spoke to him about the potential and challenges for Copenhagen as an international film city. Read the exclusive interview in which he tells, why it is so important to have a financially strong Copenhagen Film Fund.


What would it take for you as a producer and creator to choose Copenhagen as a shooting location?
“Two things: The most important is if the location needed fits Copenhagen. Which is to say, are we shooting in Copenhagen for Copenhagen or as a double for another city? We are shooting in Berlin right now for the next season of “Homeland” because the show is absolutely set in Berlin. But I am also shooting in Prague right now with a show called “Legend”. We are using the city as a double for London and Paris. In that case we chose Prague, because there was a tremendous tax break. And very good film crews. So the three most important factors are location, film crews and financial incentive. Money basically.”


What should a city or a municipality have to offer to attract mayor film productions beside the financial incentives?
“Infrastructure. I would say that is a distant second behind the financial incentive.”


Los Angeles became a movie hotspot because it had everything: The sun, the ocean and the mountains nearby etc. Copenhagen is very specific Copenhagen. Have you seen enough of the city to assess whether it could double for another city?
“My sense is that you are right. It is very specific. It couldn’t double for Paris, so I can see the challenge. But we are using Budapest as a double for a city in a fictional Eastern European country, so maybe you can do that with Copenhagen. We built a lot of phenomenal sets in Budapest with great carpenters and builders at a tremendous discount.“


Copenhagen is an expensive city and relatively small. Which challenges does Copenhagen have?
“It doesn’t seem like a city that would double easily for another place. Although, when I am looking around it could be Vancouver which attracts a lot productions. Vancouver has a modern feel to it too. But the big incentive of Vancouver is the tax break.”


We don’t have a tax break here, but we have Copenhagen Film Fund that invests money directly into the productions that come here. Is that a way to go, or is tax breaks better than cash?
“Both. In Berlin we were looking for the German Federal Film Fund to give us money. We don’t have it yet, but that was a big incentive. Cash and tax breaks are equally good. They are both very big incentives.“


What advice would you give Copenhagen to attract film productions?
“Assuming there is a financial incentive – whether it is tax breaks or cash – is to make relationships with the studios and executives and find shows, that could be a fit with Copenhagen. Maybe if the show was set in the future. Pitch directly to the studios and inform them, that you are open for business and have great film crews. Make a big book about Copenhagen and do some of the imagination for them as to why this could work. They shot the “The Martian” directed by Ridley Scott in Budapest. Why couldn’t that be in Copenhagen?”


How well known is Denmark and especially Copenhagen as a potential shooting location in Hollywood?
“It has never come up. I only hear about things when there is a financial incentive to make it work. And I have not heard Copenhagen come up yet. But if there is money coming in you should definitely make that known. Get the message out: Come and get it.“