Location Spotlight: Ukrainian Highlights
From easy European access to diverse locations, production service company 23/32 Films breaks down the best bits about shooting in Ukraine along with the best restaurants to hit up after a long day on set.
How would you pitch Ukraine to any production companies looking to shoot in your region?
Ukraine offers unique locations and an easy permit system even for complicated locations like airports, public transport, factories, central roads, etc. Also available are ethnically diverse casts, experienced and fast crews and unbeatable value for money (very competitive production costs). Ukraine has world class production service quality and great options for fast turnaround projects.
What are the main qualities of your region?
Ukraine had direct flights from most European capitals and has visa-free entry for most of the countries. Being a non-euro currency country keeps the costs lower than in the EU. Mix that with a diversity of landscape and architecture along with good infrastructure and great HORESCA standard, Ukraine has a bit of everything.
What would you say are the top locations in Ukraine?
The most popular locations are the main cities of Ukraine and their eclectic architecture - from Medieval fortresses to Soviet era Modernism, to high end modern architecture.
Diverse nature locations in close proximity to main cities makes shooting in the mountains, on beaches, the desert or in the wilderness easy and practical.
There are also quite a few urban and country roads with great views perfect for car commercials.
Some productions come for our unique locations like the metro stations, industrial factories, airplanes and airport hangars, military bases and historical sites, which would not normally be easily accessible for film crews. But in Ukraine it is not a problem to film there.
What location would you say is most popular?
The most popular interior locations are the National Library and the Ukrainian house convention centre.
The most popular exterior locations are the urban high rises of the Dnipro’s left bank and its bridges.
Explain the climate and the best/worst times to shoot in Ukraine?
There are four distinct seasons in Ukraine with snowy and sunny winters and a hot, long summer. The best period for shooting exterior locations are between April and October.
What specific work permits/Visas are required to shoot in Ukraine?
No special work permits or Visas are required to shoot in Ukraine. The permit times differ depending on location, but on average take no more than three to five days to acquire.
In light of the current global pandemic certain temporary restrictions exist for travellers from outside of Ukraine. A negative PCR test result issued no later than 48 hours before arrival is required for the countries with the highest index of current infection spread (updated every week).
How is the infrastructure in Ukraine for supporting large productions?
Let’s just say whatever you need, we probably have it!
From Russian arm and motion control, to sound stages and professional, English speaking crews. Ukraine also has great specialised crews. Among them SFX masters, food stylists, stuntmen, choreographers, animal trainers, etc.
Cast is ethnically diverse and there’s a big choice of great actors.
What have been your biggest/most successful productions in Ukraine to date?
It’s hard to choose just one. Two projects really stand out: A music video for a French artist called Orelsan:
and a promo for Netflix and Boom popcorn brand:
Although only one location is being used in each of the films, the scale and technical complexity of these films make them our most loved and achieved projects.
Where would you suggest a foreign production stay while they are in Ukraine?
Our favourite areas to stay are: Central Kyiv and Podil area (a historical centre of the city not far from Dnipro river).
Hotels our guests prefer are: Hyatt, Radisson Golden Gate, Intercontinental and Bursa.
Where are the best bars/restaurants? Any hidden gems you could suggest?
There are great bars and restaurants in every part of Kyiv. Our favourite restaurants are: Shoti (Georgian cuisine), Pantagruel (Italian cuisine), Sho (Ukrainian cuisine).
These bars have great cocktails and atmosphere: Loggerhead and Parovoz Speak Easy.
Any other tourist recommendations?
Our top things/places to do/visit while in Ukraine are:
- Motherland statue and WWII memorial in Kyiv (you can take an elevator up to her head and climb the stairs to the shield!)
- A beach on Dnipro river, Kyiv sea or Black sea (best in the summer)
- A visit to the House of Science in Lviv
- Visit Hotyn castle near Kahovka
- A stroll along the sea port in Odessa with a view of the Potemkin stairs
- ‘Closer’ night club in Kyiv for a great night out. It’s one of the best clubs in Europe.
Aerial photos credit: Sergiy Rystenko