Slovenia is a very diverse country in terms of landscape, gastronomy, culture and dialects. Its picturesqueness and diversity make it an excellent film location for Slovenian and foreign film productions.
The Alps, the sea, vineyards, hills and valleys, olive groves, high mountains, lakes, river islands, dense and numerous forests – all of these are easily accessible. The country’s diversity and accessibility are strong arguments in favour of Slovenia, where there are also well-preserved historical buildings and the hospitality and reliability for which Slovenians are known.
This year, the Slovenian Film Centre (SFC) was featured for the first time at the American Film Market (AFM). The presentation of Slovenia as a film location took place in cooperation with the Slovenian Tourist Board (STO). So far, Slovenia has been successfully featured at festivals and film markets in Cannes, London and Berlin. And now for the first time in America as well.
Prior to the increased interest in film production, Slovenia was particularly attractive for advertisers in the automotive industry.
Global film stars in Slovenia
The homage to the film heritage of Piran brings back the golden times when world-class film stars such as Orson Welles, Marcello Mastroianni, Peter Ustinov, František Čap, James Mason, Yves Montand, Maximilian Schell, James Coburn, Sam Peckinpah, Klaus Kinski, Stewart Granger, Simone Signoret, Alida Valli, Senta Berger, Alberto Lattuada, Alberto Sordi, George Hamilton, Rex Gildo, Arne Mattsson and many forgotten ones walked along the streets of Piran.
After Piran, the filmmakers also began discovering other locations.
So far, the most famous and successful film for which certain scenes were filmed in Slovenia is The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008).
In the film directed by Andrew Adamson, the Soča Valley became the fairy-tale Fords of Beruna for a few minutes on screen, and even a wooden bridge was built for the purposes of filming.
Scenes for foreign films that featured very famous actors were filmed in Slovenia. Among the best known are Pierce Brosnan and Tom Cruise. In 1992, Brosnan, who among other roles also played the legendary James Bond, performed in the film, Death Train (1993), which featured a scene filmed on the Ljubljana – Kočevje railway line, more precisely from Ribnica, past Hrovača towards Lipovec.
Jackie Chan also filmed in Slovenia. His film, Armour of God (1986), was filmed at Predjama Castle near Postojna.
Scenes for Bollywood films (Hindi cinema, formerly Bombay cinema) were also filmed in various corners of Slovenia.
The Witcher (2019) filmed by Netflix is considered one of the most popular TV series of all time. The crew, along with the famous actor Henry Cavill, shot certain scenes for episodes of the third season in Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle, in the surrounding area of Kranjska Gora and at the church of St Jerome on Mt Nanos.
- A scene from Bollywood film. Photo: RTA archives
- Lake Bled with two traditional wooden boats with the church on the island in the background.. Photo: Vid Rotor/www.slovenia.si
- Henry Cavill Photo: Jean Nelson/ Depositphotos.com
- A Hall in Postojna Cave with stalactites and stalagmites. Photo: Miha Krivic/Depositphotos.com
The picturesque Karst natural wonder – the Rakov Škocjan Valley – was one of the filming locations of the high fantasy television series, The Wheel of Time (2021), which features Oscar nominee, Rosamund Pike. Filming also took place in the valley of the emerald Soča River.
The Australian actress and multiple Oscar nominee, Naomi Watts, filmed Infinite Storm (2022) at Mt Krvavec. Watts was making a film in the snowy environment about a climber caught in a snow blizzard.
Central Slovenia, particularly Ljubljana, is also attractive for foreign film productions. The South Korean film crew of the popular Black Knight TV series filmed in the Slovenian capital. The episodes featured the works of architect Jože Plečnik. They also used scenes from the Alpine Lake Bled and the Mediterranean town centre of Piran.
The Lebanese crime series, Al Wasem (2021), dramatising shady dealings between Middle Eastern gangsters and the European Mafia, was partly filmed in Maribor. The series was shown on the Shahid platform, the Arab version of Netflix.
The American spy thriller series, Citadel (2023), was filmed in the UK, Spain, and the USA, while certain scenes were also shot in Bovec and Kobarid. The star-studded cast included Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Filming took place in Slovenia’s ski centre, Kanin, which offers scenic views of the Alps and all the way to the Adriatic Sea some one hundred kilometres to the south. Certain scenes were also filmed on the slopes of Mt Stol near Kobarid.
At the end of 2022, American action thriller The Union was filmed in Piran with a star-studded cast that included Halle Berry, Mark Wahlberg and J. K. Simmons. They filmed at 17 different locations in Slovenia, but most of the film was shot in Piran.
Slovenia’s film story is developing towards greater prominence. There are many attractive locations in the country waiting to be discovered.
The curtain on the big screen is being pulled back and film industry insiders are becoming increasingly excited about Slovenia. Many visit the country after seeing it on the silver screen.
Slovenian films and film creators were the pioneers who took the beauty of Slovenia into the world and now global stars are discovering it, too. We can certainly be proud to live in a country that offers such a wealth of wonderful film locations.
Slovenian Filme Centre
The Slovenian Film Centre promotes Slovenia as a film destination, particularly within the operations of the Slovenia Film Commission which is intended for the promotion of Slovenia as a film destination. Foreign producers and film directors are offered support in the form of information, location scouting and making contacts with Slovenian companies and local industry professionals. In accordance with the law, the Centre carries out the measure of remuneration that complies with 25 per cent of eligible costs used directly for the production of cinematographic or audiovisual works in the territory of the Republic of Slovenia.
Date: 3. January 2024
Time to read: 3 min