Wednesday Series Boosts Screen Tourism in Romania as Film Sector Awaits for Authorities to Restart Cash Rebate Scheme

    Cantacuzino Castle Cantacuzino Castle credit: cantacuzinocastle.com

    BUCHAREST: Screen tourism is already noticeable on locations where the Wednesday series directed by Tim Burton was shot in Romania, especially at the Cantacuzino Castle in Bușteni, which stands in for the Nevermore Academy.

    The series launched on Netflix on 23 November 2022 was shot entirely in Romania, serviced by Icon Films. The shoot of the second season will largely depend on the Romanian authorities, which halted the cash rebate scheme in 2020.

    On 6 January 2023 Netflix announced that Wednesday will have a second season, but it is unknown at this point if it will be shot in Romania. Alma Bacula, Head of Production Film and Television with Icon Films, believes that the decision to shoot the second season of the series in Romania will depend largely on the determination of the Romanian authorities to re-launch the cash rebate scheme, which started in October 2018, halted in 2019, re-launched in August 2020, but has been inoperative since then.

    “It is unfortunate that the Romanian tax incentive programme, which is attractive to international productions, is currently inoperative. This made it challenging to handle the production in Romania, as other countries in the region offer these incentives, are very competitive in costs and very production friendly. We hope to discuss soon the production of the second season in Romania and the benefits it will bring, but we really need this time the real support and commitment of the Romanian government to restart the incentive programme and to fulfil our obligations. With this support, we can continue to showcase the country's unique cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, our film industry, and the talent of its people on a global stage, bringing even more benefits to the series, the industry, and Romania as a whole”, Alma Bacula told FNE.

    Wednesday, which is the most important film project shot in Romania so far and a big success on Netflix, has already cast a spell among its viewers, also with its locations. The most fascinating of them is the Cantacuzino Castle in Bușteni, where screen tourists started to flock soon after the premiere of the series.

    “We've registered an increase in the total number of visitors, which started with the mini-holiday on 1 December 2022. Although we had expected a high number of tourists, the wave that grabbed us completely exceeded our expectations for that period. As a result, in December 2022, we had a significant increase in the number of visitors compared to the same month of the previous year”, Kurt Neuschitzer, Attorney at Law, CEO & Business Administrator of the Cantacuzino Castle, told FNE.

    Not only the number of Romanian visitors increased, but also the number of foreign tourists. And the age of the visitors also changed. “There has been a sudden increase in visitors aged 5 to 18. This can only be a positive thing, considering that, although we were used to having children around, for whom we have always been organising activities in the warm season, the Cantacuzino Castle was not as popular a destination among teenagers until now”, Kurt Neuschitzer added.

    It is expected that the Netflix series will give a boost to the screen tourism in Romania and this is something to be seen in the months to come, especially during the summer vacation.

    Last week the Elexus Hotel in Predeal, which hosted some of the actors from the series, launched an advertisement related to the series, but it is too early to measure its effects. Predeal, Bușteni and Sinaia, located in the Prahova Valley in the Carpathian Mountains, are the mountain resorts most sought after by tourists in Romania.

    Wednesday was shot entirely in Romania in 2022, in over 100 days, and used various locations, including the royal train station in Sinaia as well as the Politehnica University, the Botanical Garden and the Monteoru House in Bucharest. The production also used the facilities of Buftea Studios, located near Bucharest.

    Wednesday was one of the most important projects shot in Romania so far and it has proven that the Romanian crews are highly professional”, Carmen Pepelea, who coordinated the production in Romania for Icon Films, told FNE.

    The Romanian crew had over 200 people, and the cast included Romanian actors George Burcea and Cezar Grumăzescu, and especially the magician Victor Dorobanțu, who lent his arm to play The Thing. Cinematographers Tudor Lucaciu and Liviu Pojoni Jr were also involved in the shooting.