Watch out Hollywood and Bollywood, the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus that has built a reputation as a tourist magnet thanks to its pristine beaches wants a piece of the action: enter “Olivewood” and Nicolas Cage. The American actor is starring in a multimillion dollar sci-fi martial arts movie being filmed in its entirety on the island thanks to a government initiative giving filmmakers cash rebates, tax breaks and other benefits. Cage’s action packer Jiu Jitsu is, along with adventure flick SOS: Survive or Sacrifice featuring US actor William Baldwin, the first foreign film to take advantage of the incentive plan dubbed “Olivewood”. How Bollywood is giving Hollywood a run for its money in China The scheme was launched by the government, which tasked Invest Cyprus to implement it in cooperation with the tourism and finance ministries, in a bid to attract foreign investment to the European Union member. “Cyprus is considered by a lot of people as a studio, a physical, natural [film] studio,” says Invest Cyprus chairman Michalis Michael. Jiu Jitsu producer Dimitri Logothetis and Martins Rozitis, who heads the production company for SOS: Survive or Sacrifice , were won over, but both agree that the “lack of infrastructure” remains a problem. “Definitely we suffer from a lack of equipment and studios,” Rozitis said on the set of his movie at the Moni fishing shelter, near the southern port of Limassol. “But still there are very good enthusiastic people here and companies who are starting to provide rentals of studio, cars, equipment.” Logothetis, a Greek-American who also directs Jiu Jitsu , said he had to bring in the equipment needed to shoot the movie. Logothetis has high hopes for Cyprus developing into a low-cost destination for filmmakers, like Bulgaria and Romania. “You know Bulgaria had nothing, and it’s got a huge studio now, Romania had nothing and now it’s got a huge studio and a lot of infrastructures,” he said. Invest Cyprus has an annual budget of € 25 million (US$28 million) and hopes it will be enough to attract € 70 million worth of investments from foreign film production houses, as well as create dozens of jobs on the island. But experts and industry folk agree that a lot more has to be done to build a solid film industry on the island. The Bollywood movie that’s beaten Star Wars at China’s box office “We need a film school … A studio will help big productions but also small productions to put the cost down,” said Longinos Panagi, who sits on the board of the Cyprus guild of directors. Cyprus filmmaker Marios Piperides, who won the Tribeca Film Festival’s Best International Narrative Feature in 2018 for his debut movie Smuggling Hendrix , is more upbeat. He hopes that “Olivewood” will help stimulate the industry, encourage more filmmakers to take the plunge and push more Cypriots to go to the movies.