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Colombian Incentive Looks to Attract Foreign Shoots

Undertow Film Still - P 2012
"Undertow"

A newly created film law sweetens the deal for foreign producers.

BOGOTA -- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday is signing into law a new filming incentive that aims to substantially boost the number of runaway productions hosted here.

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Under the law, foreign producers can tap into an annual fund and save up to 40% on production and post-production services, as well as 20% on accommodations, transport costs and catering. To qualify for the cash rebate, foreign shingles must hire local production service companies and invest at least $570,000 while shooting in Colombia. 

The fund becomes available on Jan. 1 and it's launching with $14 million in resources for the first year, with the possibility of that amount increasing each year.  

A film law established in 2003 makes rebates available only if foreign producers enter into a co-production with a Colombian partner, but now they can go it alone providing they contract Colombian crews. Rodrigo Guerrero, co-founder of Colombian production house Dynamo (co-producer of the 2010 Sundance Audience Award winner Undertow), sees the new law as a game-changer.

"This opens the door wide open," he said. "We already have two American projects lined up and the negotiations are in an advanced stage."

Dynamo's production services division is one of several Colombian outfits that stand to benefit from the law.

The president's announcement comes during a week-long industry gathering in Colombia, the 3rd annual Bogota Audiovisual Market. During the event, representatives from Universal Pictures, Participant Media, Harbinger Pictures, Parallel Media and Hollywood Studios International were visiting some of the nation's top filming destinations and key production facilities. 

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Colombia has emerged in recent years as an important Latin America location. High-profile film shoots here include Mike Newell's Love in the Time of Cholera and Paul Haggis' The Next Three Days, while on the television side, divisions of Telemundo, Fox and Sony regularly produce content out of Colombia.