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Colombian President Santos Announces Film Bill at Cartagena Fest Kick-Off

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos - H 2012
JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images

The FICCI’s 52th edition opened with a public outdoor screening of Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza’s social drama "Choco."

CARTAGENA – Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos attended the opening of the Cartagena film festival Thursday night and announced his full support for the new Film Bill 814, which is now in Congress and is expected to pass before June.

In his speech, Santos -- a self-proclaimed film buff -- explained the new legislation aims to "turn Colombia into a main location for both local and foreign high-budget films through a series of investment benefits."

"We expect at least six big-budget films to be shot in the country once the bill is passed," said Santos, noting that bill will "create an impact in the local film industry in terms of transferring knowledge and experience" and promote “an increase in job opportunities, services, international recognition and tourist promotion."

The bill creates a Film Development Fund and a series of tax exceptions for investments and donations, enabling a tax base deduction of up to 125 percent of invested or donated value for film productions.

The FICCI’s 52th edition opened with a public outdoor screening of Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza’s Choco, a social drama tapping on women’s rights that was screened at the Berlinale’s Forum.

A determined promoter of the small yet growing Colombian film industry, the fest will screen more than 100 films free of charge for the first time. There will also be meetings with producers, industry agents and a pitching seminar. Top guests include Gael Garcia Bernal, Spanish filmmaker Alex de la Iglesia, Roland Joffe, and Isabella Rossellini.