Austria launches new film incentive

Government to invest $25 million over two years in scheme

COLOGNE, Germany -- The Austrian government has approved a new law that will put up $25 million (€20 million) in financing over the next two years to boost local productions and attract more international productions to shoot in the Alpine nation.

As Austrian-born Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz would say: "that's a bingo!"

The new model, called Film Location Austria, will cover up to 25% of a project's local spend -- the costs incurred during the Austrian shoot. Support will be capped at 15% of the fund's total budget: $6.5 million (€5 million) this year and just under $10 million (€7.5 million) in 2011 and 2012.

International productions require an Austrian co-producer to qualify and have to spend at least 25% of their total budget in country. Projects will also have to pass a "cultural test" similar to those required by comparable schemes in Germany and France.

Austria's economics minister Reinhold Mitterlehner said the new law is a direct result of the recent success of Austrian productions and talent. He cited Waltz' Academy Award for "Inglourious Basterds," Oscar nominations this year for "The White Ribbon" director Michael Haneke and cameraman Christian Berger and Stefan Ruzowitzky's "The Counterfeiters," which in 2008 became the first Austrian film to win the Foreign Language Oscar.

Recent high-end productions to shoot in Austria include the Tom Cruise/Cameron Dias thriller "Knight and Day" and Starz Entertainment's epic miniseries "The Pillars of the Earth."