Bogota Audiovisual Market Showcases Colombia's Thriving Industry

The so-called BAM has emerged as a hot new stop for international buyers and producers.

MEXICO CITY -- The fourth edition of the fast-growing Bogota Audiovisual Market, aka BAM, kicks off on Monday, and Colombia’s film and TV industries have never looked better.

Production output is rising, movie admissions have doubled since 2007, and the country has become a much safer shooting destination in recent years.

Colombia is now considered one of Latin America’s top TV production hubs, with Fox, Telemundo and Sony all producing content out of their local partners’ studios.

On the film side, the industry has seen a dramatic turnaround since the nation’s first film law was established in 2003. Back in the day, Colombia was producing about four feature films a year; now it averages about 14 annually.

The industry got great news out of the BAM last year when Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, a self-proclaimed movie buff, announced attractive new filming incentives aimed at drawing foreign shoots.

The incentives offer a 40 percent cash rebate for film service expenditures and a 20 percent reimbursement for logistical services, such as hotel, food and transport. The minimum spend is about $590,000, and local production service companies must be hired. 

Colombia estimates the new incentives, which target high-profile Hollywood productions, will bring in more than $200 million and generate 4,000 new industry jobs in about five years.

Recent shoots on Colombian soil include the Paul Haggis thriller The Next Three Days and the supernatural thriller Out of the Dark, a Participant Media-Dynamo co-production starring Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman.

Participant’s head of production Jonathan King was among the international guests attending the BAM last year. This year’s edition runs July 8 to 12 and features Canada as the guest country.