Cannes: Thailand Unveils Production Incentives of up to 20 Percent

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'The Hangover Part II' and 'The Beach' are among the films shot in the country, with production largely unaffected by a military coup in 2014.

Thailand on Saturday during an event held in Cannes unveiled plans for film and TV production incentives.

The Asian country will offer a 15 percent cash rebate on all in-country production spending beginning in 2017. Every production with a local spend over $1.5 million (50 million baht) will automatically get the 15 percent rebate. 

The total can rise to up to 20 percent. Beyond the 15 percent, an additional 3 percent is available if a project hires a Thai actor or actress for the lead role, or key Thai production staff. Another 2 percent is available for movies deemed to promote Thai tourism.

General Tanasak Patimapragorn, the country's deputy prime minister and chairman of the National Film and Video Committee, and Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand's minister of tourism and sports, unveiled the incentives, which industry insiders in the country had been hoping for and anticipating for years. 

Thailand's natural environment and lively urban scenes make it popular with overseas filmmakers, and the big success of the Chinese movie Lost in Thailand in 2013 resulted in a huge rise in the number of Chinese tourists to the country. Big productions shot in the country in recent years include The Hangover Part II, The Beach, The Impossible and No Escape.

"We already had a very good reputation for having some of the best crews and locations in the region," Kobkarn told THR. "We are confident that this incentive will make Thailand even more competitive. We hope it will help us attract not just more productions, but also higher-quality films." 

"We currently have a number of big shoots considering coming to Thailand," said Nicholas Simon, founder of Southeast Asia production services company Indochina Productions, which recently facilitated the Vietnam shoot of Legendary Entertainment's Kong: Skull Island. "[This incentive] could be a game changer." 

"The smaller films are already coming, but the incentive will help attract more studio films," added Rachvin Narula, CEO of Bangkok-based production services film Benetone Films. 

Figures published by the Thailand Film Office earlier this year showed that the number of foreign shoots in the country increased by 15 percent in 2015, led by China, which shot 48 films there.