Made in Colombia


Colombia has emerged as one of Latin America's fastest-growing television production hubs and it's looking to repeat the success in film.

Several foreign TV producers have launched studio operations in Colombia. NBC Universal's Telemundo has been operating there for about seven years and produces hundreds of hours of content annually. In January, Sony Pictures Television International bought a 50% stake in

Teleset, one of the nation's leading independent television shingles. And Fox International Channels produces series at its recently acquired Fox Telecolombia facility.

Colombia offers a 16% value-added tax devolution on production services. No direct fiscal incentives are available for foreign producers at the moment, however, Colombian partners can apply for tax credits of up to 42%.

Over the years, Colombia has struggled to compete with regional leaders Brazil and Argentina, but perceptions are changing.

"I would rank (Colombia) near the very top when considering availability of writing, acting and directing talent, set design and construction, and overall organization and value for the money," Sony's Fitzgerald says.

Fox International Channels sees Colombia as the perfect fit for its broad cost-cutting model. There it has produced English- and Spanish-language series on an economical scale, even by Latin American standards.

"Production costs are almost as low as Argentina's, meaning they are a lot lower than Brazil's or Mexico's," says Emiliano Saccone, senior vp at Fox Latin American Channels.

On the film front, Colombia is seeking to land more runaway productions like 2007's "Love in the Time of Cholera," which left about $15 million for the local economy. "Cholera" had such a profound economic impact that it served as a catalyst to launch the nascent Colombian Film Commission.