Croatia to Continue Production Incentives Despite Film Center Crisis
The government of the Eastern European country confirms its commitment to "maintaining and strengthening" its tax breaks for foreign productions.
The Croatian government will continue its production incentives for filmmakers despite a crisis at the national film center that administers the 20 percent tax rebate scheme.
Production incentives in the European Union member state, where Lionsgate's retelling of British folklore story Robin Hood: Origins, starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx is currently shooting, have attracted a raft of projects since they were launched in 2011.
Projects that have shot in the country include HBO's Game of Thrones, and the country's popular filming locations include the Adriatic medieval port city of Dubrovnik.
The financial incentives are not under threat, Croatia's Minister of Culture Nina Obuljen Korzinek tells The Hollywood Reporter amid recent debate about their future. "The government is committed to maintaining and further strengthening the system of tax incentives for foreign film productions," she says. "The Croatian government is determined to continue to support the functioning of the Croatian Audiovisual Center [HAVC] as the main body in charge of audiovisual production in Croatia."
Korzinek adds: "The Ministry has this year doubled the sum earmarked for financing incentives for foreign productions, and we can confirm that the government will respect all commitments and will ensure return of the investment for those productions that are underway."
The ministry also plans to "soon launch public consultations" on Croatia's Audiovisual Law "to confirm" HAVC's independent role "with regard to grant-giving procedures," according to Korzinek.
HAVC was plunged into crisis earlier this month when its head, Hrvoje Hribar, resigned following a damning State Audit Office report that revealed financial irregularities. Hribar insisted Friday that all the money earmarked for 2017 incentives, around 2.2 million euros ($2.3 million), was already committed.
He tells THR: "It is enough to fulfill the requirements of the last installments owed to productions from 2015/2016; in addition there is 700,000 [Croatian] kuna ($100,000) left for 2017 productions."
He adds that following the public consultation that the ministry of culture is launching, he believes that "some fresh money" could be injected into the rebate scheme by the middle of the year. "The prime minister and several members of the government are fully aware of the importance of the problem and they feel obliged to find a solution," he tells THR.
Last week, Daniel Rafaelic was appointed new acting director of HAVC when Hribar formally stepped down after attending the Berlin Film Festival, where Croatia was represented at the European Film Market.