Georgia to Launch Film Tax Rebate

Tangerines - P 2015

The Caucasian country is ahead of other ex-Soviet republics in attracting foreign film crews.

The country of Georgia is preparing to launch a tax-rebate scheme next year in a bid to attract Hollywood and other foreign film crews.

The Georgian National Film Center (GNFC) is introducing a 20 percent rebate on qualifying expenses and an additional 2 percent for Georgian elements in projects.

"The minimum spend will be around $300,000 or a little bit less," said David Vashadze, head of exports and distribution at GNFC. "The decision has to be made until the end of August."

According to Vashadze, there are several factors that could attract Hollywood crews to the country.

"We think that Georgia could be an attractive location destination for Hollywood productions because of its diverse architecture, a mixture of European Asian and Soviet style," he said. "[Also,] there are different climate zones in a small territory, within one day they could shoot snow mountains, desert and seaside."

He also mentioned low bureaucracy, a film-friendly atmosphere and low taxes as other competitive advantages of Georgia.

The country has already been attracting foreign projects, including a British feature and a TV series pilot, scheduled to shoot later this year, but the tax-rebate scheme is set to attract a larger number of foreign productions.

Georgia is set to become the first former Soviet republic outside the Baltic States to have tax incentives for filmmakers. However, unlike the Baltics, it is located in a much warmer climate zone and near the Black Sea.

Back in the Soviet era, Georgian cinema school produced several major filmmakers, such as Tengiz Abuladze, whose Repentance won the Cannes Grand Jury Prize back in 1987.

Most recently, Georgia's film industry has put itself on the international map again, thanks to Zaza Urushadze's Mandariinid (Tangerines), which won Golden Globe and Oscar nominations in the best foreign film category earlier this year and had a theatrical release in the United States.