Mexico Improves Filming Incentive

Get the Gringo Mel Gibson Still - H 2012
© 2011 Icon Films

Get the Gringo Mel Gibson Still - H 2012

The country has sweetened minimum-spend requirement, targeting U.S. indie producers.

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico has reduced the minimum spend required for foreign productions seeking cash rebates.

Previously set at 70 million pesos ($5.5 million), runaway shoots can now spend a minimum of 40 million pesos (about $3.1 million) during the pre-production and production phases in Mexico. For the post-production stage, the minimum spend is 10 million pesos (roughly $785,000).

The Mexican Film Commission (Comefilm) expects the revised incentive to draw more low- and medium-budget projects, such as U.S. and European independent films, and perhaps even some television projects as well.

Additionally, Comefilm says producers can now "bundle" several small projects in order to qualify for the rebate.

The incentive program, known as ProAv, allows for reimbursements of up to 7.5 percent on expenses. That, coupled with a 10 percent VAT exemption, allow foreign producers to save as much as 17.5 percent.

Six feature films have benefited from the incentive since 2010, including the Mel Gibson-produced action film Get the Gringo, EuropaCorp's revenge drama Colombiana and Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi movie Elysium.

Though foreign shoots are generally safe here, Mexico has been battling an image problem due to an ongoing drug war that has claimed at least 70,000 lives since 2006.