Romania Unveils Europe's Most Generous Film Incentives

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Bucharest, Romania

The plan's cash rebates are worth between 35 percent to 45 percent of international production budgets.

Romania has unveiled Europe's most generous film incentives, with the Eastern European country's government approving a cash rebate scheme worth up to 45 percent of a film's budget for qualifying international productions.

It is designed to attract international movies to the former Communist country turned EU member to support the state's fast-growing film production and service industry.

The new plan, which has an annual $57 million available to spend on a first-come, first-served based until 2020, is worth at least 35 percent. Productions that specifically promote Romania and spend a minimum 20 percent of their budget in-country can qualify for an additional 10 percent rebate, in effect meaning that up to 45 percent of production costs can be clawed back.

The plan, introduced to U.S and international producers in Santa Monica at this year's AFM, was formally approved Wednesday, allowing the country to take on regional rivals, such as Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, where incentives worth 20 percent to 30 percent are available.

Minimum qualifying expenses are set at $115,000, and the plan is open to feature-length, medium-length and short fiction films, documentaries and animated pics. The rebate cannot exceed $15 million per project.

To qualify, international projects must have a production services or co-production contract with a Romanian production company.

Production companies said the new plan will further embed what Romania has to offer international producers. "We strongly believe that these kinds of game-changing tax incentives, if used wisely, could revitalize not only the national film industry, but also upgrade cinema worldwide," said Ioana Mischie, who was attending AFM for Bucharest-based production and post-production shingle Studioset, where she was recently appointed its transmedia futurist.

Mischie added that she hoped the incentives may be extended in the future to "additional creative industries, such as VR, games or expanded story worlds."