'Summer,' 'Houba' and 'Cristiada' first to receive in

Mexico has released the names of the first three films to receive funding from the nation’s new tax incentive program, known as the Fondo ProAudiovisual.

The films are Mel Gibson’s prison drama “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” which shot earlier this year; Alain Chabat’s “Houba! Le marsupilami et l’orquidee de Chicxulub,” starring Gerard Depardieu and Julie Delpy, which is shooting through December; and Mexico’s “Cristiada,” which wrapped this summer.

The program, managed by Mexican trade promotion body ProMexico, was first announced by President Felipe Calderon.

ProMexico, the Mexican Film Institute (Imcine) and the National Film Commission (Comefilm) said the spend for the three films totaled 387.5 million pesos ($31 million).

By meeting the minimum spend of $5.6 million, each film will now receive a refund of 7.5% of their investments.

The fund was originally established to draw big-budget foreign productions, but “Cristiada” — produced by local shingle New Land Films — more than qualified for the program with a total spend of $12 million, an unheard-of figure for a domestic picture in a nation where most features cost around $1.5 million.

An epic depiction of Mexico’s religious Cristero uprising in the 1920s, “Cristiada” is helmed by “Lord of the Rings” fx supervisor Dean Wright and features Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria Parker and Peter O’Toole.

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