Scout & About: The Islands - Fiji
Ever since the 1949 version of “The Blue Lagoon” was filmed on Fiji, Hollywood has been coming back for the country’s pristine beaches, spectacular coral reefs, dense rainforest and colonial architecture.
Equally alluring is Fiji’s massive 47% tax rebate (possibly the highest available anywhere), along with three other local incentives.
The incentives came into force at the start of 2011, and now films can shoot part of their script in Fiji and still qualify for a 47% rebate provided they meet the minimum qualifying Fiji production expenditure of $125,000.
Another significant change to Fiji’s rebate law is the $25,000 minimum qualifying Fiji production expenditure for TV commercials. Previously, TV spots had to spend the same minimum as features to qualify for the rebate, despite their smaller budgets.
These changes have already begun to yield results, “with increased interest not only from Hollywood but from Bollywood,” says Florence Swamy, CEO of Fiji Film. “We have an established history of filmmaking — ‘Castaway,’ ‘Eco-Challenge,’ ‘Anacondas,’ ‘Survivor’ — and we’ve just hosted a feature film from the U.K., and two Bollywood films under the Eros banner.”
Upcoming productions, Swamy says, include “one from Hollywood, which is currently in Fiji on pre-production work and will begin filming mid-August. A Bollywood film will start shooting at the end of August. A number of films from both Hollywood and Bollywood are scheduled for shooting before the end of the year. This is in addition to a reality TV show from Los Angeles.”
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