Thais plan tax breaks to draw shoots

Cabinet adds incentives to lure productions

BANGKOK — In an effort to attract more location shoots, the Thai cabinet last week approved in principle a master plan to add more tax incentives for foreign productions filming in the kingdom.

Move reps a big marketing boost for the country even though the plan won’t go fully into effect for a year at least. The next step is for the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and Thailand Film Office to work with the Ministry of Finance and the Board of Investment to spell out the detailed plan concerning tax refunds to foreign productions, the possibility of drafting bilateral privileges with interested countries in terms of co-production and the potential of establishing a tax-free industrial park for film production financed by Thai and foreign investors.

Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kohsurat said the plan will improve the attractiveness and competitiveness of Thailand as a film location.

Wanasiri Morakul, director of Thailand Film Office, said, “It will take a while to draft the actual guidelines of the tax incentives, but it will certainly benefit both Thailand and the productions choosing to come here.”Hong Kong martial arts epic “Stormwarriors” is shooting in Bangkok. Later this month the Weinstein Co.’s “Shanghai,” starring John Cusack, Chow Yun-fat and Gong Li, will start shooting in various locations around the country. And later in the year, the Wesley Snipe starrer “Chase the Dragon” will arrive on location here.

The “Stormwarriors” shoot is taking place mainly in converted warehouses in Bangkok, an efficient though not entirely ideal substitute for fully equipped soundstages.

“Under the Board of Investment rule, a full-scale movie park covering every stage of the production will get an eight-year tax break,” said Morakul of the Film Office. “Hopefully, this will attract foreign investors to form a joint venture with Thai companies, who need more financial support to pull off such large-scale projects.”

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