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Serbia approved cash rebates in March for international film and TV projects spending at least €2 million locally: 12% is available on labor, and 15% on costs of goods and services.

Qualifying spending includes coin to Serbian companies and individuals for purchase or rental, use of locations, and salaries and taxes paid locally. Spend on international crew may count if they pay taxes in Serbia. Applications are on a first-come, first-served basis until Nov. 15. The region is trying to make its mark, as nearby Croatia introduced tax incentives in April.

STUDIOS & FACILITIES UPDATE
Pfi Studio: The newly built PFI Studios has eight soundstages with production offices and ancillary facilities. A 3,800-square-foot soundstage is planned and audio/video post facilities, including HD editing suites, color grading, Telecine and satellite uplink for daily rushes, are online. Most recent addition is the 1,400-sq. ft. greenscreen stage.

Cinelab: CineLab in Belgrade offers modern processing and post with Kodak-controlled chemicals and quality. plus film cleaning, 4K and 2K film scanning, restoration, color correction and digital intermediate work.

Other Options: Local firm Vision Team is the Arri rental partner in a network that spans Hungary, U.K. and Germany. Serbia is member of the international ATA Carnet system and therefore enables a production to promptly and easily import film equipment from any country of origin that is an ATA member.

RESOURCES & CREW DEPTH
Serbia has yet to see two major simultaneous productions with heavy extended labor demands but did manage two lower-budget films last summer. Crews commonly work 11-12 hours daily, six days a week and have built a rep for notable skills in set construction and design.

Projects: Ralph Fiennes shot his Berlinale entry “Coriolanus” in the country last year, and John Cusack starrer “The Raven” employed about 250 this year while other smaller productions were shooting.

Intl. Appeal: Location shooting and studio rentals are employed in roughly equal measure by foreign producers and Avala Studios (avalafilm.com), on 90 acres of land in Kosutnjak, a large recreational park four miles from Belgrade, offers a backlot Rome replica that is extensively used for Italian TV series.

POST & VFX
Generally competitive with high-tech post, Serbia’s best-known vfx facilities, Crater (craterstudio.com), Digitalkraft (digitalkraft.rs) and Fried Pictures (friedpictures.com) have good track records with film and commercial producers Stateside and in Western Europe and the Middle East. Compositing, matte painting, 3D animation and modeling, lighting, match moving, rotoscoping and character animation are all common, and clients include Adam McKay’s cop comedy “The Other Guys.”

FILM COMMISSION CONTACTS
Web: filminserbia.com

THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Film production companies are eligible for VAT rebates for locally purchased commodities and services used for production. VAT in Serbia is 18%.