Medellin, the former drug capital of Colombia, has launched a film commission as part of concerted bid to convert it into the film capital of this Andean nation. Spurred by Medellin mayor Anibal Gaviria, a 10-year strategic plan begins with construction next year of what Medellin film commissioner Francisco Pulgarin describes will be the largest audiovisual complex in Latin America with film and TV studios and other amenities. Infrastructure build-up will complement an initiative to train more people — in both English and Spanish — in the audiovisual sector.

“We believe that film, aside from being an artistic expression, generates many services that help revitalize an economy,” said Pulgarin, who is attending AFM along with international relations coordinator Manuela Valencia.

Spurred by a new national film law that offers a return of 40% on all service expenditures and 20% of hotel, food and transportation expenses to film and TV movie productions spending more than $500,000, Colombia is becoming a go-to location for a growing number of international producers. Medellin has already seen some foreign productions this year including Kirk Sullivan’s “The Dead Men,” and episodes of AXN’s “Covert Affairs” and FoxLife’s “House Hunters International.” Medellin native Victor Gaviria (“The Rose Seller”) is prepping his next pic, “La mujer del animal,” backed by foreign producers.