×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fiji Boasts Incentives and Irresistible Extras

South Pacific archipelago invites international productions with tax breaks

Fiji is far from unknown in Hollywood. Its tropical mix of palm trees, crystal blue waters, coral reefs and white sand beaches has been featured prominently in projects ranging from the 2000 Tom Hanks movie “Cast Away” to the 2007 season of CBS’ “Survivor.” So it seems strange that a community so obsessed with finding the latest and greatest production incentive has failed to notice that the South Pacific archipelago has lately been offering one of the sweetest deals in the world — a 47% rebate on film, TV and commercials.

“The incentive is easy to access, there’s minimal paperwork and the conditions are not stringent,” says Florence Swamy, acting CEO of Film Fiji, which provides all location approvals and permits. “It’s something that major filmmakers can easily meet.”

To qualify, productions need to spend as little as $140,000, and the rebate applies to both above- and below-the-line expenditures. On the downside, the per-project payout is capped at $6.7 million, which may be a deterrent to some larger productions, as is the lack of soundstages on Fiji. But people don’t come to the tropics to stay indoors.

Fiji consists of more than 330 islands, only 112 of which are inhabited, and Swamy says much of it is still virgin ground to filmmakers.
But that could change. In 2012, Fiji hosted 49 TV shows and documentaries and seven feature films — six from India and one from the U.K. titled “Bula Quo!” starring veteran British rock band Status Quo and Jon Lovitz. The lone U.S. production of note was TNT reality show “72 Hours.”

People tend to think of Fiji as a beach paradise, but it offers a variety of other looks, including mountain ranges and urban cityscapes. Its capital city of Suva has stood in for everything from Manhattan to the Indian city of Chennai. It also has a wealth of well-preserved colonial architecture, a remnant of a century of British rule, which ended in 1970. The Sigatoka Sand Dunes on the island of Viti Levu have been used to portray desert locations. The islands, most of which were formed by volcanic activity, also boast a number of spectacular black-sand beaches.

Fiji also appeals to the Hollywood community in other ways. In a bid to attract wealthy vacation-goers — and perhaps well-heeled actors, directors and producers looking to unwind after they’ve wrapped a shoot — Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of the Red Bull energy drink company, just launched the Laucala Island resort.

Located on a private island in the Fijian archipelago, the luxury destination boasts an assortment of lavish residences, sporting activities and even its own farm to raise the crops and animals that supply ingredients for the cuisine of its high-end restaurant.

To serve the growing traffic between the islands and Los Angeles, Fiji Airways is expanding its service to eight direct flights a week during peak travel season. “We’re just one easy 10-hour flight away,” Swamy says. “You get on at about 11 o’clock in the evening and you arrive at 5 in the morning the next day.”

Related Stories: Scout and About: The Islands:

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • For web story

    Toronto: Sony Pictures Classics Buys 'The Burnt Orange Heresy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sony Pictures Classics has nabbed the rights to “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” Variety has learned. The indie label plans to release the film in 2020. The Italian-American thriller was directed by Giuseppe Capotondi and stars Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki, Mick Jagger, and Donald Sutherland. Scott Smith adapted Charles Willeford’s novel of the same name, transporting [...]

  • Thomasin McKenzie and Essie Davis

    Thomasin McKenzie and Essie Davis to Star in 'Justice of Bunny King'

    Essie Davis, star of “The Babadook” and autumn festival hit “Babyteeth,” and “Jojo Rabbit” co-star Thomasin McKenzie will headline upcoming drama “The Justice of Bunny King.” The film, now shooting in New Zealand, is a triumph over adversity tale about women fighting their way back from the bottom of society. It is the debut feature [...]

  • Calm With Horses

    Nick Rowland Talks About Toronto Debut Film 'Calm With Horses'

    “Calm with Horses,” which made its world premiere in Toronto’s TIFF in the Discovery section, is the feature directorial debut of Nick Rowland (Amazon series “Ripper Street”), and stars Barry Keoghan (Marvel’s upcoming “The Eternals,” “Dunkirk”), Cosmo Jarvis (“Annihilation”), and Niamh Algar (BBC’s “The Virtues”). The script, which was adapted from Colin Barrett’s short story [...]

  • Colin Trevorrow Directs Jurassic World Short

    Colin Trevorrow Returns to Jurassic World in Short Film 'Battle at Big Rock'

    Dinosaurs are roaming the Earth again. In a new short from “Jurassic World” director Colin Trevorrow, rogue beasts wreak havoc on a family camping trip. The eight-and-a-half minute film, titled “Battle at Big Rock,” takes place a year after the events of “Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom.” The 2018 blockbuster — starring Chris Pratt and Bryce [...]

  • Bert Kreischer The Machine

    Legendary Lands Rights to Bert Kreischer’s Viral Story 'The Machine' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Legendary has optioned the rights to develop comedian Bert Kreischer’s story “The Machine” into a feature film following its viral success, sources tell Variety. The video has generated more than 85 million views on Facebook and YouTube since hitting the social media channels in December 2016 and Legendary moved aggressively to land the rights. Kreischer [...]

  • Margot Robbie poses at the launch

    Margot Robbie in Talks to Executive Produce, Star in Comedy 'Fools Day'

    Margot Robbie is in negotiations to executive produce and star as a fourth-grade teacher in New Line’s comedy “Fools Day.” New Line has acquired Cody Blue Snider’s short film of the same name to adapt into the feature project. Snider, who co-wrote and directed the short, will direct the full-length feature from a script he [...]

  • M Night Shyamalan'Glass' film premiere, Arrivals,

    M. Night Shyamalan Sets Two New Films at Universal

    M. Night Shyamalan will write and direct two new movies at Universal Pictures, the studio announced Monday. The currently untitled thrillers will be released in theaters on Feb. 26, 2021 and Feb. 17, 2023, respectively. “M. Night Shyamalan continues to create exciting, highly original stories that keep global audiences on the edge of their seats,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content