The former drug capital of Colombia, Medellin, is now luring filmmakers with additional cash rebates of up to 15%, which can be applied aside from the national cash rebates offered to international films and TV movies spending at least $600,000 in the country. Medellin is currently the only city in Colombia offering cash rebates on top of the national cash rebates recently introduced in the Andean nation.
The country already offers 40% for filmmaking services and 20% for logistical expenses (lodgings, catering, transportation)
Medellin Film Commissioner Francisco Pulgarin and his international relations coordinator Manuela Valencia are attending the American Film Market. Last year, they announced the launch of the city’s film commission, FilmMed, at AFM. Bogota, Cali and Cartagena are poised to offer incentives in 2015, according to Pulgarin. Producers must spend at least $200,000 in Medellin to get the rebates, said Pulgarin.
“Starting in December, you’ll be able to download our resource allocation manual by visiting our website,” said Valencia at the presentation Sunday on the FantaSea Marina del Rey cruise dinner hosted by the Colombian Film Commission.
Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its year-round temperate climate, Medellin boasts a geographical and architectural diversity as well as an efficient mass transportation system. Colombia’s second-largest city was voted the most innovative city in the world in 2013 by the Urban Land Institute, which pointed out that its homicide rate had plunged nearly 80% in the past 20 years.
Medellin will be home to a $170 million audiovisual complex after it breaks ground next year, with six soundstages, two office buildings, a hotel and a 5,381-square-foot motion capture studio among its amenities. The complex will sit on nearly 50 acres of land just 15 minutes outside the city. U.S., Colombia and U.K. companies are in talks with the city to invest in the project. Infrastructure buildup will complement an initiative to train more people — in both English and Spanish — in the audiovisual sector. Intensive crew workshops have already been under way.
Construction on the complex was delayed this year when they discovered natural water springs while surveying the possibility of building an underground parking garage, said Alejandro Arango of Contento Films, which produced Kirk Sullivan’s “City of Dead Men” in Medellin.
Some foreign productions have already shot in Medellin since the launch of FilmMed, including SpectreVision’s “The Boy,” Netflix’s first Spanish-language production “Narcos,” episodes of AXN’s “Covert Affairs” and FoxLife’s “House Hunters International.”
Local projects include “La mujer del animal,” by Medellin native Victor Gaviria (“The Rose Seller”), backed by international investors, “Caballo de Acero,” La Caravana del Gardel,” “Eso Que Llaman Amor,” “Once Grados de Culpa” and 2014 Short Film Palme d’Or winner, “Leidi” by Medellin local Simon Mesa.