Canaries Hosts ‘Bourne,’ Boasts ‘Evolution’

Big shoot location maintains its Canary Islands’ mo

Spain’s Canary Islands Hosts ‘Bourne,’ Co-produce
Photo courtesy of Toronto Film Festival

SAN SEBASTIAN – Hosting “Clash of the Titans,” “Wrath of the Titans,” “Fast and Furious 6,” “Exodus” and “In the Heart of the Sea,” Spain’s Canary Islands have added another big shoot to its location roster: the latest “Bourne” installment, with Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Wikander and Julia Stiles.

Filming in Tenerife from Sept. 7, the “Bourne” shoot comes as the Canaries have scored their first San Sebastian competition slot with Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s “Evolution,” a France-Belgium- Spain production, co-produced by Sebastian Alvarez at the Canaries’ Volcano Films, a co-producer on Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” which shot exteriors on the Canary Island of Fuerteventura. Lanzarote provided “Evolution’s” stunning waterscapes.

Qualifying as Spanish nationality movies, the Canary Island’s past big shoots made avail of a 2007 Spanish movie Agrupacion de Interes Economico tax shelter, offering deductions of 38% for the Canaries.

“’Evolution’ is the principle example of a film that, thanks to an AIE, has helped the Canaries gain in visibility,” Alvarez said.

The impact of the AIE shelter is also born out by production stats. According to the Tenerife Film Commission, six movies shot on the island over 2000-07, 21 from 2008 through 2014.

Shoots this year take in “Project Lazarus,” from Amenabar co- scribe Mateo Gil, who helmed “Blackthorn” with Sam Shepard; and Tornasol TV series “Vientos de cuaresma,” directed by Felix Viscarret.

With this AIE investor-driven tax scheme now ratified but capped at deductions of €5.4 million ($5.8 million) for the Canaries, the big question is whether the Canaries’ new tax rebate scheme – introduced this January, aimed at foreign productions and levied at 35% of spend, not Spanish investment – can maintain the Islands’ big shoot momentum.

Certainly “Bourne,” which will shoot for weeks in the Canary Islands, shows now signs of a dampening enthusiasm for Canary Island locations.

And the Canary Islands shoot scene continues building with the launch of La Palma Film Commission this spring. It has just hosted its first shoot: a Jaguar commercial, said co-ordinator María José Manso Martín.

In a sign of growing industry structures, the Canary Islands also boasts a go-to full-service company Canary Islands Connection. Run by Luis Renart and with five executive producers – including Alvarez – , it offers across-the-board expertise in co-production, Canary Islands tax incentive use and international sales. It’s first sales slate is now being put together, Renart said in San Sebastian.