Film Commissioners, Producers Discuss Production Incentives at AFCI Show

Wanda exec teases possibility of rebates in China

A superpanel composed of 13 film commissioners, producers and reps from production service companies addressed on Friday the global mosaic of tax credits and other incentives that lure movie and TV projects to the far corners of the earth.

Assembled for the Locations and Global Finance Show of the Association of Film Commissioners International by Joseph Chianese, SVP of payroll and incentives adviser EP Financial Solutions, the hour-and-a-half session was appropriately named Around the World in 90 Minutes.

During the wide-ranging discussion, Shirley Davis, VP of physical production at Alcon Entertainment, described the saga of producing “Point Break,” which shot in 11 countries and four U.S. states. Locations included Switzerland, Venezuela and Tahiti. The biggest challenge, she said, was “sorting through regional incentives, permissions, cultural tests, SAG and non-SAG, DGA and non-DGA – and figuring out a structure that could hold it all.”

“We’re a small company and it was a huge undertaking for us,” she added. Alcon is now shooting the sequel to “Blade Runner.”

Gary Kho, CTO and interim CEO of China’s massive Wanda Studios Qingdao development, said the complex will have a soft opening in mid-2017 with a grand opening sometime in 2018. While there are no film commissions in China, Kho hinted that the government of Qingdao may implement a tax rebate in the near future – perhaps to be followed by a national China incentive at a later date.

Several commissioners cited film tourism as a major motivation for supporting incentives. The New Zealand film commission’s head of incentives Catherine Bates quoted a study that found that one in four adults pick vacation destinations based of films they’ve seen. “As many as 20% of New Zealand tourists come to have a ‘hobbit experience,’” she said.

Olivier-Rene Veillon, CEO of Ile De France Film Commission, which covers the Paris region, added that visitors flock in great numbers to the Louvre and Versailles partly because they’ve seen those iconic locations in films.

Popular on Variety

More Artisans

  • Swedes Call for Incentives to Keep

    Swedes Call for Incentives to Keep Potential Runaways at Home

    Horror film “Midsommar” did it last year. A new adaptation of the Swedish classic “The Emigrants” will do it next year. Prestigious productions that could have taken advantage of beautiful Swedish locations and craft expertise continue to run away to foreign locations for lower costs and tax incentives. Despite having a strong film industry creatively [...]

  • Game of Thrones

    Ireland Lures Filmmakers With Locations, Expertise and a 37% Tax Credit

    Few locations on earth can match Ireland’s proverbial 40 shades of green. In addition to its restful hues, the island nation also boasts alluring lakes, rugged windswept coasts, small charming hamlets, rustic farmhouses of aged stone, hilltop castles and breathtaking expanses of wild scrubland. Bustling and modern Dublin, Ireland’s capital, will be the largest English-speaking [...]

  • UNDONE Animated Series Amazon

    How Animated Series 'Undone' Used a Mix of Techniques to Tell the Mind-Bending Tale

    When Kate Purdy wanted to tell a story about the nature of reality, she knew she wanted to play with perception and time, fade in and out of memories and give voice to visions that only her main character could see. And it wasn’t long before the executive producer and co-creator of Amazon’s new series, “Undone,” [...]

  • John Wick: Chapter 3

    James Cameron, Keanu Reeves Starring in '2nd Unit: Invisible Action Stars' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Rootbeer Films has completed “2nd Unit: Invisible Action Stars” with James Cameron, Keanu Reeves, Mark Wahlberg and Halle Berry, Variety has learned exclusively. The film explores relationships between actors and stunt performers — a topic at the heart of Quentin Tarantino’s recent “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Joe Mantegna narrates “2nd Unit: Invisible Action [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    'Hustlers' Costume Designer and DP Joined Forces to Create Gritty Glamorous Look

    Mitchell Travers wonders if anything can really prepare a costume designer for working on a movie in which G-strings, double-sided tape and 8-inch platform heels comprise a complete outfit. But from the moment he began to read the script to “Hustlers,” he was in. “From the third page, I said I didn’t care what [any of the [...]

  • Joerg Pohlman to Leave Camera and

    Joerg Pohlman to Leave Camera and Lighting Company ARRI

    Joerg Pohlman is stepping down from the management board of Germany’s ARRI, one of the world’s leading movie camera and lighting manufacturers. The board will now consist of two people: Michael Neuhaeuser and Markus Zeiler. For the past eight years, every best picture Oscar winner has been shot on an ARRI camera; this year’s award [...]

  • Downton Abbey Movie BTS

    How the Production Crew Added Scope to 'Downton Abbey' for the Big Screen

    The feature continuation of “Downton Abbey” reunites the cast and much of the crew of the period TV series with a mandate to deliver more of the glamour, drama and just plain kindness that prompted millions of viewers on both sides of the Atlantic to fall under the spell of the sprawling Crawley family. “We wanted [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content