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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.

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