A record number of foreign pics have been tapping Colombia’s new film incentives, but TV movies have also been actively plumbing the perks. While the incentives are not applicable to TV series, TV movies and pilots can avail of the incentives, which consist of a 40% cash rebate on production expenditures and a 20% cash rebate on logistical spend for projects spending no less than $600,000 in the country. Netflix’s hit drama series “Narcos” tapped the incentives for its pilot.
Colombian broadcaster Caracol TV, a co-producer of Colombia’s first-ever foreign-language Oscar nominated pic, “Embrace of the Serpent,” continues to ramp up its English-language TV movie slate in conjunction with partners L.A.- based MarVista Entertainment and Argentina’s SNAP Distribution.
Their first co-production, “Abducted,” has been sold to Lifetime in the U.S., where it debuts on Feb. 14. Spain, France, and Latin America have also bought the TV Movie since Mipcom 2015. “Abducted,” a thriller starring Kathleen Rose Perkins (“Gone Girl,” “Episodes”), former Miss Colombia Eileen Roca, and Luis Fernando Hoyos (“Love in the Time of Cholera”) centers on a little girl who is kidnapped from an upscale Colombian resort.
“We originally sold it to Lifetime’s streaming service Movie Club but they wanted it for their broadcaster, too,” said MarVista CEO Fernando Szew.
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The second production among the same partners, romcom “Cup of Love,” shot in Medellin, where they tapped an additional 15% rebate offered by the city. They’re looking into festivals and a theatrical run, according to Szew. “We’re really happy with the results, which is why we’re planning to do more,” he said. The partners are prepping two new English-language projects, tentatively titled “The Whistler” and “Black Market,” which are set for spring and fall production start dates, respectively, said Caracol TV’s co-production head Alejandro Toro.
“In the end, we got a net rebate of 32% of our budgets,” said Toro who noted that applying for the rebate was a rigorous but fluid process.
NatGeo’s tentatively titled docu “The Making of Pope Francis” qualified for the incentives as 80% of the docu is comprised of dramatizations, allowing it to qualify as a feature film, said Nelson Martinez, production head of Fox Telecolombia, which provided production services and tapped the incentives for the first time.
“We were able to prove that Colombia can stand in for many places, re-creating Buenos Aires in Bogota,” said Martinez.
Meanwhile, Arte France tapped Diego Ramirez’ 64A Films to provide production services for its telefilm “Au Nom du Fils” (“In the Name of the Son”) by Olivier Peray.
Out of a total of 10 film and TV projects tapping the incentives last year (up from seven the previous year), two major pics shot in Colombia: Tom Cruise starrer “Mena,” directed by Doug Liman and production serviced by Dynamo, and “The Lost City of Z” helmed by James Gray and starring Tom Holland, Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller and Robert Pattinson. Cineempresa provided production services. MGM also tapped Colombia’s perks last year with horror thriller “The Belko Experiment,” directed by Greg McLean and toplining Tony Goldwyn. Itaca Films Colombia, led by Rodrigo Guerrero, provided production services on the pic.