Chile has kicked off a 30% cash rebate incentive to attract more international productions to its shores. In order to qualify, foreign producers of feature films, TV series or digital platform series are required to ink a co-production pact with a local producer and spend a minimum of $2 million in the country. The incentive will not exceed 30% of qualified expenses, with a cap of $3 million.

For Cristian Diaz, investments chief of Chile’s Strategic Creative Program (Corfo), “the development generated by audiovisual investments goes beyond the economic activity associated with the investment itself.” “Countries like New Zealand, or cities like New York, to name just two, are strong examples of the impact on the tourist development of those territories,” he noted.

Chilean film commissioner Joyce Zylberberg pointed out that the influx of foreign productions would bring a good measure of knowhow and expertise to Chile’s local audiovisual industry, which remains small despite the multiple accolades its films have received abroad. Sebastian Lelio’s “A Fantastic Woman,” which opened the Latino Horizons sidebar at San Sebastian, has been selected to rep Chile at the Academy Awards’ Foreign Language category and at Spain’s Goya Awards.

While presenting the Kinema Prize at Chile’s 13th Santiago Int’l Film Festival (SANFIC) in August, awarded to the local film “Mala Junta” for best showcasing Chile’s locations, Zylberberg announced several other moves to facilitate location shoots, including the establishment of nine local film commissions in different areas of Chile and tax waivers for film equipment as well as vehicles brought in for advertising spots. In 2016, Chile earned a total of $31.7 million from location shoots, 70% of which was derived from advertising projects.

“The Chilean incentive is indeed great news and is an extremely positive step forward,” said Raj Uttamchandani, Executive Director of the Chile Studio Group, which has been in talks with various studio facilities, including Pinewood, to determine which company can “provide the best fit.”

“We are very keen on establishing a studio in Chile to serve the fragmented South American production market and we are in the process of evaluating how best to plan the scale of the studio to maximize capacity utilization – especially as it is being privately funded,” he added.

A long-gestating multimillion-dollar epic film “Leftraro” is likely to be among the first major movies to tap the new incentive. Developed by Chile’s Eduardo Novion with L.A.-based Radar Pictures (“The Last Samurai,” “Riddick”), the film centers on Mapuche Indian leader Lautaro (1534-1557), who led the native uprising against the Spanish conquistadores in the 1500s and is considered a national hero in Chile. “We’ve been able to reduce our production budget to $26 million [from the original $40 million] given the latest advances in technology; the incentive is key to getting this project going,” said Novion who plans to raise further funding from local investors in Chile.

Michael B. Gordon, whose credits include “300” and “G.I. Joe,” has recently delivered a new draft of the screenplay.  Plans are to shoot by October 2018 in the capital of Santiago and Lonquimay, located in southern Chile’s Araucania region.

Miami-based Sobe Brooke Studios has also boarded the project.