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Busan: The Philippines to Offer Twin Financial Incentives

The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) on Saturday launched a package of measures intended to facilitate international co-productions and to attract location shooting to the country.

The measures, which include the creation of a new structure known as FilmPhilippines were launched on Saturday at the Busan International Film Festival’s Asian Film Market.

FilmPhilippines will be run under the aegis of the FDCP and will be headed by executive director David Fabros. Agathe Vincent a consultant from France helped in putting the technical aspects of the incentives together.

Under the new Film Location Incentive Program (FLIP), feature films of any genre, television series, and web content are all eligible for rebate, provided that the production is a partnership with a registered Philippine line producer.

Alternatively, projects can apply to the just-launched International Co-Production Fund (ICOF). Feature length live action, documentary or animation films become eligible if they sign a co-production deal with a certified Philippine producer or production company.

Eligible projects with a minimum production expenditure of $155,000 (PHP 8 million) qualify for the incentives and the fund. Upon approval, between 10% and 40% of qualifying production spend may be rebated through either FLIP or ICOF. There is maximum rebate payment of $193,000 (PHP 10 million).

The eligible spending criteria for both schemes includes: artist and technician fees; equipment rental; crew; film permits; accommodation; transport; and food expenses, Productions can receive a provisional decision from FilmPhilippines within four months of application, and the first qualifying spend will have to be within six months of approval.

Once all the grants are approved and the production is completed, the producer needs to give on screen acknowledgement to the FDCP, supply a DVD of the final work, promotional material, and five years of non-commercial rights for theatrical public screenings.

Both schemes will go live from January 2020.

“We are opening up to more collaborations. Our filmmakers are so eager to work on projects right now,” said FDCP chairperson and CEO Liza B. Dino at a launch event in Busan. “We have a lot of projects that are ready for international co-production.”

There is intense rivalry between international shooting locations, which compete through an array of locations, facilities and incentives. But to date The Philippines has had only a small share of so-called ‘runaway’ productions. Dino explained that the FDCP had been lobbying to make the Filipino incentives happen for the last two years.

The sums involved are small when compared with major filming destinations such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.K. But production costs in The Philippines may be a small fraction of those English-language territories.

The Philippines film industry celebrated 100 years of existence in 2018. “This year has been such a landmark change for us, to really see the world, to see how there is such a big world out there that we can collaborate with, work with, and share our stories with” said Dino. Also present at the Busan launch event were government representatives from the Philippines’ departments of tourism and trade & industry, who will be key partners going forward.

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