Uruguay’s relatively new cash rebates, which attracted the likes of Keanu Reeves-produced Netflix series “Conquest” to shoot in the capital of Montevideo, is primed for expansion by the new film-friendly government led by new President Luis Lacalle Pou, who was sworn in on March 1.

“The government is deeply committed to supporting the audiovisual industry, which it believes is an ideal medium to promote the country’s culture, exports, image and other industries,” said Roberto Blatt, director of national film institute ICAU.

“Regional projects from Amazon, HBO and Netflix as well as other major players originally designed to be shot in the region are already spilling over to Uruguay, where, besides the containment of the pandemic, they enjoy special fiscal incentives, technical and creative proficiency, legal security, financial flexibility and political stability,” he asserted.

Swift and efficient health and safety protocols implemented by the government has allowed productions to resume in Uruguay as the number of cases have been minimal in this progressive South American nation of nearly 3.5 million.

According to Blatt, Uruguay is reviewing its state funds and the current cash rebate program for international projects shot in Uruguay as well as local productions seeking foreign co-producers. At present, the cash rebate, introduced in October 2019, is at 20%-25% for both kinds of productions, with a required minimum investment of $600,000.

National Development Agency ANDE will reimburse up to 25% of the total amount of the project with a maximum cap of $400,000 per project, according to its terms sheet.

The Uruguay Audiovisual Program’s international component is open to feature films, TV series, OTT projects or other large non-advertising audiovisual content.

Also under discussion are future incentives to encourage local telco and media leading companies to invest in independent national production, per Blatt. “The idea is to eventually offer a mix of public and private support,” he said.

Uruguay is up against competitive fiscal incentives from Central American and Caribbean countries such as Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Panama.

As one of the five spotlight countries at the virtual Cannes Marché du Film Online, Uruguay is participating with 13 producers, five of whom will deliver digital pitches.