Serbia increases its incentive budget for 2019
by Vladan Petkovic
- The annual budget for Serbia's 25% cash rebate for international productions shooting in the territory has been boosted to €7.5 million for 2019
The annual budget for the Serbian 25% cash rebate for international productions, launched in 2016, will increase from €6.7 million in 2018 (see the news) to €7.5 million in 2019, the country's Ministry of Economy announced last week in Belgrade.
The programme has been of benefit to over 100 projects since it launched, and only last year, 11 feature films were shot in the country, including The White Crow [+see also:
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film profile] by Ralph Fiennes, Anna by Luc Besson and Intrigo: Death of an Author by Daniel Alfredson. The figures show that the total value of production spend in Serbia due to the incentives amounts to €35.3 million.
Serbia is also one of a handful of countries in the world to offer a cash rebate to advertising and special-purpose projects. Last year, it was applied to 40 projects, including campaigns for Xbox Game Pass and the Penny retail chain.
Due to the no-visa regime introduced for India and China, Serbia is also being rediscovered by these two major markets. The first projects from these territories to benefit from the incentives are the Chinese feature Belgrade Escape and India's Crimson Red Sky by Mani Ratnam, as well as URI: Surgical Strike, starring up-and-coming actor Vicky Kaushal.
"All of the major film centres in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore have experienced shooting in Serbia, with over 100 shooting days in the past 12 months," says Milica Božanić, executive director of the Serbia Film Commission. "With its locations, spiced up with local talents and a growing film infrastructure, Serbia has demonstrated its ability to double as almost every European capital city through its many incarnations on screen. All around the globe, filmmakers are showing interest in brutalist, dystopian locations like New Belgrade. And for anything you can’t find at a real location, Serbian production designers are ready to build it in a studio or digitally create it in the nation’s well-established visual effects and CG industry."
Meanwhile, Belgrade's Avala Film, the main production hub in the former Yugoslavia, which used to host big international productions in the 1970s and 1980s, and later fell victim to the economic and political collapse of the country, has found new owners. Czech company Sebra, owned by Jan Filder and Petr Nemec, and Hong Kong-registered Feel Max, owned by Serbian businessman Aleksandar Obradovic, will invest €50 million with the aim of reviving the facilities, under the new name Avala Studios. It is to be headed by CEO Peter Dajko and director of development Vladimir Kuba, formerly of Prague's Barrandov Studios.
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