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Q COSTA RICA – In Costa Rica, there are a variety of locations and services businesses to support and carry out high-level international filming, with the potential to open more doors and better position the country as a destination for film production.

The sector favors a series of chains of other companies and professionals that provide other services and thus generates a conglomerate of businesses that benefit.

An international promotion plan that includes some 200 companies operating locally providing services to the film industry.

When the country is selected for a production or parts of films, series, documentaries, short films, commercials, music videos and including Hollywood productions – most bring their crew and equipment, but also hire local support in lighting, production, technical assistants, photography, makeup, etc.

Some of the locations that promote Costa Rica as a film destination

Julie Echeverri, a film producer, and partner at Costa Rica Film Support, said one of the most recent productions was a Hollywood movie, in which they worked for nine weeks. “The part of the film was filmed in the Sarapiquí area and more than 100 Costa Ricans were hired,” she said.

This involves the need to hire logistics, transportation, security, food and lodging companies here.

Despite the fact that a process has been underway for several years to create a conglomerate of Costa Rican companies dedicated to this activity in the country, in order to boost business by attracting foreign production companies to make films in the country, a commission has just now been created at the governmental level, with a budget for international promotion and a work plan.

José Castro, who heads the Comisión Fílmica de Costa Rica (Costa Rican Film Commission), explained to that “… we are trying to boost and strengthen the industry and everything that brings profit to the local economy. Maintaining and increasing attractiveness, volume of productions, promotion of the country and, therefore, the employment generated by this sector is one of the main challenges the Commission faces. In addition, promoting not only the country as a location but also making this benefit all professionals and exports of production from here.”

“… The Commission has just launched the first catalog for the worldwide promotion of Costa Rican locations. It is also working on strengthening the database of companies that are dedicated to this industry here. At the moment, it has identified 193 companies, of which 43 are legal entities and 150 are natural persons, engaged in services in the areas of pre-production, production, and post-production.”

There are many more companies here that we are incorporating into the supplier database, and all of them will be given a diagnostic to get feedback for the industry and for the same company,” Castro said.

Likewise, the Commission participated this year in fairs with the purpose of putting Costa Rica on the map, as a country “Film Friendly”.

At the fairs, the Commission seeks to generate a network of producers and directors, who sooner or later can value Costa Rica as their destination for filming.

One of the challenges facing any future Costa Rica may have as a film destination is cost. For Castro, it is of the utmost importance that government entities promote incentives for the industry.

Castro explained that this year an international singer – whose last music video had more than 57 million views on YouTube – was choosing between Costa Rica, Jamaica and Puerto Rico for his next filming.

“The average cost (in Costa Rica) was US$30,000 for production and Puerto Rico’s incentives allowed them to do it at half that cost, what that was the country selected,” said Castro.

For the Commission, the loss was an important publicity opportunity for Costa Rica. “…The vidoe, in general, consisted of the singer arriving in the country, meeting a girl and travelling to various parts of the country,” explained Castro.

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