QCOSTARICA – Seeing Costa Rica in a Hollywood movie is nothing new. We saw the Arenal volcano prevail in the film After Earth (2013), with Will Smith; to the Costa Rican jungle to shine in Congo (1995), by Frank Marshall, and to our beaches to shine in 1492: Conquering of paradise (1992), by Ridley Scott.
However, even with this background, seeing great productions filmed in Costa Rica is a phenomenon that remains sporadic, if not rare.
That is why a new bill, presented last Friday in the legislative process, aims to make the natural beauties of our country appear on the big screen more frequently and attract foreign investments.
In addition to Hollywood films, the legislative initiative would also promote the production of television series, documentaries, novels, video clips and ‘reality shows’ from around the world, as well as post-production, drawing and digital animation services.
The bill, “Ley de atracción de inversiones fílmicas en Costa Rica” (Law of attraction of film investments in Costa Rica) was presented jointly by legislators Carlos Ricardo Benavides, of the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) and Laura Guido, of the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC), with the approval of legislators from various political factions.
In short, the bill seeks to position Costa Rica as a film destination, promoting investment and the development of international productions as a source of economic generation and to generate local production chains, create ventures, employ Costa Rican artistic talent and, in turn, impact the tourism and commercial sector.
“Costa Rica must enter the fight with everything to become one of the best film destinations in the world,” said Benavides, through a statement.
“We have incomparable natural beauties, great human talent, tourist infrastructure to meet the demand for accommodation and other services, as well as geographical proximity to the largest producers in the world, especially located in the United States,” added the legislator.
Scopes of the bill
With respect to the benefits granted to foreign investors, the bill proposes the exemption from income tax; facilities for the temporary importation of technical equipment, production materials and clothing, among other necessary implements for filming.
In addition, international producers would be granted a refund of the Value Added Tax (VAT), as long as the production made national purchases of goods and services for an amount greater than US$500,000.
“This project will give Costa Rica the opportunity to compete with other countries in the world, which annually attract production companies and networks that create streaming movies and series. Like the most successful countries in attracting these productions, we will provide various incentives,” Benavides commented.
“Our objective is that while they (the production) remain in the country, (the producers) promote the development of local productive chains, the hiring of Costa Rican human talent and generate consumption of tourist services such as hotels, vehicle rental and restaurants,” he added.
In this sense, the bill would grant immigration facilities to those involved in the filming, as well as permits to be able to film in spaces belonging to the State. In addition, the initiative would guarantee that the municipalities of each canton can exempt foreign filming from fees and permits.
Lastly, the bill proposes the establishment of an office for the agile processing of all the benefits that would be included in the law.
For the film commissioner of Costa Rica, José Castro, the bill is great news for the audiovisual medium, as it would reinforce the efforts that the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer) has been promoting in recent years.
A golden opportunity.
According to José Castro, in the last three years Costa Rica stopped receiving about US$114 million in film investments.
“These are foreign projects that we have monitored, which instead of opting for Costa Rica, went to film in Colombia or the Dominican Republic for the sole reason that in those countries they offer incentives,” Castro revealed.
“Given that at this time economic reactivation is urgent and that the audiovisual sector reactivate its work, it seems to me that the law comes at a very opportune moment. It is a very successful proposal,” added the commissioner.
Among the Hollywood made in Costa Rica”
SUICIDE SQUAD (2016)
AFTER EARTH (2013)
RUNNER RUNNER (2013)
SPY KIDS 2 (2002)
- CONGO (1995)
- 1492: THE CONQUEST OF PARADISE (1992)
- EL DORADO (1988)
- CARNAVAL EN COSTA RICA (1947)