After much speculation, the Saudi Film Commission has announced its film incentive package, offering a 40% cash rebate of total qualifying spend for local and international productions. The announcement comes just before the country’s first-ever film festival, the Red Sea International Film Festival, draws to a close tomorrow.
The cash rebate will include feature length films, documentaries and animation projects and will make it one of the world’s most competitive incentive packages, even amongst established film markets. For comparison, the UAE offers a 30% cash rebate on productions in its territory.
“We have been working hard to develop a competitive incentive package for local and international movie makers and content creators,” said Film Commission CEO Abdullah Al Eyaf. “Our ambition is high, we want Saudi to become global hub for film, creative production and industry talent. The benefits of developing a world class film industry go beyond the sector and will strengthen the Saudi cultural ecosystem as a whole, driving economic growth and creating jobs across the country.”
The Saudi Film Commission said it had examined a raft of film incentives across the globe and opted to work with cash rebates based on a percentage of qualifying expenditure. A bespoke platform is set to be launched and first applications are expected to be received by the end of Q1 2022.
The announcement follows the Film Commissions recent strategy launch, setting out a roadmap to make Saudi Arabia a top destination for shooting projects in the territory.
“The strategy provides our roadmap to achieve our aspirations, working across the entire value chain to enable the sector,” said Al Eyaf. “From talent development, infrastructure and incentives to creating a regulatory environment that drives the swift development of the sector, whilst increasing demand for Saudi-produced movies through exhibition and distribution.”
Currently, $140M Anthony Mackie starrer Desert Warrior is lensing in the country’s northwest Neom region while Gerard Butler starrer Kandahar is shooting in its AlUla region.