The Colombian government is considering a proposal that would see the current revenues raised from a tax on cinema tickets redirected into a film fund which would feed loan advances, minimum guarantees and co-production money to finance local productions in Colombia.
Seventy percent of the new fund would be allotted to local film production, with the remaining 30% going towards the administration of the fund and for incentives aimed at encouraging the distribution and exhibition of local films.
Another ambitious proposal being explored by the Ministry of Culture calls for individuals and companies to invest in local filmmaking in return for an income tax deduction of up to 125% of the amount invested.
Inspired by the Brazilian model, which has been effective in boosting local film production there, the move comes during an upsurge of film production in the country. While Colombians saw an average of two to five local films in recent years, 2001 may see a total of 10 releases.
In the past, public support has been limited. To date, the cash-strapped Colombian government has provided subsidy 'prizes' of three amounts ranging from $43,500 to $109,000. According to Maria Eudoxia Arango, executive director of lobby group CNCL, producers have not been able to access bank loans because filmmaking is deemed a high-risk venture. "Loans from the Institute of Industrial Promotion offer impossible interest rates of nearly 45%, " she said.