In a drive to boost itsprofile as a location for international productions and promote proposed taxbreaks, the Fijian government has opened the Los Angeles offices of the FijiAudiovisual Commission (FAVC). Headed up by CEO Dan Bolea, the commission willact as a 'one-stop shop' for Los Angeles film industryprofessionals, promoting Fiji's audiovisual industry, offering a freelocations service and promoting the tax breaks that will be presented to theFiji Parliament in the first quarter of the year.
Under the proposals - whichare expected to be approved - the government will provide a 15% tax break tofilm and TV productions that spend at least 35% of their budget in Fiji, anamount that ranges from FJ$50,000 to FJ$25m (approximately $23,000-$12.5m).
'Fiji already has inplace tax incentives, known as F1 and F2, for film-makers and other audiovisualoperators who can raise production financing from Fiji taxpayers, with thelatter eligible for up to 150% tax deduction on their investment,' Boleasaid in a statement. 'The new tax rebate is targeted primarily at fullyfunded small to medium film and television productions.'
The island country'sconsiderable charms have featured in a number of high-profile productions,including Cast Away and TheBlue Lagoon, however it was onlylast year that the government began to explore industry partnerships through aslew of tax rebates. It has also begun development on Yaqara Studio City, a5,000-acre studio city zone that Fijian officials say will offer the fullcomplement of production facilities, hotels and a fibre cable system connectingFiji to the US, Australia and New Zealand.
'The Fiji governmentwanted to set up a central body to be a one-stop shop for the industry and tominimize red tape and expedite decision making for the industry,' saidBolea. He added that Fiji has an English-speaking, well-trained and literatework force, competitive exchange rates, good infrastructure and daily flightsbetween Fiji and Los Angeles - 'some of the reasons why it makesgood sense to use Fiji as a production location.'
Florence Swamy, a tradeofficer at the Fiji Trade Commission in Los Angeles, who has spent 20 yearsmarketing Fiji, has been appointed by the FAVC's first overseasrepresentative.