The $20m feature about the 2010 rescue of the 33 Chilean workers trapped in the San Jose mine is the first international film to qualify for Colombia’s Law 1556 production incentive.

The 33, which has wrapped production in Colombia, stars Antonio Banderas (pictured with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos before the start of production last December) alongside Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, Cote de Pablo and Lou Diamond Phillips.

Patricia Riggen directs from a screenplay by Mikko Alanne and the producers are Robert Katz, Edward McGurn and Mike Medavoy.

The production qualified for Colombia’s 40% - 20% rebate programme and the cash payment was wired to the producers 22 weeks after physical production ended.

The incentive is run by the Colombian Film Commission, a division of Proimágenes Colombia.

Colombia’s Dynamo was the production services company and the shoot took place in the Colombian mines in Nemocón outside Bogotá prior to relocating to Chile for exteriors.

“We are very pleased to have The 33 showcase the competitive incentive programme we offer to the global film community as well as our country’s constantly evolving production infrastructure,” said Proimágenes Colombia director Claudia Triana.

“From eager crews and locations, which can be dressed to appear as any type of terrain, to the speed and efficiency in which we are able to disperse the cash rebate, we have built a filmmaking ecosystem that rivals and in some cases may even surpass the offerings of other nations around the world,” added Colombian Film Commissioner Silvia Echeverri,

“The support we received on this production was incredible,” said Katz, who served as primary liaison with the film commission.

“Working with Proimágenes Colombia and the film commission could not have been easier or more efficient, and the vast array of production resources available to us was a tremendous asset to our movie. 

“The attractive cost of mounting The 33 in Colombia enhanced by the rebate made Colombia an ideal place to produce the film we intended to make. Everyone we encountered, from the crews we used on set, to the vendors who provided services such as hotels, transportation and catering, offered true support and a work ethic which is on par with anywhere else around the globe I have filmed.” 

“Though our story for The 33 takes place in Chile, indeed we shot about 50% of the film there, we searched throughout the world for a location that would fit the story’s very specific needs,” said Medavoy.

“We found exactly what we needed in Colombia, a stunning natural and original location, perfectly suited as the setting for our below- ground action, and a film incentive programme that was not just attractive but compelling, in terms of production costs.”

The new legislation provides 40% rebate on local labour spend, with a 20% savings on items such as catering, transport and hotels.