Magazine article Variety

Tax Incentives Prove Sweet Carrot for Films

Magazine article Variety

Tax Incentives Prove Sweet Carrot for Films

Article excerpt

THE BIG WINNERS of a recent change to New Zealand production incentives will be local physical effects companies, as specialist props and models become qualifying spend for the first time.

"For international, the key change was dropping the PDV (post, digital and visual effects) threshold down to $500,000" from $1 million, says Catherine Bates, head of incentives at Film New Zealand. The Kiwis revamped the New Zealand Screen Production Grant - a 20% straight cash rebate - in April 2014, with a planned review to follow this year.

"For us, the incentive and the exchange rate - which improved since we began production - obviously made NZ very attractive," says A1 Gough, exec producer of MTV's "The Shannara Chronicles."

But a recent surge in the New Zealand dollar, which bounced back from a sixmonth low in August to rise nearly 6% in the past month, has made the incentive less attractive.

Currency fluctuations are not the only cloud over the coin in recent years. Papers released to the Cabinet in 2013 suggested that Hollywood productions actually cost the country money. …

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