Romania Approves Generous Incentives to Boost Film Business

Romania has aggressively joined the club of former Soviet bloc nations vying for international film business, jumping beyond the usual range of rebates of 20% to 25% on production spend with a 35% offer.

Following more than a decade of debate and foot-dragging, the Romanian government finally heeded the request of local producers, approving the rebate package Wednesday and setting aside a fund to distribute up to €50 million ($58 million) annually to attract new film business. The plan, a budgetary policy rather than a fixed law, will be in place until the end of 2020, according to Alex Traila of the Romanian Film Center, who called the move a welcome addition long awaited by the film industry.

The rebate plan puts Romania on a more equal footing with Hungary and the Czech Republic, where incentives have been in place for years. Both of those countries have become magnets for international film production.

Final guidelines setting out details of payment eligibility and timeframes are expected to be approved within the next two weeks, Traila said.

The system, which will offer a 35% cash rebate on production spend of at least €100,000, will be available for feature films and shorts, TV series, direct-to-video productions, Internet films, documentaries and animated projects. Productions will be able to take home a maximum of €10 million per project or, for TV series, per season.

In cases where the production is “explicitly promoting Romania” and spending 20% of total budget in the country, producers could score an additional 10% cash back, for a total rebate of 45%.

International productions will also be required to partner with a local production services company or co-producer to qualify.

The plan is expected to go into effect as early as the end of July.