Colombia, Film Financing and Television Programming: A Taxation Guide

Colombia, Film Financing and Television Programming

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In Colombia, the film industry is small but is growing. Between the years 1997 and 2003, Colombia produced an average of 4.2 films per year. By 2004 and in the years following, the average number of films produced was 8, thanks to a new law issued in 2003. Presently, Colombia produces the fourth most films in Latin America.1
Law 397 of 1997 (also known as “The Culture Law”) created the Ministry of Culture. Within this ministry is the Cinematography Bureau, the entity that is in charge of promoting and encouraging the Colombian film industry. Law 397 of 1997 established policies that encourage the production and co-production of Colombian films. A film production fund was created with resources from the state budget and its purpose is to encourage and grant Colombian film production.
The Colombian Congress enacted Law 814 of 2003, which created a new tax benefit and a new para-tax contribution called “Quota for Cinematographic Development,” and reorganized the cinematographic industry aiming to induce a progressive development of the Colombian industry and to promote film activities in Colombia. These resources go to the Fund for Film Development, the National Arts and Cinematographic Culture Counsel (the entity that will manage said Fund), and the Cinematographic Information and Registration System (SIREC, a database including producers, exhibitors, distributors, and others involved in similar activities related to the cinematographic industry). 

Additionally, there are some national entities, such as the Colombian Film Heritage NonProfit Foundation (called, in Spanish, Fundación Patrimonio Fílmico Colombiano [FPFC]), which functions mainly to gather or recover audio and visual records that should be part of the Colombian film heritage, as well as to promote national film production. 

The television industry is also still small; however, many domestic TV shows (mostly soap operas) have been exported in the past few years and TV stations are coming to film in Colombia due to the low film costs, availability of technicians, and good levels of technology infrastructure that allow production of high-quality series.2
Currently, there are five television channels (two private, three public) with nationwide coverage and nine regional channels. The National Television Committee (which is the government entity in charge of developing the policies regarding the television service) has opened a public bid in order to allow a third private channel with nationwide coverage. This process has been suspended due to legal matters, since there was only one bidder. 

1 Data source: Proexport Colombia, “Film Industry in Colombia”.
2 Data source: Proexport Colombia

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