Tax breaks / incentives
The Lebanon has a dynamic production market – but it doesn’t offer tax rebates or incentives to foreign producers. There’s no film commission either, so the responsibility for drumming up international business has fallen to producers and a few industry-related bodies.
One of these bodies is the Fondation Liban Cinéma (FLC), the de facto information centre for Lebanese cinema. Also important are the Lebanese Tourism Office in Paris and the Ministry of Tourism, which see production as a way of filling hotels and restaurants outside of the tourism high season. One of their key creations is a website called 35mm from Beirut which is at 35mmfrombeirut.com. Here they provide updates on recent developments in Lebanese cinema and also say they will “continue to organise trips for foreign filmmakers to Lebanon”.
Although there are no formal incentives, an industry magazine reported last year that the FLC and the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) have been seeking to introduce tax incentives to support production and post-production of projects that invest at least $200,000 in the country and employ a minimum of 25 locals. However, there are no indications as to whether this has had any impact yet.
One other initiative of importance is the MovieMed network (made up of Spain, Italy, Tunisia, France, Lebanon and Morocco). Launched in 2009, it’s a Mediterranean programme designed to encourage links and interaction between the film and tourism sectors, promoting the region for film and television shoots.