The Italian government has approved a decree renewing the country's film production incentives, including a 25% tax credit for foreign productions. The crucial vote follows the recent loss of millions of dollars in foreign spend in Italy for fear that these perks would instead be pulled amid the country's weak economy and political volatility.
The incentives -- which give local producers a 20% tax break, outside investors a 40% tax shelter, and foreign productions a 25% tax credit -- have been in place since 2009, and had been previously approved through 2013.
But in recent months foreign producers started seeing them as a risky proposition because the country's cash-strapped government initially indicated the tax breaks would be frozen and also not renewed again. This fear has caused an estimated thirty million dollars in lost business over the past few months.
Bowing to an Italo industry uproar, the decree called Valore Cultura (Culture Value) has now cleared its final hurdle with an overwhelming majority in the Lower House. It provides a total of Euros 110 million ($150 million) in production incentives over the next three years. Most of the coin is for film, but 20 million Euros have been designated for TV productions, marking the extension of the Italo incentives to TV.
"It was a life of death situation, so we are very relieved," said Riccardo Tozzi (pictured), prexy of Italo motion picture association ANICA, in a statement. "Now we have to build on this new dialogue to make cultural industry a driver for this country."
Italo tax incentives offer a 25% deduction for international productions capped at $7 million, payable through an Italian executive producer.
Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love," produced by Letty Aronson with financing from Italy's Medusa, Amber Entertainment's "Romeo and Juliet," helmed by Carlo Carlei, and "Third Person" by Paul Haggis, produced by Belgium's Corsan, are among foreign titles that have tapped into the generous Italo incentives.
In separate Italo industry news , Andrea Occhipinti, head of prominent Italo indie shingle Lucky Red, has been appointed head of the country's distributors org. a sub-section of ANICA. Occhipinti has pledged to step up efforts against the country's rampant piracy plague.