Fiji’s film industry recorded its biggest year to date in 2017
74 productions shot in Fiji in 2017, up from 57 in 2016, marking a significant growth for the nations flourishing film industry. Film Fiji have already approved and confirmed 7 major productions for 2018 and expect to see a similarly busy schedule.
Film Fiji CEO Dallas Foon announced that “It has been an extremely busy but outstanding year for the audiovisual industry. The huge support from the Fijian Government and stakeholders has been the key to making Fiji a popular filmmaking destination.”
The Fiji Film Tax Rebate may be a large reason for the growth in the sector. The nation offers one of the most competitive global incentives standing at 47%. All types of productions from feature films and documentaries through to TV series, commercials and short films qualify. As long as productions spend FJD250,000 and utilize the proficient base of local cast and crew, projects with a broadcast or theatrical distribution contract will qualify. Although there is a cap, it sits at FJD28,200,000, providing substantial compensation to even the biggest-budget projects.
Film Fiji particularly welcomed the rise in the number of high quality productions with budgets of over FJD300 million. As a direct consequence of these, an estimated FJD125 million spent directly into the Fijian economy stimulating new economic activity of FJD350 million. 13 major productions were attracted to Fiji from all corners of the world such as Hollywood feature Adrift starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin and Indian movie Rakiraki.
The increased interest in shooting in Fiji has also spurned expansion of production infrastructure. Of the 330 islands in the Fijian archipelago, only 100 are inhabited and 83% of the country is owned by indigenous Fijians. The iTaukei Land Trust Board deals with all filming applications on native lands, but the process of obtaining consent is becoming more efficient as the demand rises. Clayton Tikao has worked on recent productions in Fiji, including Adrift, and told The Location Guide that these shoots required closing main roads and filming in busy locations, which was “new ground for the local authorities, of which there are several”, but adds that “they were all supportive and the filming went smoothly”.
Furthermore, sourcing film equipment is becoming easier as companies from New Zealand and Australia invest in local equipment rental to capitalize on the growth of filming the region. High-end, specialist equipment can also be shipped from Australia and New Zealand.
The Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources, Honourable Faiyaz Koya, said “the industry has seen exponential growth in a short period of time and the success of 2017 is a testimony to the dedication and hard work of all stakeholders involved. I am confident that this trend will continue and ultimately position Fiji as the most sought -after film location in the world.”
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