Written by Shona Smith on Aug 24, 2020. Posted in Interviews

TLG speaks to Concha Diaz from Tenerife Film Commission

As the Tenerife Film Commission celebrates its twentieth anniversary Film Commissioner Concha Diaz reflects on its past successes, and what the new 50% rebate will mean for the future of production in the Canary Islands.

Blanco en Blanco - © El Viaje Films

What does the new incentive mean for shooting in Tenerife?

In May the Spanish Government passed a large package of measures to support the film industry in the wake of the situation caused by COVID-19. The measures include an increase of the tax incentives for investing in national and foreign film, series, animation, and documentary productions. In the Canary Islands, the incentive now stands at 50% on the first million and 45% from then on, while in mainland Spain it is 30% on the first million and 25% from then on.

We always hope to be on the map of places considered by producers to shoot in. In addition, the Canaries are one of the Spanish regions with the least Covid-19 cases and during the summer a Spanish TV Series and a feature film shot for a few weeks in Tenerife. Our companies are also working on the other islands with national and international projects.

How can producers access the incentive?

The incentive system is the same as ever. That is, foreign productions will enjoy a 50%-45% direct deduction or tax rebate provided that they hire a company with tax residency in the Canaries for production services. The production company must spend at least EUR1 million on eligible expenditure that must be directly related to the shoot on the Island. As for post-production or animation services, more than EUR200,000 must be spent. The minimum total budget of any film production must be EUR2 million.

The 50-45% Tax Rebate is designed for foreign film and series, animation and documentary productions.

How has filming in Tenerife developed over the last 20 years since the commission was formed?

It has been a great evolution, from being a commercial film destination in the early 2000’s to being one of the most competitive territories for International audiovisual productions with a 40% tax rebate, not only for shooting, but also for the animation sector.

In 2000 it was pretty rare for feature films to be shot in Tenerife. Intacto by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was the first instance of shooting a great Spanish project with international impact in Tenerife. Commercials have always been shot in Tenerife because of its great weather and unexpected locations (from colonial style to modern locations, tropical beaches, deserts and pine forests or ‘laurisilva’ forest that recreates a jungle).

Jason Bourne © Universal Pictures

In 2009, there was a turning point with the Clash of the Titans shoot. For nearly 40 years, since One Million Years BC with Raquel Welch, Tenerife hadn’t hosted a Hollywood Studio’s film, so this was the opportunity to demonstrate that Tenerife could be the location for all type of projects. The Clash of the Titans shoot was a success, serviced by Sur-Film. Then the film incentives came into action and many other films came to Tenerife and to the other islands and worked with our film and service production companies.

Wrath of the Titans, Fast and Furious 6, Jason Bourne, Wonder Woman 1984, and Rambo: Last Blood have all been shot in Tenerife, among many other independent European Films or Spanish films: Charter, Girls with Balls, etc.  TV Series like Dr Who or Silent Witness have come to shoot and in 2019 we welcomed even more. In 2017 there was another turning point with the reactivation of public help for Canarian Filmmakers. Films such as Blanco en Blanco, a Canarian co-production won the 2019 Venice Film Festival's Horizons Award for best director and the FIPRESCI best film at parallel sections.

Rambo: Last Blood © Yana Blajeva Courtesy of Millenium Films

What are some of the landmark locations that the Tenerife Film Commission has helped to facilitate?

It changes a lot from project to project, in fact many films like Jason Bourne or Rambo: Last Blood have been mainly shot in urban landscapes. We worked a lot with Teide National Park for Clash of the Titans, and the road and environment departments from Cabildo (the Canary Island’s Government) and, for an example, with Santa Cruz Townhall in order to close the main square for Jason Bourne to recreate Greece. We have a great agreement with the Coast Department that provides an annual film permit.

Does the commission have any plans for upcoming developments or areas for focus & growth?

Since 2017, we have developed the animation sector and that has given work to more than 300 people on regular basis. The  50-45% Tax Rebate applies to animation or postproduction and only needs a EUR200,000 of investment in Tenerife. Combined with 4% Corporate Tax from the Canaries Special Zone (ZEC) it is an attractive way of doing animation production in Tenerife. To know more visit https://www.webtenerife.co.uk/tenerifefilm/animation/

Fast and Furious 6 © Universal Pictures

Can you tell us about a recent shoot in Tenerife?

Mediapro's The Head, is a co-production with dialogue in English and Danish. The series is set at the international station Polaris VI, in Antarctica. A group of scientists from different countries is in charge of keeping the base in operation during the long polar night. But at the height of winter, the station stops all communication with the exterior.

What were some of the locations used & how long was the shoot?

A 2,000 m² set in Tenerife became the principal location for the production, with most of the series being shot on location at these expansive facilities. The Polaris VI polar station was recreated in real scale to best simulate the action that takes place onboard. The only exterior location has been Punta del Inglés, at a singular spot in Parque Rural de Anaga. Shooting was also done at interiors in special locations such as Auditorio de Tenerife, Finca Tristán, the Floatel Reliance platform or the Brifor unit facilities in La Guancha and a factory in La Laguna. In addition to the support of the Cabildo de Tenerife, the production has also enjoyed the help of the town councils of La Laguna and Santa Cruz.

The Head © Jacques Mezger -The Mediapro Studio

40 local professionals were hired in addition to ten of the island’s companies. Some of the companies are members of Tenerife Film Commission like Blackout Films, with their postproduction and DIT services; Location One Islas Canarias and The Boss Transports, that hire shooting equipment; Archipiélago Renting, vehicle hire; Grupo Suardíaz shipping company; Riskmedia Insurance Brokers; hotel Taburiente, and the model agency Bewateragency.



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