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Georgia government offering subsidies to foreign filmmakers

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Staff Writer | June 22, 2017
Officials in Georgia hope to turn the country into a global hub for film and television via the creation of a program that offers subsidies to foreign production companies.
Georgia film
Film industry   Moviemaking industry
The initiative is designed to boost the local economy and give a nudge to the country’s own moviemaking industry.

Under the program, called Film in Georgia, the Georgian government will reimburse 20 percent of a foreign company’s production costs in Georgia, and add an additional 5 percent, if the finished film or program promotes Georgia.

“We all know the importance Georgian cinema had in forming the country’s image and culture,” said Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili when he unveiled the program last year.

“This new initiative will contribute to the development of cinematography as an industry and as a business. And our country will become Eastern Europe’s most attractive filming location.”

Thus far, six international feature films have qualified for the program, and it has paid out about 673,000 lari (about $280,000).

Among the beneficiaries are The Clown, produced by controversial human rights activist Thor Halvorssen and Terence Malick.

Another recipient is the production company for an Indian historical action movie called Gautamiputra Satakarni.

Representatives of major American studios, including Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Disney, as well as several Bollywood studios, have visited Georgia to check out the possibilities.

In addition to defraying production costs, Film in Georgia offers various services to foreign production companies, including location scouting, scheduling, and help navigating the local bureaucracy to obtain permits, said Lika Mezvrishvili, head of the program’s international relations department.

The main benefit to Georgia is a boost in the local economy, especially in the hotel and hospitality sector, program officials say.

“The film industry is an engine that creates a ripple effect on jobs, and innovation in other sectors of the economy,” Mezvrishvili told

It could also potentially attract film tourism, if a hit is made in the country and fans want to see the site where it was filmed.

And it can provide a boost to Georgia’s own film industry, as Georgian filmmakers can learn from more experienced international counterparts.