A plan to set up financial incentives to attract more international filmmakers to Morocco was unveiled in Rabat with the aim of tripling investments by foreign producers in the Kingdom.
Speaking at a conference, Director General of Morocco’s cinema center (CCM) Sarim Fassi Fihri underscored the plan’s beneficial impact on job creation notably in the Draa Tafilalet region, the Kingdom’s film production hub.
In this respect, he said that the Finance Ministry has agreed to offer 100 million dirhams as part of the 2016 Appropriation bill to subsidy foreign productions in the Kingdom.
In 2016, total investments by foreign producers in Morocco stood at 320 million dirhams, he noted, adding that since 1919 Morocco has been luring foreign filmmakers solely thanks to its natural assets.
He deplored that Morocco, since 1997, maintains only one single form of incentives, namely tax exemption on all goods and services used by the foreign production company.
This incentive is not enough to cope with an increasing international competition by countries in the Mediterranean and beyond who are vying to attract foreign productions, he emphasized.
in 2015, the number of feature movies made in the globe reached around 6,300 film for an overall cost estimated at 330 billion dirhams, the CCM director general said, noting that Morocco received a meagre amount of 0.415 billion dirhams of investments in 2014, which represents only 0.13% of the global budget spent on foreign productions.
Morocco continues to stand as a hub for culture and cinema in a MENA region beset by turmoil and instability. Last year, 24 foreign films were shot in the Kingdom thanks to a solid cinema industry infrastructure and qualified human resources.
Acclaimed masterpieces shot in the kingdom of the stature of Brad Anderson’s “High Wire Act” with Rosamund Pike and Jon Hamm, Alexandre Moors’s “The Yellow Birds” with Jennifer Aniston, Per Fly’s “Backstabbing For Beginners” with Ben Kingsley, Jason Hall’s “Thank You for Your Services” with Amy Schumer, as well as the trailers for “The Mummy” and “Allied,” and episodes of “Prison Break,” “The Missing,” “Viking” and “Homeland.”
The economic return of hosting international filmmakers is highly significant, such as “Homeland” which was shot for 8 days in Morocco and spent approximately $1.8 million.
In terms of local production, with more than 20 films a year, Morocco is the third biggest producer of films in Africa after Egypt and South Africa.