Hollywood producer urges Colombia to pass filmmaking bill

Film producer Scott Steindorff, known for his most recent film “The Lincoln Lawyer,” urged Colombia’s Congress Monday to pass the bill proposed by President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday to develop filmmaking in the country by offering tax incentives.

Steindorff has been in the process of developing his own blockbuster film on Colombia’s notorious druglord Pablo Escobar, with the support of writer Matt Aldridge and director Brad Furman, for Stone Village Pictures.

In an interview with Colombia Reports, Steindorff explained that “we have a lot of interest, the budget of the movie is going to be about $50 million…and so it is very important that I have a tax incentive… Puerto Rico has a 40% tax incentive, Florida has a 20% tax incentive, Brazil has a tax incentive… so it’s like this, I’ve told the government before that you guys have an opportunity to create a multi-billion dollar industry in your country, because of your proximity to the United States… you have diverse locations, but there are incentives all over the world.”

In the process of creating his new television show titled “Intelligence,” which is about a private military group, Steindorff and crew have been busy scouting filming locations in the Caribbean and believes that Colombia could fit the bill for the upcoming location of the show as well as his movie “Pablo,” if the price is right.

Last week, Santos proposed the bill in support of cinema and outlined the ways in which the country would be capable of supporting a growth of filmmaking in Colombia.

The cinematic development would be fueled by a national budget fund of $13.3 million dollars for financing tax incentives.

Santos explained that “films shot in Colombia would have a refund equal to 40% of the expenses incurred here for cinematic services, and there would be a 20% return for all hotel expenses, meals, and transportation.”

The bill would also include measures to encourage the development of filming infrastructure, personnel training, adoption of new technologies, and increased job opportunities.

“With this we will be on equal footing with countries, like Hungary and Puerto Rico, that offer incentives to domestic and international producers… we believe this can generate a boom in movies filmed in our territory, because we also have exceptional landscapes with- locations, contrasting climates, and settings only minutes away- and top talent,” said the Colombian head of state.

In response to the possibility of such support, Steindorff expressed that “I would love to be involved, I would love to make more movies and television in Colombia, I love your country, and I urge Congress to pass the President’s bill because it would be good for all the citizens of Colombia, it would create thousands of jobs, it can happen quickly, it would create billions of dollars, and the timing is perfect… the timing is now.”

The producer exclaimed that “I would love to see Bogota become the South American Hollywood.”

Both Santos and Steindorff have been collaborating with Colombian actor John Leguizamo, was also recently named Colombia’s cinema ambassador to the world of Hollywood and beyond, in order to make international filmmaking in Colombia a reality.

In reference to his upcoming film on controversial Pablo Escobar, Steindorff said “it will be an international movie, and it will be done right… it’s going to be an honest portrayal of who the man was, and I’ll let the audience decide if he was good, bad, indifferent – we’re going to tell the real story.”

Pointing out the infamy of the international druglord Escobar, Steindorff concluded “I used to joke, (Colombia) used to export $10 billion a year in cocaine from your country, now you can replace that with movies and television, and become the movie capital of South America.”

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