In the News from Panama

Panama Wooing Movie Producers

Anybody familiar with Panama’s beauty and exotic locales knows the country is a perfect setting for movies. Now a new government initiative hopes to make it official by providing financial incentives to producers.

The Panama Film Commission (CFP) has introduced a new measure that would provide a 25% investment rebate for productions that spend at least $500,000 in Panama. The government will also help with customs, immigration, and another red tape, according to coverage in Bloomberg.

Panama has always had a long and friendly relationship with the film industry, but production has dropped amid the increasing competition to lure crews. The new proposal will significantly increase the incentives, which should help the bottom line for film companies.

The growth of the movie and TV business can provide massive exposure to Panama around the world, driving tourism and business. Beyond advertising Panama to the world, the film can be an important driver for the local economy, drawing in productions from around the country that will spend months in Panama. 

In 2021, film productions generated $8.5 million in investments, drawing productions from the U.S., France, Russia, Norway, Spain, and Denmark. But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the potential for big productions coming to Panama.   

The incentives apply to a wide variety of productions beyond movies, including TV shows, commercials, music videos, promotional films, and video games. Foreign companies have to work through a local firm and hire an accountant to audit the expenses. 

There are restrictions. Foreign productions will need to work through a local firm and hire an accountant to audit the books. But the government officials have clarified that the welcome mat is out for producers.