Colombia has established itself in recent years as an international audiovisual production hub. One of the reasons for reaching this point has been Law 1556 of 2012, which offers two instruments, the FFC (Colombia Film Fund) cash rebate and the CINA Audiovisual Investment Certificates.
During the ten years of life of Law 1556, 104 productions have been approved, from 14 different countries, which are projected to invest in the country close to $1.6 billion COP and have reached platforms such as Amazon, Netflix, Apple TV, Discovery +, Disney +, HBO, Nickelodeon, MTV, Sony and Star +, among others. It is also important to mention that more than 80% of the technical and artistic team hired to carry out these projects is Colombian.
The Resource Allocation Manual (MAR) establishes the requirements and conditions to which audiovisual projects must adhere for application, approval, follow-up and coverage by the FFC and CINA, as provided for in Law 1556 of 2012, amended by Law 1955 of 2019. The Colombia Film Promotion Committee (CPFC), the governing body of both instruments, made some changes to improve and facilitate access to other audiovisual formats such as video games, commercials and music videos, which we mention below (Agreement 86 of 2022).
Changes in the application for the FFC cash rebate
It is possible to submit projects that only have a post-production component if the project was a beneficiary of the cash rebate in the production component. Previously, there was a time limit of one year to apply for the post-production component, which has now been removed. This means that any project that has received a production cash rebate may also apply for post-production, regardless of the time between one and the other.
Foreign producers applying for an FFC cash rebate may also do so through a national co-production company. This option was only open to producers applying for the CINA incentive.
To obtain the FFC cash rebate, the minimum expenditure to be made in Colombia is 1,800 SMLMV*. The series had to distribute this expenditure in up to 4 chapters, maintaining an average per chapter of no less than 450 SMLMV*. This limit was eliminated for animated series since they respond to different production needs.
Changes related to film service companies and national co-producers for both systems (FFC and CINA)
The film services company or the national co-producer may assist the foreign producer in all the procedures with Proimágenes (application, contract and accreditations). If the producer chooses this option, their partner in Colombia acts on their behalf and risk under a mandate. The mandate format is defined by Proimágenes Colombia.
Changes in the CINA incentive application process
The minimum expenditure required in Colombia to obtain the CINA for several types of projects has lowered. The minimum spending for music videos is 200 SMLMV* per video; for video games the minimum spending is 1,215 SMLMV* per video game, video game prototype or expansion; and for audiovisual advertising the minimum expenditure is 400 SMLMV* per audiovisual advertising work. In the latter case, at least 80% of the expenses must go to audiovisual services.
If the project is submitted only for the post-production component, the minimum expenditure to be made in Colombia is 360 SMLMV*, regardless of whether it is a film, series, music video, video game or audiovisual advertising production. Please note that all minimum expenditure amounts include taxes.
Changes in accreditations and requirements for the issuance of the Compliance Certification for projects submitted to the CINA
The MAR included the provision of a certification, contract or other document that sufficiently demonstrates the link between the foreign producer and the direct depositor in Colombia, designated for the dematerialized issuance of the CINA as an additional accreditation to be complied with for the emission of the Compliance Certification. This, taking into account the requirements established in Resolution 65 of 2021 of the Ministry of Culture.
Changes in the application process and requirements for both systems (FFC and CINA)
- The applicant producer-related documents that must be delivered in order to be eligible have changed.
The new requirement to prove legal existence and representation is more specific, so foreign producers can easily identify it in their countries.
These may be document(s) issued by an entity, institution or authority sufficiently qualified in the country of origin and must show the following:
(i) that the company has an active, qualified or current status;
(ii) the current name or company name of the company; and
(iii) which persons may exercise representation of the company.
The information may be contained in several documents, depending on the country.
The date of issuance of the documents submitted must be less than 30 calendar days from the date of the project application.
If the documents are issued by a public authority, they must be legalized by a consul or apostilled.
Proimágenes Colombia will determine which documents are admissible for each country. This information will be made available to the applicant producers.
- The applicant producer must now identify the members of their business group and the position they occupy within the group. This requirement is directly related to the updates in participation restrictions, where it is clarified that these affect every member of the business group. Proimágenes Colombia will provide the forms where the information must be registered.
- Regarding the participation restrictions, the period for producers who have not set up the trust has also been modified from one to two years after the approbation of the project. In addition, a two-year participation restriction was added, counted from the maximum date for signing the Colombia Filming Contract, for those producers who have not signed it on time.
- The MAR has been updated to facilitate the accreditation of project financing sources other than the incentives of Law 1556. There is no longer an enunciative list of forms of financing accreditation. In addition, in principle, only a description of the instruments and/or documents that support the sources stated by the producer (e.g., contracts, credits, or others) will be required instead of copies of them. If deemed necessary, Proimágenes Colombia may request copies of the instruments and/or documents supporting the sources of financing described by the producer to analyze the project.
- The CPFC will only consider projects that have met all the application requirements at least 5 business days prior to the session. If the project has not met the criteria in this time frame, it will be considered at the following session.
Changes related to the obligations of the beneficiaries of the incentives of Law 1556
Proimágenes Colombia, in its role as Management Entity, may define and approve different schemes, forms, formats, media, and/or specifications for the credit that the applicant producers must include in the work receiving the incentive (FFC or CINA), as part of their obligations as beneficiaries. This is considering the differences in the management of credits for the various types of projects that may benefit from the incentives.
Producers applying for incentives under Law 1556 must allow, for strictly cultural and non-commercial purposes, the use of images of the project receiving any of the incentives to carry out activities to promote the Colombian territory for audiovisual work. Now, the MAR includes a new obligation to deliver copies of these images, as required, and in optimum quality under industry standards.
Please note that failure to comply with either of these two obligations entitles Proimágenes Colombia to suspend the issuance of the compliance certification for the last CINA to be issued, or the disbursement of the FFC consideration.
*Colombian current legal monthly minimum wage