Rabat – Thanks to Morocco’s 20% tax rebate on foreign films the number of foreign movies and television series shot in Morocco continues to rise. According to the Moroccan Cinema Center (CCM), the total foreign production spending in Morocco grew from $32 million in 2017 to $50 million in 2018. As of November 2019, foreign production spending stands at $80 million.
The measure essentially grants foreign investors a 20% refund on certain expenses, provided that they invest at least $1 million into production and that the shoot takes place over a period of at least 18 days.
The rebate has a fixed annual budget of around $11 million. Refunds are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
To qualify for the reimbursement, investors must present proof of eligible expenses. Such expenses include local talent, crew hotel bills, airline tickets, studios, equipment rental, transport, fuel, and aerial shooting.
Located in Ouarzazate on the edge of the Sahara desert, Oasis Studios Morocco specifically targets foreign productions. The studio has hosted more than 50 international productions, including “Homeland,” “Prison Break,” “Captain Phillips,” “Blindspot,” “Deep State,” “Baghdad Central,” “Ray James,” and “Aquaman.”
In an interview with Variety, Alami said that she wants the CCM to propose improvements to the rebate scheme in order to make it more competitive. She also wants more funds put towards Moroccan national production: At present, support for national production hovers around only $6.24 million.
Alami would like to see a mechanism that channels money from foreign shoots into national production, Variety reported.
Karim Debbagh, CEO of Kasbah Films, already has three major international productions lined up for 2020. According to Variety, the Tangier-based production services company will have a key role in “Cherry” with Tom Holland, “The Forgiven” with Ralph Fiennes, and South Korea’s “Kidnapped.”
Speaking to Variety, Debbagh said the tax rebate has encouraged producers to extend shoot durations and increase expenses made in the country, he added.
Kasbah Films was the first production company to benefit from the tax rebate, with “Mosul,” a documentary thriller about the battle to reclaim the Iraqi city from ISIS.
Kasbah Films has also hosted “Men in Black: International” and “The Last Planet,” a spiritual film about the Bible.
Debbagh is expecting to see the volume of foreign productions in Morocco triple in 2020.