Mongolia to launch 30% film production incentives
Mongolia is due to launch film production incentives early next year. The move adds to the attractions of a varied and underexploited country.
The country’s parliament in Ulaanbaatar approved the measures in late August in hopes of developing its creative industries.
“We have been promoting Mongolia as a place since 2017, when we joined the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI). We now have a government that wants and plans for the development of content industries,” Orgil said. Makhaan, Chairman of the National Film Commission of Mongolia. Variety. “There’s no reason why over time Mongolia shouldn’t be the next New Zealand or Iceland.”
Chief among these measures is the establishment of a 30% localization incentive system for qualified and accredited film and television productions taking place in the country. Open to productions with a minimum spend of $500,000, the system is a cash rebate that is not tied to the tax system or other credits.
A similar system of 30% discounts is also in place for film and television projects that use a significant number of Mongolian staff for post-production.
The new law introduces two further discounts: a 10% cultural incentive available for productions that showcase Mongolian culture and heritage; and a 5% incentive for foreign crews and talent.
Significantly, the three schemes can be combined to generate 45% discounts for particular projects that tick all the boxes.
Alternatively, for those who do not meet all the criteria, there will also be a new 20% incentive for films in Mongolia. This applies to local or joint film productions that promote Mongolian culture and heritage to international audiences. (Mongolia currently has no bilateral co-production treaty, meaning all multinational projects are built as joint ventures under private contract.)
Several jurisdictions in Asia have introduced production incentive programs in recent years, including Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Qingdao in China. Some programs may be small scale, but location managers report that studio production managers expect to be able to access soft money programs and that without them their locations and related industries were at a disadvantage.
For now, the Mongolian incentive program has no cap, meaning even a big-budget Hollywood tentpole could qualify for a 30% discount. In practice, the government should reserve a specific budget which will be available from the moment the programs become operational on January 1, 2022.
“We would like to have a Marvel or Loki film shoot here. In practice, we will probably try to find something good for both parties,” said Makhaan. The country has already been accessed by shows such as Netflix Korean series -Studio Dragon “Crash Landing on You” and “Sink or Swim”.
“We are working hard to ensure that all the details are ready by January. Access to the program will likely require a Mongolian partner or the establishment of a local company. And we expect the production to use a local team , although having international distribution will not be a problem,” Makhaan said.
“We also have until January to establish how the cultural incentive will work. Qualification can be done through a points system, like in some other countries, although this has not been finalized,” Makhaan said. “We expect it to be overseen by an eleven-person committee, which involves three or four government officials and the majority of the film industry.”
Since he also joined AFCNet [the Asian Film Commissions Network] in 2019, Mongolia performed at exhibition venues in Los Angeles and Busan. As the country diversifies its economy away from a heavy reliance on mining, it is redefining itself as a modern nomadic society open to soft power and cross-border cooperation.
Makhaan says the selling points include: easy connection from Mongolia (1.5 hour flight from Beijing, 3 hours from Seoul and 7 hours from Berlin); sunshine 80% of the days, even in winter; four distinct seasons; urban landscapes reminiscent of the architecture of the former Soviet bloc; and extremely varied landscapes (deserts, icy mountains, grassland-steppes, dense forests).
“We don’t have streets or marine locations like New York, however, with a huge freshwater lake, we’re getting closer on that front. And we pretty much have everything else,” Makhaan said. “Now we also have the location incentives.”