Filmmakers get extra 5% cash rebate for showcasing Malaysian culture, customs, heritage

Filmmakers shooting in Malaysia get to enjoy up to 35 per cent in rebates, for featuring local culture, customs, and for portraying the country in a good light.

In the past, a 30 per cent rebate was given to film companies that chose Malaysia as a location for film production.

The additional five per cent rebate, announced recently, zooms into the country’s cultural heritage. It is to encourage moviemakers to inject Malaysian elements into their productions.

Here’s the breakdown of the additional five per cent cash rebate:

Location (maximum cash rebate: two per cent)

  • Portraying Malaysia in a positive light;
  • Portraying Malaysia as an interesting tourist destination;
  • Showcasing beautiful vistas and destinations in Malaysia; AND/OR
  • Promoting Malaysia indirectly.

Cultural values (one per cent)

  • Showcasing the culture or lifestyle in Malaysia (e.g., food, language, heritage); OR
  • Showcasing Malaysian customs and traditions, or cultural events (i.e. wedding ceremonies, festivals).

Involvement, or hiring of local production cast and crew (two per cent)

This includes the hiring of a director, co-director, screenwriter, director of photography, lead actor/actress, key hairstylist, and stunt director.

The rebates, however, are contingent on the guidelines outlined by Film in Malaysia Incentive (FIMI).

Last month, the National Film Development Corporation (Finas), announced that the three Qualifying Malaysian Production Expenditure (QMPE) categories had been reduced to just one. In it, foreign filmmakers – with a minimum expenditure of RM1 million – are now eligible for the 30 per cent cash rebate.

In addition, films that pass the ‘cultural test’ would get another five per cent cash rebate.

The move was to further promote Malaysia as a location destination for filmmakers as the country fully opened its borders on April 1 and transitions into the endemic phase following the numerous movement control orders and lockdowns imposed since March 2020 due to Covid-19.

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