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Lights! Camera! Action! – Movie Production Incentives for Investing in Serbia


Not long ago, we have written about the advantages of investing in Serbia, and have highlighted 14 reasons why Serbia is a great destination for your business, besides the numerous tax incentives it offers.

If you are working in the movie industry, after reading this blog, you will have another reason to invest here (or maybe even 300,000 reasons more).

The Regulation on Incentives to Investors Who Produce Audiovisual Content in the Republic of Serbia (hereinafter: Regulation), which stipulates enticing incentives for foreign investors in Serbia who produce audiovisual content, although implemented in 2020, started being fully applied only from January 1, 2021. The aim of the Regulation is to entice the economic activity in the movie industry, increase employment in that industry, as well as promote the potential of the Republic of Serbia regarding audiovisual production.

What Do these Incentives Imply?

Incentives are given to the investor as a non-refundable grant, through a return of 25% of eligible costs realized in Serbia.

If you set aside a sum greater than 5,000,000 euros for the production budget of audiovisual content that is carried out in Serbia, the incentives are given in the amount of 30% of eligible costs.

For a special-purpose movie, the incentives are given in the amount of 20% of eligible costs.

Who Can Use these Incentives?

If you are a legal or natural person with representative, and whose funds are used for (co)financing the production of audiovisual content, and who sets aside means for the production budget for the actualization of the project in Serbia higher than the minimum means required for the media in question, the incentives which the Republic of Serbia offers might be of particular interest to you.

The minimum amount which you must set aside for each particular media in order to be able to apply for the incentives are the following:

The incentives can be realized for the production of:

  • feature movie, a TV movie and documentary feature movie in the duration of at least 70 minutes, and animated movie intended for screening in the duration of at least 5 minutes;
  • TV series, in case the episode lasts at least 40 minutes;
  • animated series with at least 10 episodes, which last at least 50 minutes total;
  • documentary TV program which lasts at least 40 minutes.

In order to be eligible to apply for the incentives as an investor who produces audiovisual content, the content in question has to follow these rules:

The production of this content has to start and continue in the budget year in which the request for granting incentives was submitted.

A Public Call for Incentive Grants

In case you were intrigued by these incentives, and you fulfill the conditions listed, the fact that a public call for the incentive grants is permanently open might also be of interest to you.

If the request would be submitted at the time when there are no remaining funds for this purpose in the current year, that request would be transferred into the following budget year.

The Request for Incentives

The request for incentives is submitted through the Film Center Serbia, via a formal application, decided upon by a five-member Committee that the Government forms specifically for this purpose (the Committee for Awarding Incentives).

On the day of submitting the request, you are obliged to provide proof that you have secured at least 30% of the means for the expenses of the production of content.

Which Investors Are Not Entitled to Incentives

The investor who is not entitled to incentives is the following:

  • an investor against whom a previous bankruptcy proceeding, reorganization, or liquidation has been initiated, and
  • an investor who has matured and outstanding obligations on the basis of public revenues in the Republic of Serbia and other financial obligations towards the Republic of Serbia.

Procedure for Applying for the Incentives

The request for the incentive grant is submitted to the Committee for Awarding Incentives through the Film Center Serbia.

The Committee checks if the conditions from the public call are met and whether the full documentation was submitted. If all the conditions are met, and the full documentation is submitted, the Committee makes the decision that the conditions were met, and recommends an Agreement conclusion on the incentive grant to the Ministry.

Finally, the Ministry signs an Agreement on the incentive grant with the applicant.

Serbia Creates Film

In case you work in the movie industry or you are a movie enthusiast, you have probably stumbled upon the logo Serbia Creates Film while watching a movie.

This inscription is actually a label that shows that the production of that content was given the financial support of the Republic of Serbia. Besides the obligation that the investor must display the logo Serbia Creates Film, the Regulation also states that the investor must use this label in marketing activities.

Thanks to the incentives which are provided to investors who create audiovisual content in Serbia, in the past few years, a growth of foreign production of audiovisual content was noticed. Concurrently, the number of foreign productions of audiovisual content that use these incentives is also growing.

We believe that this move has left a positive mark on the other parts of the economy as well, which was caused by the influx of investors who produce audiovisual content.

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Nemanja Žunić


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