The timing and location cannot be any better. As industry partners gathered at the beach party with the setting sun over the French Riviera as backdrop, the National Film Development Corporation (FINAS) made a major announcement released back home just two weeks earlier – the Film in Malaysia Production Incentive. N. Balaraman, Director of Planning & Research of FINAS, made the announcement on behalf of Director General of FINAS, Mohd Naguib Razak.

Under the incentive scheme, local as well as foreign film and content productions, including feature films, animation, documentaries, television productions and commercials, will be eligible for a 30% cash rebate on audited in-country spend as long as they choose Malaysia as a location for production and postproduction. Productions need to meet a minimum spend criteria of RM2.5 million applicable to Malaysian productions and RM5 million in-country spend applicable to foreign productions.

The new incentive is considered a major breakthrough and a huge boost for the Malaysian film and television industry. The incentive, according to Balaraman, is in line with Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Program (ETP) that was announced by the Malaysian prime minister in 2009.

Balaraman also introduced the €100 million Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios project that will almost certainly be a boost to the industry come May 2013. CEO Michael Lake, who was present, called the studios “a world-class facility for world-class productions” and described the rebate scheme as “a very straight-forward incentive.” “So If you’re sitting in your production office in Los Angeles, in London, wherever; and you’re running your budget numbers; you know you can predict your spend in Malaysia. You can take your 30% off it, and that will be the net amount of your production cost,” explains Lake.