11 Apr – Thailand has always been an attractive location for many Hollywood films and other foreign productions due to the availability of elephants, exotic jungles, beach settings, relatively low production costs, and mature domestic film industry, but now Malaysia too is fast emerging as a worthy rival.
Bangkok Post quoted Ubolwan Sucharitakul, director of the Thailand Film Office (TFO) saying, ''Malaysia is emerging as our strong rival. Apart from impressive rebates and other incentives, the presence of Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios also boosts Malaysia's competitiveness."
According to Ubolwan, film producers in Malaysia can claim a tax rebate of up to 30 per cent of their production costs while Thailand only offers a personal income tax exemption for foreign actors. Furthermore, the latter incentive is due to expire in December 2015.
Previously, the Thai government agreed to consider offering more incentives to attract international film shoots, but following the House dissolution, the move was dropped. Its current political situation also caused several film productions to postpone their planned shoots in Thailand early in the year.
Some of the films set in Thailand include "Around The World In Eighty Days", "The Man With The Golden Gun", "The Beach", "Bangkok Dangerous" and "Only God Forgives".
Meanwhile, Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios is a film and TV studio facility for Asia-Pacific. The studio marks an alliance between Britain's Pinewood Studios Group and the local government's investment holding arm, Khazanah Nasional Bhd.
The film studio complex is now operational with some additions still under construction boasting facilities such as film soundstages, TV studios, offices, workshops and post-production facilities located at Nusajaya, Johor.
A new epic TV series by The Weinstein Company, "Marco Polo" will be one of the first projects shot at the studios as part of Netflix's original series.