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A new film incentive is beginning to attract feature production to Portugal.

Portugal continues to attract small independent projects but also hosted scenes for Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which was originally for Amazon Studios. Portugal’s first film incentive was launched in 2017 as a 25% refundable tax credit. The government recently boosted this figure to 30% for productions that specifically showcase Portuguese culture or shoot outside the country’s main hub cities of Lisbon and Porto.

The country has a lot to offer as a south-west European filming location as a result of its cultural heritage and modern, cosmopolitan cities. The main production hub is capital Lisbon, where experienced producers and service companies can be found. However, Porto in the north and the Algarve in the south are also busy centres for shooting. Because the country is small, it is easy to get around and has diverse geography and architecture in close proximity.

Lisboa Film Commission offers production support in the capital and was founded in a bid to reduce bureaucracy and attract a greater number of international producers to the city on the promise of a more film-friendly environment. Permits are now designed to be dealt with using a single form and should be cleared within three working days. In 2017, the commission hosted 2,059 days of filming and a quarter of inquiries came from international filmmakers.

Overall, the country still appeals mainly to advertising filmmakers who are willing to travel from Europe, North America, Asia and Brazil, and there is a steady influx of factual and entertainment projects.

The Lowdown

Financial incentives

Portugal has a refundable tax credit of up to 30% with a minimum spend of $615,000 (€500,000). The Portuguese Film and Audiovisual Institute (ICA) manages the programme.

Full details on financial incentives in Portugal visit the Lisboa Film Commission

Infrastructure and crews

There are good crews, and labour costs are lower than in many countries in western Europe. In spite of the slowdown in international projects coming to Portugal thanks to the lack of a tax incentive, the Portuguese have remained active as co-producers. The country also has a thriving commercials industry that has helped crew — most of whom speak English — to develop their experience. Portugal is yet to develop major studio facilities.

Size matters

Portugal is a relatively small country and is well connected internally by both air and land.

First people to contact

Luis Oliveira, Portuguese Film and Audiovisual Institute: luis.oliveira@ica-ip.pt

Mara Gil, Portuguese Film and Audiovisual Institute: mara.gil@ica-ip.pt

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