The Finance Ministry has urgently requested that parliament to release €9 mln in reimbursements owed to martial arts film Jiu Jitsu, partly shot in Cyprus featuring Hollywood star Nicolas Cage.
The Hollywood movie has reportedly finished post-production and the producers want their money back.
It is understood the government is being pressured to pay the subsidy, now that the film has finished and will enjoy a private screening.
MPs have to crosscheck the ministry’s budget for the film incentive scheme before releasing the funds.
The financing is part of the incentives provided by Invest Cyprus to the audio-visual industry with conditions of the funding being that a significant part of the film is shot on Cyprus locations, some members of the crew are hired locally and a special purpose company be set up, registered with the local tax authorities.
According to data submitted by the Ministry of Finance to Parliament, three productions have been approved under the plan, which have the right to opt for a 35% subsidy on their expenditure or to obtain a tax credit, as well as a tax deduction for investments in infrastructure and equipment.
The state scheme covers total rebates worth €25 mln per year, with officials aiming to use the entire budget.
Reimbursements are made upon completion of the filming and confirmation that taxes have been paid and an auditor’s review that the money spent is eligible expenses, then within a set period of time, the producer is reimbursed.
By the end of 2019, the ministry is expected to cover the cost of one of the three productions, namely the Jiu Jitsu film.
“The cost of production has been budgeted at €25,629,579, with expenditure coverage at 35%,” reads a Finance Ministry note to parliament. This means that the grant will amount to around €9 mln.
A Finance Ministry spokesperson told the Financial Mirror the funds requested were included in the 2019 budget but needed to be crosschecked by parliament.
“This is part of a scheme that all sides have agreed to promote Cyprus and contribute to economic growth on the island. Thus, we expect MPs to do their part and release the funds,” said Michalis Papadopoulos, press officer for the Finance Ministry.
Filming of ‘Ji Jitsu’ starring Oscar winner Cage was completed this summer, and producers are now ready for the film’s first private screening, during which the final version of the film will be approved.
According to sources, 56 jobs were created, and significant funds were spent to hire film crews and equipment.