Romania Relaunches Cash Rebate Scheme with Plans to Become Most Attractive Destination in Eastern Europe


    BUCHAREST: Romania is relaunching its cash rebate scheme in May 2024, as the Government has approved amendments proposed by the Office for Film and Cultural Investments (OFIC) on 21 March 2024, and the application procedures were submitted for public consultation on 8 April 2024

    According to the new corrections, the maximum budget for the scheme in 2024 is 55 m EUR / 273.6 m RON, while the total budget from 2024 till 31 December 2026 will be approximately 122 m EUR.

    Starting with 2024, the value of the rebate will be 30%, compared to 35% in 2018, when the scheme was launched.

    “By extending the programme and modernising the financing mechanism, we plan to transform Romania into the most attractive production destination in Eastern Europe and to bring direct investments of over 380 m EUR in 2024-2026”, said the Minister of Culture Raluca Turcan in a statement.

    Almost 100 m EUR in direct investment was brought to Romania in 2018-2020.

    “The primary objective with this programme is to support the development of the film production sector and attract local and international investment in the years to come. Under the new financing structure, funds will be allocated more efficiently, focusing exclusively on projects commencing production in Romania. This eliminates the need for rushed financing requests and alleviates concerns about budget thresholds being quickly met, as experienced in previous calls for projects”, Ana-Georgia Mirea, the manager of the Office for Film and Cultural Investments (OFIC), told FNE.

    The scheme will be ongoing throughout the year but the “first come, first served” rule will be replaced with “first into production” rule, as only 20% of the projects that had applied previously, eventually started production.

    The beneficiary will have to start shooting in Romania not later than nine months after the issue of the eligibility certificate. The minimum local spend remains 100,000 EUR with a cap of 10 m EUR per project.

    Short, medium and long fiction films, series, mini-series, documentaries and animated films can apply for the rebates. The scheme is open for both Romanian and foreign production companies with a local partner.

    Ana-Georgia MireaOFIC, which was established in 2023 under the Ministry of Culture to take over the rebate process from the Ministry of Economy, is estimating a maximum of 250 beneficiaries of the scheme in 2024-2026.

    The call for applications will be officially launched after the publication of the application procedures in the Official Gazette.

    “To facilitate collaboration, we've developed an online platform at https://www.filmoffice.ro/ showcasing local companies, cast and crew, making it easier for international partners to engage local talent. Additionally, we offer support with implementation and permit procedures”, Ana-Georgia Mirea added.

    In December 2023, the Office started reimbursing payment requests for projects shot between 2018 and 2020. The first two projects to be reimbursed are Alexandr Mindadze’s Parquet, serviced by Alien Films Entertainment, which received a reimbursement of production costs of 481,200 EUR / 2,390,989 RON, and Mona Fasvold’s The World to Come, serviced by Arsia Production, with a reimbursement of 605,000 EUR / 3,005,344 RON of the eligible production costs, plus approximately 80,000 EUR / 350,000 RON delay penalties.

    Another 20 projects were withdrawn by the applicants, and 39 projects for which a financing agreement had been signed, but which didn’t submit a payment request in two years time, have been deregistered.

    “The Ministry of Culture allocated the necessary budget for projects submitted between 2018 and 2020, and analysis commenced in December 2023. Currently, 52 projects are pending at various stages of assessment. Applicants have been asked to update project documentation and to provide supporting documents for requested payments, and the projects will be reviewed in order starting from the oldest payment requests”, Ana-Georgia Mirea also said.

    The cash rebate scheme had been officially launched in Romania in October 2018, halted in 2019, re-launched in August 2020, but has been inoperative since then.

    The Office for Film and Cultural Investments will publish all the information about the cash rebate process on its website, https://ofic.ro/.

    Click HERE for more information about the projects submitted in 2018-2020.