The film industry is set to receive incentives that would propel the industry to the next level if a proposal by the government to incentivize film production and post-production is approved by parliamentarians. The proposed changes are spelled out under the draft law relating to investment promotion and facilitation, approved last week. According to Teta Ndejuru, the head of film office at the Rwanda Development Board, incentives are around value-added tax (VAT) and withholding tax on production and post-production. “These incentives are tied to the number of days spent shooting in the country and how much spent,” she said. “This is the beginning of incentives that Rwanda wants to attract productions and foster the audiovisual sector.” The proposed incentives target both local and foreign production companies. Ndejuru did not highlight actual tax incentives proposed, but she indicated that the revised investment code gives them flexibility to improve on incentives if a potential investor expresses interest to set up a base in Rwanda. “So, for example, if WB (Warner Bros – American based group) wanted to open up shop here we would work out the benefits and be able to incentivize them to set up shop here,” she noted. In any way, film producers and makers are upbeat the proposed incentives would promote the industry, which currently faces a funding deficit and lacks skilled professionals. Ella Liliane Mutuyimana, a local film producer, says although there has always been a gap of funding, there are a lot of resilient and talented people in the industry that kept on fighting for their stories to be seen. “With the proposed incentives, this industry has an opportunity to grow. This can help create stable jobs for cast and crews,” she noted, adding that it can also liberate filmmakers in terms of storytelling and permit more local stories to be seen on the screens. Similar insights are shared by Eric Kabera of Kwetu Film Institute, saying incentives could unleash huge potentials for the local industry as it may as well attract international production houses. “With tax incentives, foreign producers could be attracted to come and make movies here while also focusing on supporting local production entities,” he said. That, they believe, would enable Rwanda a strong and vibrant film and television industry. According to Christopher Marley, the Director of Africa Digital Media Academy, a film school based in Kigali, currently Rwanda’s film industry isn’t well-monetized simply because equipment is expensive. “I have seen too many productions start out well, but fail to finish because of cost,” he noted. Beyond the funding deficit, however, he indicated that the biggest challenge to the industry is workforce development. “If we want to attract foreign productions to Rwanda, we have to provide a local workforce that has the experience and knowledge to support these productions,” he said. Marley asserts the local film industry can get financed if it is able to provide the crew needed and equipment needed for a foreign production, rather than requiring these productions to bring in their own crew.