Malaysia challenges Thailand as film location

Thai government is developing new incentives to stay.

by Jennie Kermode

Only God Forgives was shot in Bangkok
Only God Forgives was shot in Bangkok

Looking for an east Asian filming location with beautiful beaches, stunning jungle scenery and good local facilities? Traditionally the choice has been Thailand, but now Malaysia is emerging as a serious rival. In response, Thailand's Department of Tourism has pledged to develop new incentives to keep international film productions coming back. It is also likely to renew tax exemptions for foreign actors who appear in Thai-shot films, making it easier for local productions to attract international stars.

Malaysia's developing advantage is thanks in part to a partnership with Pinewood, with the new Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios already partly operational and set to open fully later this year, offering an unprecedented amount of film production space for the region. The country already offers a tax rebate of up to 30% of production costs.

Thailand has seen planned productions move elsewhere in recent months due to the political turmoil spilling onto its streets, but others, using primarily rural locations, have gone ahead as planned. It is now commencing a charm offensive with representatives set to attend several of this year's leading international film festivals to try and win fresh custom. International film productions are worth around £45m a year to the Thai economy.

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