New locations video by the Mexican Film Commission

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Incentives Program for Mexico's Film and Audiovisual Industry

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On Tuesday march 9th of this year, President Felipe Calderon announced a landmark incentives program for the film industry in México. This announcement was made at BAJA STUDIOS in Rosarito (where “Titanic” and “Master and Commander” were filmed) in front of an audience consisting of more than 500 of Mexico’s top filmmakers, film executives, film commissioners, government officials, national and international press, foreign filmmakers, national and internation movie stars (like Edward James Olmos, who sat at the presidium) .

Before the formal ceremony, President Calderon received a guided tour of BAJA STUDIOS accompanied by Baja California State Governor Guadalupe Osuna Millán, Rosarito’s Mayor Hugo Torres, Baja Studios Executives, UDC University’s Dean Antonio Carrillo Rodríguez, UDC University’s Director Antonio Carrillo Vilches, as well as Iram Collantes, President of the Baja California Filmmakers Association and myself as head of UDC University’s Film School.

My film students were in charge of the production for this event, supervised by me and Iram Collantes.
Below you will find an FAQ for this new incentives program.

Incentives Program for the Filmand Audiovisual Industry

  1. What is it?
It is a program to support films that complements the existing public policy of supporting the industry in Mexico. This new program will offer an incentive of up to 17.5% of the production disbursements made in Mexico. It consists of a cash reimbursement of documented expenses and the refund of the added value tax (VAT) incurred by them in the country. In addition, an integral plan specializing in high impact film and audiovisuals will be created to offer productions a better experience when filming in our country.

  1. Who qualifies to benefit from the program?
Any film or audiovisual production spending a minimum of 70 million pesos in Mexico during its development and production phases, and/or 20 million pesos on post production, may qualify for the financial reimbursements.
Production and post production expenses can be combined, but in that case, a minimum of 70 million pesos must be reached.

  1. All the expenses?
Qualifying expenses made in Mexico with fiscally authorized invoices are included.
These include (not exclusively): payment of workers payroll, supporting actors, union fees, specialized equipment rental, car rental, fuel, hotel rooms, airline tickets, film catering, construction materials, office rental, locations, computing and office equipment, negative, raw stock, film processing, telecines, digital intermediates, color grading, making print 0, payment for private security on the set, etc.
In short, all disbursements made in Mexico having to do with the production and post production of a film or audiovisual documented by the fiscal forms required by Mexican Law in general.

  1. What do I receive as an incentive?
Two benefits: A refund of the Added Value Tax (VAT) of up to 16%, which has already been in effect as a stimulus to the export of goods and services for several years.
Since not all spend concepts in Mexico are subject to VAT, the Program provides for funding so producers can receive up to 7.5% of Mexican qualified spend.
The two benefits combined come to a net 17.5% of the qualifying production and postproduction costs spent within our country.

  1. Do I need to open a company in Mexico?
The tax refund program requires a registered taxpayer in Mexico.
You can use already existing service and production companies that are backed up by their experience and history, or open a company specifically for this purpose.

  1. What do I have to do to get the benefits?
The first point of contact for producers interested in receiving this benefit is the Mexican Film Commission (COMEFILM: of the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE:
IMCINE is the agency that, for over 26 years, has financed, supported and produced the vast majority of Mexican films and, therefore, has the experience needed to talk “producer to producer” with the people applying for this support.
Here you will be asked for a minimum of documentation in order to evaluate expenses planned by the production, the shooting destinations and the investment to be made, as well as whatever film specific requirements there may be.
During this first contact, the producer will be informed of the basic benefits of the program and the requirements and paperwork required by other agencies of the Federal Government. In addition, he/she will have access to a detailed directory of the industry, the offices of the Film Board and Film Commissions in the states and municipalities, and contact information on unions representing the film workers of the Mexican Republic.
After this, ProMexico (, the branch of the Federal Government in charge of promoting foreign investment and exports, will assign an “account executive” to help the producer solve the specific problems that may arise during the production on Mexican territory, so that the “Mexico Experience” will be productive and pleasant.
In order to obtain the support, she/he must duly file taxes with the System of Tributary Administration (SAT) and notify the executive of the ProMexico account, so that the refund of the existing VAT can be prompt and clear, in addition to being used as the basis for calculating the amount that the Reimbursement Fund may reimburse the user.
Once this has been complied with, a support contract will be signed and the sums delivered.

  1. Is there any limit to what can be given out each year?
The incentive that can be assigned to one project has no limit (only the maximum percentage that each production can obtain), other than the availability of existing funds at the time the film/audiovisual project is enrolled.
For the moment, the Reimbursement Fund has a guaranteed 20 million dollars, scalable to a limit of 40 million dollars for this year.
This means that projects for up to a maximum investment in Mexico of 260 million dollars can be supported, which leads us to believe that there are more than sufficient funds for this year.

  1. Is there a limit per production?
Yes, a production may receive back up to 17.5% of the total qualifying expenses in Mexico.
The sum of this reimbursement, together with the Integral Service Platform and the state and municipal support packages, places Mexico, in net terms, 2.5% above our main competitors.

  1. Can I receive other financial or in kind supports?
The program includes all of the programs supporting film production in existence to date (FOPROCINE, FIDECINE, EFICINE), but does not exclude any support, in cash or in kind, that may be offered by state or municipal administrations.

  1. What else does Mexico have to offer me?
The most important thing is that the Mexican film workers have an outstanding level of knowledge, experience and a work ethic that makes shooting in Mexico easy, efficient and pleasant.
In addition, the film workers’ unions in Mexico are modern and flexible, easily adapting to the new conditions and needs of film and audiovisual productions.
In Mexico, there are companies that rent top quality specialized equipment, with sufficient stock to cater to large productions, and with the flexibility and administrative capacity to adapt to market conditions.
Our country has eight labs offering integral post production services, ranging from developing and negative transfer, dailies in any format, to digital design composting, 2D and 3D digital animation, clearance shots, THX sound mixing (Mexico has five certified rooms), etc.
Among other shooting facilities, Estudios Baja, boasts the largest and most important aquatic installations in the world, in addition to sound stages.
And Estudios Churubusco ( has warehouses, sound stages and office space, its own lab and post production facilities. There are also sound stages and temporary office space in various states of the Republic.
We must stress the diversity of settings that can be used as locations in Mexico, which holds the fourth place in biodiversity in the world, thus guaranteeing countless possible locations a short distance away.
Because Mexico is a federation, the governments of the entities forming it have autonomy in their management and budgets, allowing them to be active participants in the promotion of film investments within their territory, so as to capture the economic spillover these produce, as well as their promotion of tourism; many of these have offices to assist film productions in various localities, to ensure them good attention and services.
Mexico also has an excellent telecommunications infrastructure, air and ground transportation, which allow us to connect easily and efficiently with any destination in the world.

  1. Can I film safely in Mexico?
The local industry has produced over 60 films a year over the last three years and insurance premiums for national productions have not increased.
As part of the Integral Service Platform, contact will be established with the Department of Public Federal Safety in order to determine, on a case by case basis, if the support of a specific security service is needed and can be provided to the production.

  1. Is there anything else I need to know?
Yes, the Integral Service Platform has been coordinated by ProMexico so that all of the Federal Government’s agencies are aware of and participate in the plan, offering better and clearer conditions to film and audiovisual productions that wish to film in our country.
To achieve this, the immigration requirements for specialized professionals have become increasingly easy to comply with for some time now; a clear and efficient mechanism has been established by the National Defense Department for importing arms and explosives specifically for use in productions, and we are working on achieving the same sensitivity and simplicity with the Departments of the Treasury, the Environment, the National Institute of Anthropology and History, and other similar institutions, in order to facilitate the production of all types of films in Mexico.
This will make the “Mexico Experience” easier, not only for productions of the size contemplated in this Plan, but also for smaller productions.

  1. When will the Plan go into effect?
The final guidelines are being worked out. The plan will be effective as of May 2010. Therefore, any production that has incurred qualifying expenses and files a partial tax statement as of the month of June, together with the required documentation to COMEFILM and ProMexico, can qualify for the reimbursement and take advantage of the Integral Service Platform as of that month.

  1. How long will it take to get the refund and the reimbursement fund?
Between 45 and 60 days from the date of the project’s application and filing proof of the disbursements made.

If you have any more questions contact:


Greetings to all again…

It has been a long time since I have written in this blog (almost two years) and let me tell you that since then it has still continued to grow in popularity and I constantly get calls and emails asking me questions about filming in Baja or in Tijuana, which I always answer with my best knowledge on hand. A couple of fellow filmmakers have asked me to start this blog again so I am back writing and posting information about filmmaking in Tijuana and in Baja California.

As some of you might know, I am head of UDC University’s Film School which is now entering its second year of existence. It has been a great experience. Very nurturing, very satisfying, especially finding out that Baja really does have film talent.

Many things have happened in Tijuana in these two years.

In upcoming posts I will write about what has transpired, what has been on the mind and hearts of our resident filmmakers as well as our foreign visitors that still consider Baja a great place to film.

And yes, they are right: Baja still is a great place to film!

UDC University chooses head of Cinematography School

Friday, August 15, 2008

As some of you might have noticed, I have not written an article for the past few weeks and there is a very good reason behind this.

As of this Monday, August 11th, I have assumed the position of Head of the UDC University's Film School.

I am very excited about this decision. I know it is a great responsibility and I am greatly honored by being chosen as the first head of this brand new Film School in Mexico.

started operating formally in 1992 as a private university with official government recognition and certification to offer the Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design and Administrative Computing.

Today UDC University offers 13 Bachelors Degrees and 4 Masters Degrees and has become one of the top universities in Northern Mexico.

The UDC University in Tijuana will start it's first semester of Cinematography School this Monday September 1st. 2008, making us the third university in all of Mexico (the other two universities are located in Mexico City) that can provide a Bachelors Degree in the Film Arts that is officially recognized and certified by the Mexican Government's Educational Secretariat (UDC University's Film School official recognition and certification number is RVOE BC-03-M2/08).

This official government recognition and certification means that UDC University has filed a complete educational programme for it's Film School along with documentation and procedural information, and that this has been analyzed, evaluated and ACCEPTED by the Mexican Government's Educational Secretariat, guaranteeing that our educational programme and teaching methods comply with national and international standards to offer a BACHELORS DEGREE to our Film students.

The UDC has also made educational agreements with the San Diego Latino Film Festival and with the San Antonio de Los Baños University in Habana, Cuba.

The UDC University has successfully run for 4 years the CORTO CREATIVO FILM FESTIVAL that is now considered one of Mexico's top showcases for filmmakers.

COLEF's Frontier Image Memory Project

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The COLEGIO DE LA FRONTERA NORTE a.k.a. COLEF (Northern Frontier College) is a scientific research and high level teaching institution, specialized in the study of the day to day problems in the Mexico-USA Border region. COLEF's primary goal is to transform the knowledge it gathers and generates into a vast resource for the planning and decision making that will contribute to the improvement and development of the region.

COLEF's Frontier Image Memory is a project that turns this institution into a center of graphical and historical reference of occurring events in United States-Mexico border. To this date it stores more than 25 thousand digital archives, along with printed material and slides.

Here are some examples of their vast image library:

Borders and fences


Border cities

Border crossings

Border people

Border symbols

Industry and development


Rio Bravo (Bravo River)

If you are interested in any of the images shown (or others not shown), please contact:

Happy Birthday TIJUANA..!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Coat of Arms of the City of Tijuana
Motto: Aquí empieza la Patria (The homeland starts here)

Tijuana is 119 years old today..!

Tijuana Panoramica
(click image to enlarge)
Source: Wikipedia/AlejandroMI92

A brief history of its foundation courtesy of Wikipedia

The land where the city of Tijuana would be built was originally inhabited by the Kumeyaay, a tribe of Yuman-speaking hunter-gatherers. Europeans arrived in 1542, when the Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo toured the coastline of the area, which was later mapped in 1602 by Sebastián Vizcaíno. In 1769, Juan Crespí documented more detailed information about the area that would be called the Valley of Tijuana. Junípero Serra founded the first mission of Alta California in San Diego.

More settlement of the area took place near the end of the mission era when José María Echendía, governor of the Baja California and Alta California, awarded a large land grant to Santiago Argüello in 1829. This large cattle ranch, Rancho Tía Juana ("Aunt Jane Ranch"), covered 100 km² (40 sq mi).

In 1848, as a result of the Mexican-American War with the United States, Mexico lost all of Alta California. Tijuana acquired a new and distinct character and purpose on the international border. The city began to shed its cattle ranching origins and developed a new socio-economic structure.

1889 marked the beginning of the urban settlement, when descendants of Santiago Argüello and Agustín Olvera entered an agreement to begin development of the city of Tijuana. The date of the agreement, July 11, 1889, is recognized as the founding of the city.

UDC builds it’s own Movie Theater

Monday, July 7, 2008

UCD's Movie Theater - Main Entrance
(click on image to enlarge)

As a prelude to the start of the first term of UDC’s FILM SCHOOL, the "University of the Californias" (UDC) in Tijuana has began construction of its own Movie Theater, which will have an approximate capacity of 400 people seated in cinema type upholstered armchairs. It will also house a small audio-visual hall for conferences and presentations.

Architect Héctor Ortiz Peimbert, Coordinator for the Architecture and Civil Engineering School of the UDC, is the man in charge of this project and he has stated that the theater will be properly equipped with a digital projection system and a 35mm film projector. He also commented that the first stage of this project will be inaugurated at the end of August 2008, and concluded by the end of the year.

The DEAN of UDC, Ing. Antonio Carrillo Rodriguez pointed out that “This movie theater will be an open space where we will showcase film projects from all over Latin America and the Caribbean, we want to serve as hosts for Mexican Cinema Exhibitions and to be a space for the independent film directors who often do not find support in commercial movie theaters”.

He also comments that this is one of many actions that the UDC will undertake to support Latin American Cinematography.

Recently the UDC signed an agreement with the New Latin American Cinema Foundation, presided by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and has made a commitment to encourage and promote Mexican and Latin America Cinema, in combination with already existing agreements with the San Diego Latino Film Festival , the Santiago de Chile Short Films Festival and others festivals in France.

Jorge Camarillo, Head of the Communications Sciences Faculty of the UDC, mentioned that this new area will also serve as a classroom and for workshops related to Acting, Staging and Lighting, once its open and ready for the first term of the UDC's Cinematography School in the month of September 2008th.

UCD's Movie Theater

400 people capacity

Digital and 35mm film projection

(click on image to enlarge)

Gone but not forgotten

(1945 - 2008)

Sergio Molina, actor, writer, cultural promoter, and former National Film Commissioner of Mexico, passed away this Sunday June 29th at the age of 63 due to complications derived from pulmonary emphysema.

He was an active supporter of Mexico's Film Industry and for
the last 10 years he worked nonstop to promote and develop film incentives to further the growth of Film Production in Mexico.

As head of the Mexican National Film Commission, Sergio Molina organized eight editions of EXPO LOCACIONES (Mexico’s National Locations Expo) and consolidated an effective network of State Film Commissions throughout Mexico.

During his last term as National Film Commissioner, the City of Tijuana applied and joined the National Film Commissions Network and after certification of being in full compliance with the rules and regulations, our city was recognized as Mexico's First City Film Commission.

Left to Right: Me, Gabriel del Valle (Baja State Film Commissioner) and Sergio Molina, at the Baja California and Tijuana Exhibit, in the 2007 Locations Trade show in Santa Monica, CA.

DON SERGIO (as we affectionately called him here in Tijuana) was a very charming, energetic and sometimes controversial man and I am sure no one will ever doubt where his heart truly was... In Cinema!

May he rest in peace.

PRIMERA PLANA (Front Page) shoots pilot episode in Tijuana

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"PRIMERA PLANA" (Front Page) is a 1 hour crime drama/police procedural television series, similar in style and format to the highly rated C.S.I. series. This pilot is being shot in 35mm and it's intended audience is the Spanish speaking population of México and the U.S.A.

It's stars are GABY VERGARA, RAFAEL AMAYA and JUAN BAPTISTA, who are very popular Latin American soap stars as well as accomplished movie actors.

Gaby Vergara (top), Rafael Amaya (left) and Juan Baptista (right)

PRIMERA PLANA is being produced by JUAN CARLOS OCHOA and it is written and directed by
RENE BUENO, with ALBERTO LEE as Director of Photography. Filming started this Monday May 30th. and it will wrap this Friday July 4th.

Camera crew setting up the next shot

Director Rene Bueno reviews the next shot (wearing white shirt and jeans)

Heriberto "La Gorda" Luzanilla, one of Baja's best and funniest GAFFERS

Baja California Film Industry ¿Fact of Fiction?

Friday, June 27, 2008

On Thursday June 26th., the CECBC (a local film academy) held an open forum to discuss the subject of Baja California's Film Industry. Attending as Expert Panelists were LUISA GOMEZ DE SILVA (Studio Manager for BAJA STUDIOS in Rosarito), RENE BUENO (Writer, Producer and Film Director), GABRIEL DEL VALLE (Baja California State Film Commissioner), JORGE SIQUEIROS (Local Film Director), ARTURO CORONADO (Local UPM), IRAM COLLANTES (Production Manager) and Myself.

With standing room only at the Multimedia Conference Room of the Tijuana Cultural Center (Cecut) the panelists gave their opinions and answered questions about our growing film industry.

The general consensus was that Baja California has a very significant Film Activity with the potential to surpass other world film production destinations (like Canada and New Zealand) and become a major player in the world film industry because of it's vast richness of locations unequaled by others (Beaches, Lakes, Dams, Desserts, Farms, Mountains, Forests, Parks, Ports, City, etc.), along with a World Class Studio Facility (Baja Studios in Rosarito), Experienced Bilingual Crew, our closeness to
Hollywood, California (we are about 2 hours away driving by car) and all round great climate. Plus, the new State Government has shown a great deal of interest in making this industry grow further to become a principal economic venue for Baja California.

The other major topic discussed was the need to further support and encourage Productions by local filmmakers and finding the right financial means to drive this onward so our local talent can see their stories shown on the Big Screen.

For all the students and future filmmakers that attended, it was a wonderful networking opportunity. For all of us that make this our livelihood, it was really great confirming that Baja is indeed growing as a Film Industry.

GABRIEL DEL VALLE (Film Commissioner) with LUISA GOMEZ DE SILVA (Studio Manager)

Tijuana has new "City Tour"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Starting this Tuesday July 1st. the "City Tour" begins operations in Tijuana and its main objective is to show visitors and the local population the many beautiful sites and positive things that our city has to offer.

Two tour buses will take you across 13 city landmarks during the two hour ride and the the cost will be 10 dollars for an adult person .

The City Tour will be offered with a bilingual guide with a 10 am to 8pm schedule.

The tour will initiate in the Tijuana Cultural Center (Cecut) and goes up to Seventh Street and then down to Third Street by Revolution Avenue, where it will make its first stop at the Tijuana tourism information booth.

The tour will also stop at many other city sites like L.A Cetto Winnery, Tijuana Brewery, Grand Hotel, Caliente Racetrack and Casino, City Auditorium, Gastronomical District (Restaurant Row), Lucerna Hotel, Plaza Río Shopping Center, the International Border, and its final destination back in the Tijuana Cultural Center (Cecut).

Tijuana now offers a Bachelors Degree in Cinematography

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The UDC University in Tijuana has announced that beginning this fall, they will start their first semester of Cinematography School, making us the third city in all of Mexico that provides a Bachelors Degree in the Film Arts. This Film School is well staffed by local and foreign professors and is also well equipped to provide students an excellent learning experience.

The UDC has also made educational agreements with the San Diego Latino Film Festival and with the San Antonio de Los Baños University in Habana, Cuba.

The UDC University has succesfully run for 4 years the CORTO CREATIVO FILM FESTIVAL that is now considered one of Mexico's top showcases for filmmakers.

La Tercer Orden (The Third Order) - Short Film

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This is a great short film written, directed, produced, edited, you name it..! by a small group of young enthusiastic local filmmakers (two of them just happen to be former students of mine when I was teaching at CETYS UNIVERSITY, and I am very proud of them).

Enjoy !

Cow Parade in Tijuana

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The world famous COW PARADE is now in Tijuana until July 27th.

Cow Parade is a festival of urban art where local artists will shape their works in fiber glass in cows donated by the Lala Foundation.

For two months, the local population and visitors to the City of Tijuana will be able to admire 70 real size cows made of fiber glass, transformed into art works.

This festival has crossed Mexico from Guadalajara to Mexico City, as well as other large cities like London, Chicago, New York, Genoa, Lisbon, etc.

Of the 70 cows on exhibition, 20 were painted by Baja California artists, as individuals or in groups, as they approached symbolic subjects of the region, like the border wall, public transport, painted Burros, among others subjects that make Tijuana a unique place to visit.

The cows will be grazing in Paseo de los Héroes Avenue, City Hall Gardens, the Morelos State Park, World Famous Revolution Avenue, Plaza Santa Cecilia (best knwon for being "Mariachi Central of Tijuana"), the Beaches and at the Tijuana International Airport.

All this is thanks to a joint effort between the LA LA Foundation and the Tijuana City Council (H. XIX Ayuntamiento de Tijuana)

For more info:


Monday, April 28, 2008

The Tijuana Tourism and Conventions Committee (Tijuana Tourism Office) has released a new promotional video. This video is narrated in Spanish, but the images speak (English) for themselves.

¡ Hola Amigos..! (Hello Friends..!)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thanks for visiting us...!

Yes, you have come to the right place to find out anything and everything about filming in the Tijuana - Rosarito region of Baja California, México.

We are still UNDER CONSTRUCTION, but right now you can access a variety of information you will need if you plan to come down and shoot in our beautiful and breathtaking part of the world.

This Blog will be updated daily (structure and links) and any questions you have about filming in our area will be answered as soon as possible (just CLICK anytime in the COMMENTS link and write your question). Please be mindful that this site is intended for the PROFESSIONAL FILMMAKER or TELEVISION PRODUCER and only matters concerning this will be answered.

I hope this site is helpful and that you truly enjoy your next visit to our home...


René Castillo.