Brazil’s film industry will have a beachhead in Los Angeles through the new Brazilian Film Network, a full-service advocacy and consulting firm.
Founded by L.A.-based finance specialist and producer Eduardo Levy, BFN’s mandate includes the promotion and fostering of international filmmaking and co-productions in Brazil.
“Brazil offers a complex, but accessible array of tax incentives and public grants to local filmmakers,” said Levy.
For foreign companies seeking to tap these perks through partnerships with local producers, “it’s important from the beginning to know how to navigate the Brazilian film industry infrastructure, from funding to physical production and distribution,” he added.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Levy’s experience as an indie producer in the U.S. and Brazil gives him an edge in providing advice to outsiders.
U.S. film companies working on smaller budgets can be better served working with smaller, lesser-known Brazilian producers than with the usual suspects, he pointed out. Conversely, BFN seeks to help Brazilian producers keen to make larger pics with an international appeal.
Although the local currency, the real, is strong, base salaries of Brazil’s skilled technical labor force are below U.S. and European levels, which could mean shaving below-the-line costs by as much as 45% to 50%. In addition, local union laws allow for six-day work weeks, which helps to shorten shooting skeds.
An additional perk is the distribution potential for a pic in Brazil with its growing exhib market and the second largest TV market after the U.S.
Companies such as Cinemark and Mexico’s Cinepolis have been ramping up expansion in Brazil where 90% of the country’s cities have no screens, according to Levy. “Despite having just 2,200 screens, Brazil is among the top 10 box office markets in the world,” he pointed out.
BFN has garnered the support of Ancine, the government agency charged with the regulation, promotion and oversight of cinema in Brazil, and Riofilme, a municipal enterprise of Rio de Janeiro that focuses on film distribution, exhibition and the promotion of Rio’s audiovisual industry.