City of Rio Unveils Plans for $50 Million Mega-Studio (EXCLUSIVE)

Brazil Rio De Janeiro
c) Marcos Semola

The City of Rio de Janeiro is set to build a $50 million film and TV studio, Rio Polo de Audiovisual, located a few minutes drive from Brazil’s 2016 Olympic Games stadium.

The news was unveiled on Saturday at Cannes by Sergio Sa Leitao, Rio de Janeiro’s secretary of culture and CEO of Rio City film fund RioFilme. The Polo (literally, “hub”) will be built on land owned by the city in Barra de Tijuca, an Atlantic Ocean-set suburb south west of the capital.

The Polo will cover at least 300,000 sq. ft, 40% of which will be occupied by 14 soundstages, Sa Leitao said. The Polo will also house production, post-production suites and offices.

RioFilme will launch a call for proposals around the beginning of July, he added. The winning applicant or consortium, which can include both a constructor and studio operator, must have the studio open by June 2016, in time for the Olympic Games The aim, however, is to progressively open facilities before that date.

Polo’s construction comes in response to escalating production levels in Brazil, particularly in the TV sector, SA Leitao said.

Powered by the swelling middle classes, pay TV subscribers grew 27% to 16.2 million in 2012, per Brazil’s Anatel National Telecommunications Agency. Pay TV operators are obliged by law to air 3.5 hours of local content weekly.

Subs also demand national content with stars they recognize, said Sa Leitao.

“Film and TV production is booming in Brazil and Rio aims to become the biggest center of not just film but independent TV production,” he added.

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