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Rio’s Mighty FIRJAN Backs International Shoot Rebates

Federation of Industries of Rio de Janeiro partners with Rio SICAV Producers Assn. to lobby new Brazilian governments for incentives

RIO DE JANEIRO — As it increasingly prioritizes movies and TV as vital growth sectors for Rio’s economy, Rio’s powerful FIRJAN System, the Federation of Industries of Rio de Janeiro, is beating the drum for tax rebates for international shoots in or around Rio de Janeiro.

Made by FIRJAM president Eduardo Eugenio Gouvea Vieira one day after Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos met with Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos to discuss up-to-40% cash rebates for Colombia spend by the Gaumont-produced Netflix series “Narcos” – directed to boot by Brazil’s most popular movie director, “Elite Squad’s” Jose Padilha – FIRJAM’s support for measures to attract big shoots to Rio shows one of Rio’s most powerful private-sector orgs moving ever closer to its film sector.

An umbrella assn. of five major industry institutions, aimed at powering up Rio industries and repping in turn over 8,000 companies in the State of Rio, FIRJAM is already backing the Rio Film Festival and Films From Rio. A new six-movie-project development program, FFR launched last October with Rio film authorities now partnering with the Cannes Film Market to develop the initiative.

FIRJAM’s training institution, SENAI, also runs a film school in Larenjeiras, a district of Rio. According to a 2012 FIRJAM study, Map of the Creative Industry, Rio film and video workers earn 120% the sector’s national average, its TV labor force 133%.

But FIRJAM wants to up the ante. It is talking with the equivalent of Rio’s PGA, the Rio State’s Interstate Association of Audiovisual Industry (SICAV, to present a study to both Brazil’s federal government and its new Rio state government emerging from general elections this month. The study would argue with figures and data the benefits of instituting rebates for international shoots, Gouvea Vieira said.

“We need to address this issue at the beginning of a new governmental legislature. It’s very important,” he added, observing rebates’ fiscal logic.

“If, via a rebate, we can bring international productions to Rio which will make a large local spend on goods and services, the government will collect more in taxes.”

Govea Vieira said that he couldn’t promise rebates o international shoots but he was “optimistic.”

“Our close relationship with SICAV is very important. Rio’s core industries are oil and gas and the creative industries, which is the new way to do business in he 21st century,” Gouvea Vieira said.

“Rio already has a vocation for creative industries. We have many film and TV production companies here, as well as Globo, and images: Sea, forest, cities, every type of scenario that a filmmaker needs, apart from snow,” Govea Vieira argued.

Like other industry leaders during this week’s Rio Festival, Govea Vieira underscored the still large growth potential of Rio film and TV.

“The movie business can create synergies with other sectors and jobs, and we have room to grow,” he added, citing as growth drivers both increased consumer spend by Brazil’s welling middle classes and the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics.

Govea Viera’s declarations come as film and TV in Brazil is outstripping general economic growth. Rio houses not only Globo H.Q. but iGlobo’s giant Projac Studios, which is claimed to be the biggest studio complex in the world. $8.6 billion in 2,013, net TV advertising revenue will grow to $12.6 billion in 2018, per IHS Technology.

18.0 million primary pay TV homes last year, Brazil’s pay TV market will rise to 26.2 million by 2018, it added.

Rio created a Rio Film Commission in 2009. Headed by Steve Solot, one of Latin America’s most energetic film commissioners. the RFC has launched a series of co-operation partnerships with North American entities, such as the Ontario Media Development Corporation, in a pact announced at September’s Toronto Festival, and the City of Atlanta Office of Entertainment, an agreement signed this week at the RioMarket.

From 2009, the City of Rio has upped the ante on its own investment in the film and TV sector. Total investment made by the City-backed RioFilme, a Municipal Culture Incentive Law and a Viva Rio Culture Program stood at R$209.4 million ($83.8 million) over 2009-14, RioFilme president Sergio Sa Leitao announced at this week’s Rio Festival RioMarket.

Compensating Brazil’s lack of tax breaks for international shoots by direct investment. RioFilme put up $500,000 for “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part 1),” via its Brazilian services companies, Total Ent. and Zohar Cinema. Pic’s total Brazil spend was $3.5 million, per Sa Leitao.

“Twilight” shot a week in Rio. Now Rio wants more.

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