Brazil’s Culture Minister Sergio Sá Leitão Hikes Film, TV Incentives

Targets include more animation, gender equality, luring foreign shoots

Brazil’s Culture Minister Sergio Sá Leitão

Brazil’s government will power up its support for animation, gender equality and foreign shoots, Sérgio Sá Leitão, Brazil’s minister for culture, told Variety at the Cannes Film Festival.

As Brazil prepares to receive an Annecy Festival country tribute next month, Sá Leitão said the government would invest around $3 million a movie into five animated features each year. From July, the government aims to begin to invest in foreign and co-productions shooting in Brazil, rather than offering rebates or tax credits, he added.

Driving into gender equality, some of the financing lines establish quotas of 50% of funded projects being directed by women and 25% by Afro-Brazilian directors.

The moves form part of a significant hike in this year’s government budget and number of funding lines for the movie, TV and gaming industries, up to R$1.2 billion ($333 million) in 2018 from R$486 million ($135 million) last year at the key Audiovisual Sector Fund (ASF), as Brazil attempts to diminish its dependence on commodity boom-bust cycles and develop a knowledge economy as an economic-growth driver.

Meanwhile, in December, Sá Leitão appointed Christian de Castro, a respected former film financier and producer, as head of Ancine, Brazil’s film-TV institute, which handles ASF adjudications.

Expanded funding targets include gaming, where Brazil already has the world’s fourth-largest market. Also targeted are children/youth entertainment, training and the creation of bigger-budget content in a more competitive globalized world.

Energized by new Netflix and HBO original productions, Brazil’s production sector has rarely been busier. But major questions still have to be fully answered, such as just how far the government decentralizes incentives into Brazil’s regions rather than traditional film-TV hubs of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

“The idea is for the number of arthouse films to stay the same,” said Sá Leitão. “But there will be more money for highly competitive content.”