Buenos Aires City Relaunches Film Commission (EXCLUSIVE)

BUENOS AIRES  —  Under municipal Minister of Culture Enrique Avogadro, the City of Buenos Aires is relaunching its Film Commission, taking advantage, yes, of the peso-dollar exchange but, above all, of Argentina’s unquestioned talent base, which is already triumphing outside Argentina.

Two examples, both from the TV sector: in 2018, Argentina sold more top 20 scripted format exports- eight – thanks to the sales of Telefe shows by Viacom. Intl. Studios, than any other country in the world, according to a study unveiled by The Wit at Mip Cancun.

Also, led by “Monzón,” a Buena Vista Original Productions with Buenos Aires’ Pampa Films, Argentina won far more kudos at last month’s Produ Awards than any other territory in Latin America.

Buenos Aires’ Film Commission drive builds on recent shoots in the city led over 2018-19 by international reality shows such as “The Mole,” for Germany and a New Zealand/Australia version of “The Bachelorette.” “El Presidente,” a Fabula-Kapow-Gaumont scripted series for Amazon Prime Video, has also shot in Buenos Aires,.

The Commission also helped Underground, producers of “El Marginal,” to secure shooting permission for the multi-laureled series in a soon-to-be-demolished central city penitentiary.

Popular on Variety

Spearheaded by Avogadro, Buenos Aires’ Town Hall’s Culture Minister since 2018, the Film Commission re-launch envisages offering services to companies wanting to break out into international, sectorial training, such as for screenwriters and technicians, and “inverted missions,” as Avogadro called them, inviting delegations, such as of buyers, to Buenos Aires.

The Film Commission will have a larger presence at the world’s most relevant festivals, markets and trade fairs. Buenos Aires City will also study how to attract shoots given the opportunities opened up by the new global platforms, and update its locations guide to provide state-of-the arts tools for overseas manages and producers not traveling to Argentina.

“It’s very important for our city to promote these sectors,” Avogadro told Variety. “They’re the kind you want to have in your city in terms of employment, offering opportunities to creative talent, and impacting other industries like the entertainment industry in general, transportation and the hospitality industry.”

The Film Commission’s push comes as the Argentine peso has plunged 37% against the U.S. dollar in the last 12 months. “The peso exchange rate is highly attractive but we would be competitive without it, It’s not the main point. Our first attraction is talent and locations,” Avogadro argued.

Leon Forde at London-based strategy consultants Olsberg,SPI, a leading  authority on shoot incentives worldwide, agreed.

“Exchange rates are one of the pillars of attraction for lots of places but they sit alongside other elements like talent base, studio provision and incentives.”

He added: “International producers need to know that there are going to be high quality work force when they come to shoot.”

Unlike Mexico or Brazil,  which have felt much more the “Netflix effect” of hugely hiked demand for top-class crews, the difficulties of producing in Argentina means that its sector is not working at full capacity. It will be easier to crew up with first class technicians in Argentina.

Just how that talent can supply the demand for content in other parts of Latin America, especially Mexico, is likely to be one of the large questions for Argentina in the next few years.

Buenos Aires’ major challenge, Avogadro added, will be to create international alliances with markets, festivals, countries and other cities that recognize the Film Commission as a counterpart, attract more important international and local OTT platforms to shoot new projects in the city, and above all to build an institution hand-in-hand with the private sector which becomes active in deciding where to focus the Commission’s efforts and best-case treatment for visiting productions.

More Film

  • 'The Salt of Tears' Review: Philippe

    'The Salt of Tears': Film Review

    Handsome twentysomething Luc is a trainee joiner, a craft inherited from his doting single dad: a man at once proud of his son’s continuation of their trade, and hopeful that he’ll do something greater with it. When Luc asks his father if he ever wanted to design furniture rather than simply build it, the reply [...]

  • Time to Hunt

    'Time to Hunt': Film Review

    As context for those unaware, South Korea does not have the equivalent of the United States’ Second Amendment. Instead, the country enforces strict gun control — privately owned weapons must be stored at the police station — and fatal shootings hardly ever happen there. That’s important to know when watching Korean movies: It explains why [...]

  • SF Studios, Cinematic Inc. Join Forces

    SF Studios, Cinematic Inc. Join Forces on 'Comet in Moominland,' 'When the Doves Disappeared,' 'Omerta'

    SF Studios is joining forces with Antti J. Jokinen’s leading Finnish production banner Cinematic Inc. to develop and produce the animated feature “Comet in Moominland” and “When the Doves Disappeared,” adapted from Sofi Oksanen’s bestseller. “Comet in Moominland” and “When the Doves Disappeared” are being made by both companies as part of a five-picture deal. [...]

  • Tiger Rising

    Exclusive First Look: 'The Tiger Rising' Starring Queen Latifah

    Queen Latifah and Madalen Mills star in Ray Giarratana’s “The Tiger Rising.” The drama is based on Kate DiCamillo’s New York Times Bestselling children’s book and produced by Deborah Giarratana and Ryan Donnell Smith.  Highland Film Group is handling worldwide sales, which are under at the European Film Market in Berlin. The Tiger Rising” is [...]

  • The Berlinale Bear is Seen in

    Berlinale Enlivened by Anti-Chile State Violence Protests

    A politically charged Berlin Film Festival was further enlivened on the third day of the European Film Market by a demonstration targeting Chilean armed forces. On Saturday, the Martin Gropius Bau, the site of the EFM, saw a group of anonymous protestors unfurl a big banner from one of the market’s upper floors, with activists [...]

  • Vadim Perelman, Ilja Zofin, Lars Eidinger

    'Persian Lessons' Eidinger, Perelman Say Film Offers Parallels for Today

    Director Vadim Perelman and frequent Berlinale film star Lars Eidinger on Saturday championed their new Holocaust-set “Persian Lessons” as a timely, very German tale of how that dark history is closer to us than it seems, made uniquely possible by the fact that most of the film’s production team is not German. The film’s world [...]

  • Uppercase Print

    'Uppercase Print': Film Review

    History is a fanged presence in Romanian director Radu Jude’s recent films. Since 2015’s “Aferim!,” in both fiction and nonfiction formats, culminating in the heady tangle of the two approaches that was 2018’s remarkable “I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians,” Jude has interrogated various incidents and epochs in his [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content