BUENOS AIRES  — Already Latin America’s second most sought-after shoot location, the City of São Paulo’s film-TV agency Spcine is introducing  cash rebates for international productions from 2020.

The move, a first for Brazil, is set to be announced Tuesday by Laís Bodanzky, president of Spcine, at Ventana Sur, Latin America’s biggest film-TV market, which kicked off on Dec. 2., organized by the Cannes Festival and Film Market and Argentina’s Incaa film-TV agency. Bodanzky will be joined by Luiz Alvaro Salles Aguiar de Menezes, municipal secretary of international relations, and Frederico Celentano, president of Ade Sampa.

A revolution for Brazil – its first-ever big shoot incentives – the rebates sets São Paulo in line with a growing part of the rest of Latin America.

Six Latin American countries currently offer inward investment production incentives, including Brazilian neighbors Colombia, and Uruguay as well as Chile. Four structure these, like São Paulo, as rebates on spend, according to the Global Incentives Index 2019, compiled by strategy consultants Oldsberg SPI.

Equally – and it will not be lost on many observers – the rebates mark out São Paolo as a film-TV friendly hub, in marked contrast to the federal policy pursued by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has envisaged cuts of 45% in Brazil’s main Fondo Setorial do Audiovisual funding.

Cash rebates join other SP Cine support mechanisms – new post-production awards, a film commission, production incentives, a VOD service, a cinema  theater circuit – which is repositioning São Paolo as the No. 1 film friendly city in Brazil.

São Paulo has already played host to Keanu Reeves-produced Netflix sci-fi series “Conquest,” “Sense8” and episodes of “Black Mirror.” Since the Sao Paulo Film Commission’s launch in May 2016, it has hosted more than 3,300 productions, both domestic and foreign,generating inward investment of $400 million, Spcine director Luiz Toledo told Variety.

But São Paulo wants more. Tabbed at 20%-30% of local expenditure by international productions in São Paulo City, the cash rebates require a minimum local spend of $500,000 for films and series and commercial productions. Rebates are capped at $2.5 million over title, said Bodanzky.

Feature films, animation works, series and global commercials are all judged eligible to receive incentives. On international shoots, rebates are channeled into them through a local services  company,Bodanzky told Variety.

The cash rebates are set to be extended  to two other financing lines, as part of the Incentive Program for filming in the City of São Paulo,

A first is national productions with large international potential filmed in São Paulo, which takes in shows such as Netflix’s “3%,”one of Netflix’s first non-English language Netflix Orginal Series, and HBO’s “O Negócio,”, simulcast in 50 countries in Latin America, Europe, and the U.S..

A second is international commercials filmed in São Paulo. Yet another funding line for cash rebates takes in incentives for scripts of international productions that include São Paulo in the narrative and/or a character from São Paulo, without necessarily being filmed or produced in the city.

There can be little doubt about the quality of Sao Paulo’s talent pool. The financial, technological and cultural capital of Brazil,

Toledo said, São Paulo represents 25% of the Brazil’s film market, he added.

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Cesar Ogata

Companies based out of São Paulo include Globo, the biggest Latin America media company which has moved successfully into premium series production hand-in-hand with prestigious São Paulo companies such as “City of God” Oscar winner o2 Filmes, “Second Mother” producer Gullane, “3%” producers Boutique Filmes, which has just struck a production alliance with Erik Barmack’s Wild Sheep Content, and Losbragas, producers of Netflix Original Series, “Samantha!” and “Sintonia.”

As an urban landscape, also has a lot to offer, Bodanzky argued.

“Due to its infrastructure, architecture and cultural and ethnic-racial diversity, the city is fully prepared to host major international film productions.·

“Our goal is to help stimulate the economy and put São Paulo onto the world map. That said, it can be everything, it is a chameleon city and can be set in the past, have contemporary or even futuristic landscapes and scenery,” she said.

The people of São Paulo are also a mix of African, Italian, Lebanese and Japanese people, she added. The city in also film-friendly in practical terms, its central avenue being blocked off for one shoot.

In other initiatives, Spcine will offer Spcine Awards for post-production on feature films and animation works, There will be at least one award for a Brazilian feature film and at least two for Latin American movies. Adjudications are capped at $40,ooo per feature film. Total investment for Spcine Awards totals about $ 120,000.

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Leon Rodrigues