Bucking the politics of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, São Paulo will on Wednesday publish for public consultation a set of proposals for cash rebates on international shoots that include affirmative action clauses around race and gender.
São Paulo’s film-TV agency Spcine will also notify their plans to prize pro-environment productions.
Already a revolution for Brazil and marking its first big shoot incentives, the cash rebates are tabbed at a base 20% of local expenditure by international productions in São Paulo proper, and require a minimum local spend of $500,000 for films, series and commercial productions.
That 20% reimbursement can rise to reach a ceiling of 30% of local spend, however, on shoots that employ women or Black people in senior creative, cast or crew positions, Spcine president Laís Bodanzky confirmed to Variety.
Spcine has employed affirmative gender and race policies for the last four years in its support of the city’s local industry, she noted.
Now, in a pioneering move, they will extended not only to new international shoot incentives, but also other types of shoots that are eligible for rebates, according to Wednesday’s proposals: National productions with large international potential filmed in São Paulo — which includes global SVOD shows — plus international commercials shot in the city.
In a third affirmative action, Spcine will give extra rebates percentage points to productions’ sustainable practices, such as waste management, recycling and further pro-environment initiatives, said Spcine director Luiz de Toledo.
Besides this, in what looks like a first-of-its-kind initiative, Sao Paulo City Hall will be responsable for neutralizing all carbon gases emissions from productions filmed in the city with the cash rebate incentive.
Spcine will also prize at least two scripts of international productions that include São Paulo in the narrative and/or a character from São Paulo, without their necessarily being filmed or produced in the city.
In another departure, in what Toledo calls a “pandemic clause,” Spcine will also guarantee minimum wages to workers on shoots if they are caught by sudden pandemic lockdown.
Spcine’s public notice and comment on the rebates runs 45 days from June 10 to July 24.
Shoots are currently shuttered in Sao Paulo, as most of the rest of Latin America, which has become what the World Health Organization has termed the “red zone” for COVID-19. “I trust that we will be able to renew shoots in some weeks’ time, or [in] the second semester of 2020, when the rebates could come into force,” Bodanzky said.
That could bring important employment to a film and TV sector which has seen its federal government film and TV support program practically frozen since Bolsonaro came to power in January 2019.
Feature films, animation works, drama and short format series and global commercials are all eligible to receive incentives. Rebates are channeled into foreign shoots via a local services company, Bodanzky told Variety.
Headed by São Paulo mayor Bruno Covas, the city government includes left and right-of-center politicians and has stood out for its pro-active stance on social issues, such as a program that captures emissions from its two major landfills in order to generate electricity.