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Already Brazil’s biggest film and TV hub — indeed, after Mexico City, Latin America’s second-largest shoot locale — São Paulo is now launching a production incentive revolution.

The city of São Paulo’s film-TV agency SPCINE is readying Brazil’s first-ever cash rebates for international and national productions and international co-productions.

These will be introduced as soon as the COVID-19 crisis subsides, most likely after July, when productions are projected to roll once more in Brazil, says SPCINE president Laís Bodanzky.

Feature films, animation, series and global commercials, plus national productions with international market potential (think Netflix series) are all eligible for rebates. Tabbed at 20%-30% of local expenditure, with a minimum local spend of $500,000, the rebates’ cap will depend on the amount of money available and currency exchange rates at the time the final text of the law is released, Bodanzky adds.

São Paulo has already become a production hub for international and Brazilian companies alike, hosting Keanu Reeves-produced Netflix series “Conquest,” “Sense8” and episodes of “Black Mirror.” The streamer has shot 10 out of 15 Brazilian original productions totally or partially in the city.

Locations — such as São Paulo’s futuristic cityscape of gleaming white concrete high-rise towers — is one draw, while the city’s deep talent
pool another.

“São Paulo is unquestionably one of the best locations to shoot in Brazil given the richness of its landscapes, concentration of talent and extraordinary production companies and crews for shows like ‘Sintonia’ and ‘Modo Avião,’” says Francisco Ramos, VP of international originals, Netflix Latin America.

“We currently film in multiple cities across the country but since we started producing locally, this city has welcomed our productions with open arms. We are proud to show the world a glimpse of this magical city through Netflix,” he adds.

The incentives also represent a breath of oxygen in a near totally asphyxiated Brazilian film industry that has seen president Jair Bolsonaro’s government freezing almost all subsidy funds for almost the past 18 months.

“For national productions, the cash rebate incentive is especially important in a time of fewer resources and funds,” says Bodanzky. “Hosting either international or national productions in São Paulo is also an essential way of generating resources for the local economy and jobs.”