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Six Reasons to Shoot in São Paulo

Conquest
Courtesy of SPCine/ Company Films

Half a dozen reasons to shoot in São Paulo.

1. Diversity

One of São Paolo’s biggest attractions “is our diversity,” says SPcine president Viviane Ferreira. “By diversity, I mean the variety of locations — urbanistic and architectonic — but also the diversity of cultures, of histories that cross our city every day,” she adds. The city’s rich ethnic diversity includes an astonishing mix of Lebanese, Japanese, Italian and African people. São Paulo is considered the next largest Lebanese and Japanese city out of their respective countries. A heady variety in architectural styles, world-class cuisine, music and art allows it stand in for almost any big city in the world. The state of São Paolo also offers a wealth of green spaces and forests, a stunning array of landscapes and the world’s largest street Carnaval and LGBT Pride parade, both of which have appeared in films and series.

2. Costs

Fifteen years ago, during its 2000s commodity boom, big city Brazil used to be pricey. That was then. Since 2019, the reis has lost some 60% of its value against the dollar, slashing shoot costs. Expenses have become far more reasonable.

3. The Cityscape

Shot entirely in São Paulo “Corazón,” a music video from Maluma that has scored more than 1.5 billion views, begins with a vertigo-inducing shot of the top-selling Colombian artist standing on the edge of the roof of one of São Paulo’s highest office towers, as if about to jump. In “Conquest,” Keanu Reeves uses São Paulo cityscape of gleaming white concrete high-rise towers to create a futuristic dystopia. In Netflix series “Omniscient,” it’s the background to a false utopia. São Paulo architecture runs a broad gamut. But its high rises capture like few skylines the sense of a modern megalopolis.

4. Experienced, Professional Crews

Another major São Paulo lure, Ferreira says, is “the quality of our local industry. We have the biggest concentration in the country of production companies, highly qualified technicians and high-end equipment.” Foreigners agree. “One of the things that you worry about as you travel sometimes is not bringing your own crew into these different countries, but the crew in São Paulo was incredible. It was one of the best crews I’ve ever worked with, and the people were so loving and passionate about the art, which made the experience amazing,” says “Corazón” director
Jessy Terrero.

5. Film Friendliness

“This city has welcomed our productions with open arms,” Francisco Ramos, Netflix VP of international originals, Latin America, said last year about São Paulo. “We recently shot a highly challenging project and with the city’s cooperation we were able to deal with unprecedented challenges: closing the bus terminal, four blocks of the busy Paulista avenue and the downtown area, all in an organized manner,” says Rafael Fortes, executive producer of O2 Filmes. “We filmed scenes that were once considered almost impossible.” São Paulo has both purpose-built soundstages (including big studios, up to 13,000 sq. feet) and spaces that are adapted to be sound stages, Ferreira says. It also has most of the major independent producers in Brazil, from Fernando Meirelles’ 02 Filmes to Gullane (“Senna”) and “3%’s” Boutique Filmes.

6. Vaccinations and Pandemic Protection

The state of São Paulo is speeding up its vaccination drive. “Our governor has projected that 100% of São Paulo adults will have had their first vaccination shot by mid-September,” Toledo says. A pandemic clause in the city’s new cash rebate scheme offers on shoots suspended due to a pandemic breakout the extension or advancement of payments to crew members, assistants and independent contractors; an additional percentage of up to 5% of the cash rebate toward workers’ wages, and possible extension of deadlines for accountability, finalization and the exhibition of the project.