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From Brazil to Mexico: Shooting Stars South of the Border

'Avengers: Infinity War'

‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Brazil cinema has had a great year, with high visibility at international festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and Locarno. After the difficult 1990s, and thanks to the robust activity and funds injected by the federal agency ANCINE, the audiovisual sector witnessed fast growth in the past decade. ANCINE, which also operates as the regulatory authority for film investment as well as the body responsible for supporting and promoting the industry, oversees Brazil’s complex system of tax incentives for investment in production.

The country’s film industry has recently seen some turbulence. The government’s attempts to control and censor ANCINE have given local producers understandable jitters. On the other hand, the presence of Netflix, which recently opened an office in São Paulo, has contributed to the expansion of local technical services, from animation and special effects to dubbing. “The data we’ve collected in the past four years at SPCine, which services movie productions in São Paulo, shows that the city is the second-biggest destination for international film productions in Latin America,” says director Laís Bodanzky, who serves as the president of SPCine. “We think that this is due to the city’s urban, cultural and ethnic richness. Its architecture ranges from futuristic to historical, [and the country has] multicultural and immigrant populations from countries such as Japan and Lebanon. The city also makes up for 25 percent of the country’s audiovisual sector, with a large concentration of production companies, animation and video game studios, creatives and technicians.”

In August, Keanu Reeves was in São Paulo shooting the Netflix sci-fi series Conquest, and Bodanzky estimates that the shoot in the city’s historical center generated about 2,000 direct local jobs. Netflix also is behind two other original series: the crime drama Sintonia, co-created by Brazilian music producer KondZilla, and the live-action Invisible City, directed and produced by Carlos Saldanha, the Brazilian filmmaker behind the popular Fox animated releases Ice Age and the Rio franchise.

On the production side, such homegrown producers as Rodrigo Teixeira are thriving internationally by backing acclaimed art house releases like Olivier Assayas’ Wasp Network and Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse while also supporting local independents, including this year’s Oscar submission for international film, The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmão, directed by Karim Aïnouz.

Brazilian directors José Padilha and Fernando Meirelles, meanwhile, have recently made original content for Netflix — the political series Mechanism (Padilha) and The Two Popes, (Meirelles), which is generating Oscar buzz

Elsewhere, Argentina’s Telefilms, which has been the biggest distributor of independent and Hollywood movies in Latin America, also sees opportunities in Brazil. “It’s a fantastic market for a company like Telefilms, whose DNA is 100 percent Latin American,” CEOs Tomás Darcyl and Ricardo Costianovsky said in a statement. “Some years ago we saw an opportunity and a great need to also produce original local content. We focused our attention on the two main territories, Mexico and Brazil. Our first movie produced in Mexico, Don’t Blame the Kid, was a big success, with 4.7 million admissions. Now we’re very active in Brazil through a new company, Galeria [launched in 2018], focusing on commercial potential and young audiences.”

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Brazil: Essential Information 

Incentives:

Incentive laws are currently under federal government review; SPCine discounts (in São Paulo): up to 95 percent on use of public spaces

Facilities:

O2 Filmes/O2Pós, São Paulo: 91,500 square feet; three studios, a casting house and state-of-the-art postproduction facilities, with specialization in motion graphics, color grading and visual effects; it’s one of the largest independent studios in Latin America.

Estúdio Quanta, São Paulo: four studios ranging from 2,000 to 13,000 square feet, with complete operational and technical infrastructure

Recent Shoots: 

Netflix’s Conquest, produced by and starring Keanu Reeves.

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

A Menina Que Matou os Pais, produced by Galeria

Local Facilitator: 

Daniel Celli, head of São Paulo Film Commission, Department of SPCine (danielcelli.spcine@gmail.com) 


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