Despite the cuts to federal tax incentives in recent years, Brazil remains a good source of production mechanisms. “The major platforms led by Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video have production service agreements with Brazilian production companies to take advantage of these funding possibilities,” says FestCampos Talks producer-curator Fernanda Martins.
Jose Mauricio Fittipaldi, a partner at law firm CQSFV, adds: “It is true that investment has been severely cut in the last couple of years, but the causes are a bit more complex than just [President Jair] Bolsonaro. The amounts invested have already risen this year.” “
Currently, Ancine – the federal agency that regulates the sector – is slowly launching public programs to support the sector after years with frozen funds and no action taken to approve projects,” Martins asserts.
“Since 2021, the city of São Paulo has offered content producers a cash rebate of up to 30% of the amounts invested in audiovisual shoots in the city, while Rio has just released its plans of structuring a program of its own – up to 35% cash rebate program submitted to public consultation and expected to be operating by August 2022,” he points out.
Fittipaldi cautions that “while successful in driving funds to finance the production of local independent content, Brazil´s policies never really focused on attracting direct private investments to its film & TV industry.” He points to the U.K., Malaysia, Colombia and Canada which have incentive programs that offer between 20% to 40% return for every U.S. dollar invested in the local audiovisual industry, by either cash rebates or transferable tax credits.
“In fact, such incentive programs have become a ‘gold standard’ when it comes to private investment attraction in the audiovisual sector, with countries competing against each other to attract a portion of the overall $200 billion expected to be spent globally in audiovisual content,” he asserts.
In Latin America, Colombia and Dominican Republic stand out for their more established production incentive mechanisms in the region, followed by Uruguay, which introduced its cash rebate program in 2019.
“Dominican Republic incentive program provides for a 25% return by means of transferable tax credits, while the Colombian program can reach up to 40% cash back once certain criteria is met,” he explains.
“If it is true that countries like Brazil and Argentina have not yet introduced any sort of federal production incentive programs, big cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires have already taken concrete steps in this direction,” he adds.
Meanwhile, smaller producers who depended upon public resources in Brazil are waiting for the upcoming elections in October.
If Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula, wins the elections – as current polls predict – the federal fund is likely to be fully reestablished given Lula’s history of support for the creative industries, Fittipaldi observes.