This week I have asked my dear friend André Breitman to take over the blog. For those of you who don’t know André, he runs 2DLab in Rio and is making a gorgeous preschool show called My Big Big Friend. André is very much a “connector” in our industry and he’s a wonderful advocate for all of the amazing companies on the rise in Brazil.
On a personal note, I’d like to thank all of you for reading the blog this year. I have enjoyed getting to know many of you and I have appreciated your comments and your complaints. To those of you whom I have offended (and you know who you are) I sincerely apologize. I assure you I meant no harm. I have only great respect for any company trying to make a go of it in this truly crazy industry.
I’m off to Vancouver for a week and then Mary and I are going to spend New Years on a beach in Mexico drinking margaritas with the sea turtles. We may never return.
Happy holidays. And thank you, André.
It’s Christmas in Rio!
I was both honored and terrified when Josh invited me to help him with his blog post. After all, every week I eagerly await his blog entry. It’s an (almost always) optimistic and (always) fun look at our industry. For someone like me, that is just starting down this road and is terrified and mesmerized at the same time for being in the middle of our very first show, Josh’s blog is like a little ray of preschool sunshine.
Speaking of sunshine, it’s Christmas in Rio! This means that Christmas weather is upon us…
…that we are getting out our Christmas clothes…
…and lighting the world’s largest floating Christmas tree.
It also means that, in keeping with our official Christmas tradition, it’s time for the government to announce new production funds and their last chance to change any laws this year.
If you think Canadian tax credit laws are complicated, you haven’t seen ours!
The good news is that Santa has been good to us lately. Our current president and his cabinet have had a very consistent plan for the cultural sector over the past 5 years.
If you are an old pro at this business (and most of you are), you will know that Brazil was never more than a tiny blip on your sales spreadsheet – pretty unfair for a country with almost 200 million people and almost 100 million TV sets. You will also have noticed that we have slowly started to appear more and more in markets, tradeshows and festivals.
We are now at a point where quite a few shows are in production or co-production in Brazil – some are actually in their second seasons! This includes theatrical releases, co-productions with Australia, Canada, France, UK, Japan and even service work! Most of the clean-up animation for Disney’s The Princess and the Frog was done in Brazil by HGN studios. (Congrats Haroldo! You made us proud!)
If you are the kind of producer that can sniff out money, you will have noticed by now that the smell has been fainter in the US and Europe and stronger down south.
You will also be asking the key question that every experienced producer will ask: What does a caipirinha really taste like?
You might even ask: Is this money real? Are these guys reliable? Can they deliver? Can they co-produce? What’s an Ancine? Is it contagious? (Ancine is our regulatory agency, by the way.)
The answers can be found by looking at Brazil’s producers’ association website – www.braziliantvproducers.com or by asking one of the brave producers that have ventured into this wild territory. Wild explorers like my Big Big Friend Ira Levy (Breakthrough), my mentors and eternal sources of inspiration Heather Kenyon (Starz) and Linda Simensky (if you don’t know who she is you might as well stop reading) and, of course, Josh – the uber globe trotter, all of which have take one (or many) trips down to Brazil lately.
The short answer is that yes – if you are brave, adventurous and experienced enough to know the difference between fool’s gold and the real thing, there are true opportunities in them yonder southern shores.
But beware – not all Brazilians (or Americans, or Canadians, or French) are the same. Ask for references, track records and, above all, come down for a visit!
Just to let you in on our latest secrets, the government has just (as of December 16th) approved the extremely complex PL29 law that started to regulate pay TV and new media and promises to increase the demand for independent production.
It also announced that the 4 lines of our cultural sector fund will have an extra $50 million! That’s almost 82 million reais, if you like to think in hard, solid currencies. (The USD took a 30% hit this year…)
This is money that can be used to produce (and co-produce) theatrical movies (that can be TV specials in other countries), TV series and to buy distribution rights for programs. Entries have to be in by February 10th.
Our Development Bank (BNDES) has renewed its lines of credit (ProCult) dedicated to culture and not only doubled its dollar value but decreased the already especially low (by Brazilian standards) interest rate it charges for cultural projects.
The common denominator for all this is a very focused and consistent effort in creating modern forms of helping the cultural productions. International co-productions are especially welcome and well regarded in all of these lines of credit. New treaties are being negotiated and new funds are being created.
I should end with a special note about the state of Rio. Because of the 2010 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, Rio has become the focus of a lot of new investments in infrastructure, training and production. Rio Film has announced a new film commission headed by Steve Solot (former Latin American head of their MPA for many years) and will be announcing a large production fund focused on Rio productions shortly (The Rio1 Fund).
So if you don’t have a Brazilian partner or project yet, this is a good excuse to come to Copacabana and see the world largest (3m people) and best New Year’s Eve party. And don’t get me started on Carnaval… I don’t think KidScreen would let me publish the pictures!
Written by André Breitman from 2DLab while on his annual pre-New Year’s diet. Any mistaques are due to semi-starvation.