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By Wladimir Weltman, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO – Current buzz says it is cool to shoot in Rio. According to ANCINE, the Brazilian Government National Film Agency created to protect, promote and regulate the national film and video industry – 45 foreign production teams were cleared to shoot all over town since January 2010.

Shooting Marisa on the beach, photo provided by Wladimir Weltman.
Shooting Marisa Tomei on the beach, photo provided by Gaby Atherton.

But before foreign production companies decide to join this adventurous group of filmmakers, they should be aware of the challenges in the process.

There’s no doubt that Rio is a wonderful location, but there is some bureaucratic procedures foreigner producers have to face in order to shoot in Brazil. It is wise first to calculate if the effort is cost effective.

Gaby Atherton, a Brazilian/American producer working at Studios Brazil, a production company based in Rio, told us about her experience in working with foreign crews. She produced “Marisa Tomei’s Hidden Markets” Rio’s episode, for Travel Channel and David Emanuel’s “Shop the World” in Rio:

“The shooting itself was easy. Challenging was bringing the crew and equipment to Brazil,” Atherton said. “First the Americans had to become partners with our company, which is registered with ANCINE for the purpose of making films and TV programs. ANCINE would only deal with them through our company.”

The RFC staff at the AFCI Locations Trade Show 2010 Daniel Dreifuss, Tatiana Leite and Steve Solot
The RFC staff at the AFCI Locations Trade Show 2010 Daniel Dreifuss, Tatiana Leite and Steve Solot, photo provided by the Rio Film Commission.

Steve Solot is an American that lived in Rio for the last 25 years. For most of this time he represented the MPAA in Brazil, but now he is the President of the Rio Film Commission, an institution associated to Rio de Janeiro’s State Cultural Department.

Solot is also the President of the Latin American Training Center – LATC, an audiovisual Latin American educational institution. Steve disagrees with Atherton’s negative opinion about the process. According to him, foreign producers working in Brazil will have a good experience:

“Only the Best! It is not difficult to obtain visas for the crew. In the Rio Film Commission, we can often facilitate this process. But the procedure is simple: the local producer (a Brazilian partner) must file a petition with the Brazilian Consulate in the jurisdiction of the crew member.”

Regarding the taxes film and TV crews will have to pay, Solot guarantees they are not special ones: “Only the normal visa fee. And no visas are required for crews coming from the UK,” he says.

But it seems there are greater obstacles when it comes to authorize the entrance of equipment into the country. Atherton said it was so complicated she preferred to hire a third company:

Hidden Market's crew on the beach, photo provided by Wladimir Weltman.
Hidden Market's crew on the beach, photo provided by Gaby Atherton.

“Another producer gave me the name of this people specialized in bringing big rock bands to play in Brazil. They know everything and everybody at the Federal Police Department, the people in charge. When it comes to equipment, you are not dealing with ANCINE anymore, but with the Customs Department at the airports. Brazilian Customs Officers work for the Brazilian Department of Treasury. You don’t want to mess with these guys…”

In Atherton’s case there was a budget for the whole shooting and a separate budget just for Custom and Visa clearances. Something that increased the total cost of shooting in Rio.

The last part of the procedures has to deal with the Union’s demands; something that ANCINE also oversees (not the Union). These demands include:

a) Copies of work contracts of the Brazilian crew involved.

b) In case the Brazilian partner company will involve its own employees, and they are registered as “Film Technicians”, this registration and presentation of the work card may replace the work contract.

c) The number of Brazilian technicians to be hired for the production: for every 3 foreign technicians, one Brazilian technician must be hired in Brazil. The Brazilian company partner/owner is also considered as a Brazilian technician hired.

Looking for a deeper view of what to expect when shooting in Rio, Please see:
– ANCINE website: www.ancine.gov.br under the section: “Instruções Normativas da Ancine”.
– Rio Film Commission – Secretaria de Cultura Governo do Estado do Rio de Janeiro – Rua México, 125/13, Rio de Janeiro, RJ – Brasil, 20031-145 – website: www.riofilmcommission.rj.gov.br
– The Latin American Training Center – LATC (Centro Latinoamericano de Treinamento e Assessoria Audiovisual)Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Phone: (55-21)2247-4505 – website: www.latamtrainingcenter.com

Gaby Atherton’s ‘Studios Brazil’ contacts are: Rua Guilhermina Guinle 41/202 – Botafogo – Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22270-060, Brazil – Phone: (55-21)9268-2303 – website: www.studiosbrazil.com.br

Eleven most recently authorized foreign shootings in Rio by ANCINE:

project dates kind Brazilian company Foreign Company product country
1 02/03 – 02/13 advertising Utopia Filmes ProduçãoArtística Ltda Cherub Pictures Pty Ltd. Moccona Candles Australia
2 01/13 -02/01 advertising JKR Produções ArtísticasLtda RJ H2O Films Carnival USA
3 01/22 – 02/06 advertising Limite Produções Ltda. Plastic Pictures Ltd. Omo have a go UK
4 02/09 – 02/17 documentary Rio de CinemaProduções Culturais Red Line Films Dhani tackles the globe USA
5 02/10 – 03/26 advertising Zohar Cinema eComunicação Ltda Gorgeous Enterprises Kite UK
6 02/03 – 02/13 music video Conspiração Filmes S/A Black Dog Films Alicia Keys & Beyonce”Put in a love song” USA
7 03/08 – 03/18 advertising Ocean Produção deFilmes Ltda Stink Moving walls UK
8 02/11-  02/24 documentary Primitivo Produção deVídeo e Filmes Ltda National GeographicSociety Nat Geo´s most amazingphotos USA
9 03/01 – 03/05 documentary Aura Filme ProduçõesLtda SF Schweizer Fernsehen Nöldi Forrer in Rio deJaneiro Switzerland
10 03/12 – 03/22 advertising Ocean Produção deFilmes Ltda SC Biscuit Filmworks Big Mac world chant USA
11 03/10 – 03/30 documentary Blue EyeEmpreendimentos e

Produções Audiovisuais

National Geographic Television One wild nigths USA
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1 COMMENT

  1. Just want to comment on this article in the Rio Times, as a producer who has been bringing foreign TV commercial shoots to Rio since 2004 (www.greengofilms.com).
    While we should welcome stories about shooting in Rio and Brazil, I think that the negative experiences one company has had should not colour the reality that to shoot in Rio is normally an extremely enjoyable and hassle free experience. We find that it is always straightforward to get permits from the Prefeitura or Iphan or the Uniao, with most organs very keen to do business and to facilitate filmmaking in the city.
    Unless very specialised film equipment is required, Brazil has a very good supply of movie making gear and it is in most cases unnecessary to import equipment.
    So, rather than look at one negative experience, let’s put out the truth, that filming in Brazil is a very rewarding and enjoyable experience, both professionally and personally.

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