By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This Friday and Saturday, November 9th-10th, are the final two days of the ‘RioMarket’ film industry festival, featuring many roundtables, discussions, and workshops, including a seminar with long-time expatriate Steve Solot at 3:30 PM today.
Solot will lead a discussion on ‘the role of film commissions in the audiovisual production chain, especially in relation to the new REBRAFIC (Brazilian Film Commission Network), of which he is an executive director, as well as the need for more incentives for international investment.
In his new position, Solot is keen to explain the challenges and opportunities for the Brazilian film industry in the coming years, “In addition to an incentive for international productions to make the country internationally competitive, Brazil urgently needs to accelerate its program for training of film commissions.”
“The good news is that the Ministry of Culture and the National Film Agency (Ancine) have finally created a systematic process to begin to create an incentive and film commission development through a Working Group in the Superior Cinema Council.” He continues.
Solot adds, “The Brazilian Film Commission Network – REBRAFIC has provided ample technical, detailed information on incentive and training policies around the world to the Working Group with the hope that programs may be put into place early next year. These will be the principal topics discussed in the panel in the RioMarket which I proposed.”
“The trends over the last two years have not been positive for the traditional sectors of the audiovisual industry. After eight years of continued growth in cinema admissions (tickets sold), in 2017 the market was finally impacted by the economic recession and institutional crises.”
This downturn has also affected the once booming Pay-TV market. “The Pay-TV market declined from approximately 20 million subscribers to 18 million, and continued to fall to 17.7 million in September, attributed primarily to ‘cord-cutting’ i.e. canceling Pay-TV services and moving to video-on-demand streaming services such as Netflix and NET Now.”
However, as technologies change and develop, new opportunities open up, Solot explains. “Meanwhile, streaming services continue to expand. At present, the Ministry of Culture and Ancine are leading a heated debate within the national Superior Council of Cinema (CSC) on options for regulation for these services including taxation, possible national content quotas and incentives for international services.”
Solot also released an eBook back in 2016 ‘The Expanding Brazilian Film, Television and Digital Industry/Cinema, televisão e mídia digital no Brasil: uma indústria em expansão’ which aimed to inform the foreign investor on the changing landscape of the audiovisual industry in Brazil.
When asked about what has changed since the book’s release, Solot responds, “International investment in co-production of feature films and other formats in Brazil continues to be limited. Although there is a vast system of incentives, they apply almost exclusively to Brazilian content, and may only be accessed by international investors and producers through partnerships with Brazilian producers.”
“Brazil is the only major country in the region without an incentive for international producers such as those in place in Colombia (forty percent), Chile (thirty percent) Mexico (17.5 percent) Argentina (US$2.6 million incentive fund), or Panama (fifteen percent).” He concludes, ensuring that this is also something he will be addressing at today’s seminar.