Rio Film Fest: City Pours New Funds Into Audiovisual Industry

Courtesy of Rio Film Festival

Rio's investment agency RioFilme announced five new incentives at RioMarket.

Rio de Janeiro’s audiovisual investment agency RioFilme — the second-largest film funder in the country — announced on Wednesday a new series of incentive channels for film, TV, and web content production, digitalization of theaters, and training.

The announcement was made by the city's Secretary of Culture and RioFilme president Sergio Sa Leitao at the Rio Film Fest's industry sidebar RioMarket, where he detailed the new incentives that add to the existing funding, which has poured $9 million (23.44 million reals) this year alone on the industry, and $58 million in the last four years, making Rio the top Brazilian city in terms of film and TV production.

Brazil's booming film production was recently acknowledged by the Locarno Film Festival's Carte Blanche section, featuring the latest from the country's top directors. 

“Our aim is clear, we want to establish Rio as a favorable place for the development of the audiovisual industry while also getting the sector to contribute more and more to the development of the country,” said Sa Leitao, who championed the empowering of RioFilme’s capability since 2009, going from an executed budget in 2008 of $400,000 for 21 projects, to $17 M distributed to 117 projects this year.

The new annual incentives add an extra $4 M package, to be distributed between a total of 47 audiovisual projects.

Fifteen feature-length film projects will be able to apply for production and postproduction incentives of $400,000 and $200,000 (respectively), while a total of $260,000 will be spread among 11 short-film projects of up to 25 minutes in length.

A $1.2 million fund for TV projects will be granted to six shows at $200,000 apiece, while 10 web series will be able to apply for a $40,000 prize. Also, a new RioFilme partnership with YouTube will allow the next 100 projects in line that didn’t get the prize to attend training courses on web content development at the local YouTube HQ. Felipe Braga's Latitudes, starring Alice Braga, was the first regional transmedia project to open on the online video platform. 

As 35 mm prints will no longer be distributed in Brazil starting in 2015, a first grant of $80,000 will be issued to five independent theaters in Rio to fund new digital projectors, screens and sound equipment, as smaller cinemas, Sa Leitao said, objectively can’t afford the costs of renewal in time.

The country’s general shortage of theaters was in fact red-flagged in a recent study by the Latin American branch of the MPA, presented at the RioMarket on Tuesday. The issue, Sa Leitao said, transcends Rio de Janeiro. “There are more than 200 theaters in trouble all over Brazil,” he noted.

The Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival ends Oct. 8.