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Rio de Janeiro Looks to Grow Cash Rebate

Rio de Janeiro city authorities are looking to increase Rio’s cash rebate for international shoots launched last October by city org RioFilme with a 35% deduction rate on expenditure and R$15 million ($3.0 million) in total funding.

“We have on the table a proposal to double that,” Marcelo Calero, Rio de Janeiro city secretary of culture told Variety at Cannes. That 100% hike would be subject to the “approval chain that we have to follow at the city hall,” he added.

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A decision may be made by June when RioFilme is set to issue the call for applications for a second year of the cash rebate.

An increase would build on a first year of operations which Calero rated a “tremendous success,” he said, noting a specific increase in both the number of shoots in Rio and days spent filming there.

Total shoot days last year in Rio stood at above 7,000, which compares to around the same figure for Madrid and 10,800 for Paris. “It was very symbolic that Rio de Janeiro rated after the rebate with some of the most skilled cities in the world,” Calero noted.

The rebate takes in films, TV and web series, documentaries, shorts, commercials and animation. If Rio is written into works’ screenplays, the rebate can be higher, said Calero.

Such is the lure of Rio that it has attracted large shoots without any rebate. Titles take in “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” “Fast Five” in 2011 and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.”

Shoots coming from the rest of Brazil can access the rebate. Of 14 titles, mostly TV shows, which tapped the rebate last year, 10 had international partners such as Amazon’s Prime Video, Disney+, Netflix and Paramount+.

Recipients of the R$15 million ($3.0 million) rebate generated about R$67 million ($13.6 million) spend in Rio, “which is the figure I like most,” Calero told Variety.

“We have a strong cinema tradition in Rio. Local production structures are highly consolidated,” said Calero.

“Rio’s population is used to shoots,” he added. “If you want to shoot on Copacabana on a Sunday, Cariocas are completely O.K. with that. They’re very proud at Rio being used as a location.”Multiple communications companies are headquartered in Rio, led by Globo, Latin America’s biggest media company, Calero pointed. Netflix’s Brazilian operation is based in São Paulo, Amazon’s Prime Video in Rio de Janeiro, he observed.

Calero spoke to Variety after a highly bullish presentation on Thursday at Cannes Marché du Film, New Perspectives and Opportunities for Film in Brazil, hosted by São Paulo’s Spcine. Taking the stage was an extraordinary alliance of key institutions – Brazil’s Ministry of Culture, Apex, Ancine, Spcine and RioFilme and Cinema do Brazil. They look set, marshalled by Brazil’s Audiovisual Secretary Joelma Gonzaga, to drive a new renaissance of film and TV in Brazil, as it emerges as Latin America’s film-TV powerhouse.

Marcelo Calero
Marcelo Calero

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