The Symbiotic Relationship between the Audiovisual Producer and the Film Commission

The most significant demonstration of the relationship of film commissions (FC’s) with audiovisual content producers in Latin America was the importance dedicated to the subject in the recent EGEDA-FIPCA Iberoamerican Audiovisual Forum in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic in November, which gathered together the leading players of the Iberoamerican audiovisual industry to debate and plan industry positions regarding the challenges faced in the region.  In the panel, “The Contribution of Film Commissions to the development of the Film Industry,” moderated by Gonzalo Elvira, President of the Mexican Producers Association, in addition to Steve Solot and representatives of FC’s from Spain, Mexico and other countries, the panelists explained how FC’s can act as strategic agents for the sustainable development of the audiovisual sector.  The Forum was organized by EGEDA, the Collective Management Entity for Audiovisual Producer Rights and by FIPCA, the Iberoamerican Film and Audiovisual Producer Federation, two of the most representative entities in the region.

During the month of December, at the Ventana Sur audiovisual market in Buenos Aires, one of the most important in the region, the Latin American Film Commission Network-LAFCN sponsored a “Film Commission Workshop” to provide technical orientation to authorities, public officials and the general public on the objectives, operations, benefits and legal format of film commissions, not only for those already established, but also for those in development and those to be created. The event, conducted by the Latin American Training Center-LATC, was jointly hosted by the National Institute of Film and Audiovisual Arts of Argentina (INCAA).  The conference by the well-known Argentine Producer, Diego Corsini, General Director of Cineworld SRL, emphasized the symbiotic relationship between the audiovisual content producer (film, TV series, documentaries, commercials, etc.) and FC’s.

The film Commission “fever” continues to spread in Brazil. In 2008 there were 19 operational film commissions striving to attract international audiovisual productions and to position Brazil as a competitive provider of locations in the global entertainment market. Today, according to the Brazilian Film Commission Network – REBRAFIC, there are 26 film commissions spread throughout the country, including 10 formally established and 16 in development.

Audiovisual productions generate numerous benefits at various levels, which accrue to a region, including the direct benefits from the film shoot, indirect benefits such as equipment rentals, hotels, catering, etc., and the so-called “induced” benefits, such as the purchases derived from salaries of workers involved in the film productions.  There are also benefits to the region in terms of national and international visibility in the films and TV series.  However, beside the positive economic impact and job creation in the region, the primary beneficiaries are the producers of audiovisual content.

The producer has many reasons to maintain a close relationship with FC’s; first, because the film commission provides the logistic, as well as political support for the productions the producer is shooting. The FC opens doors to obtain film permits to close a street, film in a national park or fly over a monument. In addition, the FC, through its website or personal contacts, assists national and international producers to identify an appropriate local producer, and thus generates opportunities to expand the producer’s activities.

It is precisely for that reason that the following principal Brazilian producer associations are all represented on the Advisory Board of REBRAFIC: the Brazilian Association of Independent TV Producers – ABPITV, Interstate Audiovisual Industry Union – SICAV, São Paulo State Audiovisual Industry Union – SIAESP, Brazilian Association of Audiovisual Works Producers – APRO, Cinema Foundation of Rio Grande do Sul-Fundacine and Cinema do Brasil.

In his article, “The Audiovisual Producer’s Best Friend,’ published in the “Brazilian Guide for Film Commissions” which is available at no charge from the REBRAFIC site www.rebrafic.net Leonardo Monteiro de Barros, the well-known producer of the Conspiração Production Company, expresses the essence of the relationship between the producer and the FC:  “Film Commissions are extremely valuable partners for audiovisual producers.  The mere presence, level of services, network of connections, facility to open doors and the human and/or financial resources that a film commission offers are important, and often decisive factors, in the decision to undertake a production or film shoot in a specific city, state or region.”

Steve Solot
Executive Director, Brazilian Film Commission Network – REBRAFIC www.rebrafic.net
President, Rio Film Commission www.riofilmcommission.com

(Translated from the original Portuguese – A simbiose entre produtor audiovisual e film commission)

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