The Buenos Aires Ministry of Culture announced on Thursday the 12 film projects selected for its BA International Production program, a 20% cash rebate incentive for audiovisual projects associated with foreign production companies.
The program is carried out through the Buenos Aires Film Commission, the City’s agency in charge of promoting Buenos Aires as a filming location.
The 12 projects are the series El Eternauta (K&S Films), What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding (Non Stop, based on Kristin Newman’s best seller), El periodista (Pampa Films), Tatuada (Kapow) and Sé tú misma (FAM Contenidos), and the films El Jockey (directed by Luis Ortega and produced by REI Cine), The Martyrs (GM Comunicación), Jaque Mate (Patagonik); El olor a pasto recién cortado (Tresmilmundos Cine); Descansar en paz (Kenya Films); Elena sabe (produced by Haddock Films and directed by Anahí Berneri), and Operación relleno (Habitación 1520)
These projects are associated with international partners such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Wanda Pictures, Infinity Hill, Hop Skip & Jump Productions, Gloriamundi Producciones and Buena Vista International.
“This is a huge goal for the City”, said Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta. “First, in terms of promoting Buenos Aires abroad. Secondly, because it creates lots of jobs. This is an industry that creates a lot of added value, with good wages, which is what you want for your country and your city. And, as I hear when I talk to you, in an industry with a very positive differential in terms of human capital,” he added.
Culture Minister Enrique Avogadro mentioned the long history of the audiovisual industry in Argentina. “Only a few years after the Lumiere brothers, Argentina was already developing its film industry,” he said. “The sector is key for our culture, development, and job creation. These projects will create around 1,500 jobs.”
Although the program’s fine print establishes a relatively low cap of 75 million pesos (US$ 370,000 at the current official rate) for each project, some producers say that while the figure is not life-saving, it does help solve certain problems.
“The fact that we’re starting to have cash rebate programs and these kinds of incentives are very positive for national audiovisual production as they attract more jobs, services, investments from distributors and platforms,” said Vanessa Ragone, producer at Haddock and head of the Argentine Chamber of the Film Industry.
“It’s also valuable that the audiovisual activity is seen as an industrial activity as well as a cultural one, and therefore is eligible to obtain industrial incentive such as this cash rebate,” she added.
“The first thing a Hollywood studio, a platform, or an international producer asks is whether the location offers some kind of fiscal benefit. And they go where those benefits are,” says producer Axel Kuschvatzky, whose US-based company Infinity Hill is behind two of the selected projects.
“The fact that Buenos Aires, and Argentina, didn’t have that until now was a problem in order to sell their production capacity abroad. So, you definitely need something like this, because otherwise you’re not even part of the conversation. That’s even more important than the existing cap on the cash rebate. Once the program starts to show its effectiveness, surely we’re going to start discussing other figures,” he added.