São Paulo Launches Third Cash Rebate Edition

Brazil’s Spcine, the city of São Paulo’s film-TV body, is launching the third edition of its cash rebate program, which prioritizes international projects looking to shoot in the vibrant city and state.

Municipal support for the program has already been renewed, now totalling US$ 3.8 million, while negotiations with the state of São Paulo are still ongoing, said Luiz Toledo, Spcine director of investments and strategic partnerships.

The incentive program, which offers 20%-30% cash rebates to international films and TV shows – whether fiction, non-fiction, XR or animation – stipulates a minimum investment of $2 million in the territory and a cap per project of $3 million. Additional bonus percentages are provided to projects that embrace diversity.

“We are beginning to reap tangible results since we launched in 2019,” Toledo noted, estimating that São Paulo has attracted an average of 1,000 projects a year – encompassing films, series, ads and video clips – which invested a combined $404 million in the city and state between 2019 and 2023. “We spent $800,000 to participate in 19 international events last year and estimate that this generated business valued at $366 million,” he added. 

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The previous round of the Cash Rebate Program, launched in December 2022 and amounting to $7.7 million (50% sourced from São Paulo City Hall, 50% from São Paulo state), benefited four projects, which invested a combined $12.7 million in São Paulo, generating 4,200 direct and 16,300 indirect jobs. In return, they shaved off $3 million from their expenditures. 

After Brazilian film-TV agency Ancine froze new incentives in 2019, Spcine was a beacon of hope that continued to provide support to hundreds of projects. “We were the only public film entity that continued to invest in projects, backing as many as 700,” says Toledo.

Three projects, the latter two backed by Spcine, are heading to Cannes: “Motel Destino” by Karim Ainouz, which is in main competition; “Baby” by Marcelo Caetano in Critics’ Week and André Hayato’s “Amarela” in the short film competition.

Since 2019, Spcine has integrated affirmative action policies into funding bids and training programs. In June 2023, it founded the Affirmative Network, comprising some 200 professionals who are part of underrepresented groups in Brazil: Black, Indigenous, women, transgender and individuals with disabilities. “This network serves as a vital platform for supporting these professionals in honing their skills, unlocking their creative potential and accessing international opportunities,” said Spcine president Lyara Oliveira.

Spcine also aims to cultivate bilateral collaborations with other nations. “We are strengthening existing relationships in established markets like North America and Europe while also forging new ties and aligning with emerging economic trends,” Oliveira points out.

Spcine, alongside the Colombia and Panama Film Commissions, leads a regional effort to boost visibility for Latin American film commissions, aligning with a post-pandemic resurgence in box office revenues across Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia. 

“As part of this effort, we have joined the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Film Commissions and are in the process of finalizing a Memo of Understanding for the São Paulo-South Africa Incentive for African Diaspora projects,” Oliveira says. 

This initiative, supported by a $40,000 fund split evenly between South Africa and São Paulo, will involve a call for applications. Four projects will be chosen: Two from South Africa and two from São Paulo.

“Our presence at Cannes is not merely symbolic; it underscores our commitment to promoting our Cash Rebate program and elevating the visibility of select films participating in this year’s edition,” says Oliveira.

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