Patricia Relats, Buenos Aires Film Commission
What are the benefits offered by the Film Commission or the Government?
There are many reasons to choose Buenos Aires for film shooting. The audio-visual sector has been declared an industry in the city, and has highly qualified and bilingual professionals. Buenos Aires is inhabited by several communities of different cultures, which facilitates production in terms of finding multi-ethnic talent. The city has equipment of high end technology. Production services have affordable costs.
In special cases, the Film Commission can organise location scouting, sometimes specific, sometimes exploratory, and supplier companies such as laboratories, post-production or rental houses.
What makes this destination exquisite for shooting an Indian film?
The city has a wide range of locations where tradition, heritage and modernity co-exist, and that can be easily dressed up like many other cities around the world: our slogan is ‘One place, all the places’.
Buenos Aires is all about location. The city has great diversity in architecture, and mixes different styles that make it unique. You feel like you’re in Paris sometimes, in London or New York. Buenos Aires is a large, cosmopolitan city which had lots of influences while it was being built and you can see so much of that history just by walking its streets.
We also have parks, ecological spaces, beaches near the river and more than 123 museums. So you can imagine how important cultural life is for porteños. Buenos Aires is the third-largest theatre city in the world (after New York and London), with more than 400 theatrical spaces.
Why should an Indian filmmaker choose your region to shoot?
Buenos Aires has the locations and the talent to help productions. Also, it has bilingual professionals and amazing and unique locations. You have to remember that Buenos Aires had influences from many European cities, so it is easily dressed as Paris, London or New York. (That makes it very popular for shooting commercials). You will also find that the people in Argentina are very friendly and easygoing, which always helps while shooting.
What are the tax incentives? Are there any special tax benefits for large production companies?
All the audio-visual companies addressed in Buenos Aires City, according to their billing level are framed in the category of PYME (Small and Medium Enterprises), and enjoy a special benefit related to the IIBB (municipal tax). On the other hand, companies (whether national or international) involved in the audio-visual industry and addressed in the Audio-visual District have the benefit of being free of other certain municipal taxes (IIBB, ABL and Sello) for 15 years (for national companies) or 10 years (for international companies). Currently, we have local incentives but we are developing two programmes for next year that foreign productions will find more attractive.
Can you share some anecdotes about film production in your region?
One is that for Evita, Madonna changed her costumes 85 times, entering The Guinness Book of World Records for this. All the costumes were made based on the original clothes of Eva Perón, which is in Casa Rosada. Also, a shooting permit for the balcony was given for the iconic scene of Don’t cry for me Argentina.
Oscar Winner La Historia Oficial (The Official Story) was shot in the director’s house because the military dictatorship tried to stop it. Oscar Winner El Secreto De Sus Ojos (The Secret In Their Eyes), was shot in Retiro and Tribunales, both iconic places in Buenos Aires. For the Retiro scenes, post-production made all the actual shops disappear, and it turned into the 1970s with CGI. For Tribunales, the production shot in the halls in lunch breaks and after 5 pm.
Wong Kar-Wai came to shoot Happy Together, an adaptation of The Buenos Aires Affair by Manuel Puig. When he was here, he fell in love with a bar, and improvised an entire scene just so he could use it.
Robert Duvall made Assassination Tango a tribute to the tango and Buenos Aires. He used professional dancers in a neighbourhood known for producing the best tango dancers in the Club Sin Rumbo.
Are there any other rebates that can be availed?
The tax incentives that Buenos Aires has are for local production companies. We are working on programmes that will help foreign productions in 2014.
Have any Indian films shot in your region? If so, can you name some and the assistance provided?
We have received many information requests, especially this year, but we haven’t yet had the pleasure of having an Indian production in Buenos Aires.
What is the procedure to obtain authorisation to shoot?
Filming Permits in public spaces of the city are issued through one single department (BASet), and the entire process is done online with only four working days in advance.
It’s simple and effective: only four of 187 have been denied in the first few months of 2013.
If you don’t need to shoot in public places, you will also need permits for the public place used:
• Parking of the trucks or motor homes
• Parking of electricity generator equipment, if needed
• For the general circulation cut of a street
Permits have to be worked and obtained only through a local production company. They can’t be extended to a person or company that is not addressed in Argentina.