José Ignacio International Film Festival brings together film industry representatives

During the fourteenth edition of the José Ignacio International Film Festival, Uruguay XXI and ACAU lead a presentation on the benefits the country provides for foreign productions.
Publication date: 23/01/2023

The fourteenth edition of the José Ignacio International Film Festival (JIIFF) was held, offering a unique cinematographic experience with the premieres of six international feature-length films and seven Uruguayan short films.

As in past editions, Uruguay XXI supported the initiative with the goal of promoting the development of Uruguay as a production hub, taking full advantage of a festival that brings together international producers and leaders in the field in a privileged location of the country to appreciate the natural beauty and strategic advantages of filming in Uruguay. Furthermore, the festival includes a market that seeks to encourage possibilities for international coproductions.

In this context, the executive director of Uruguay XXI, Sebastián Risso, delivered a presentation titled “Film In & With Uruguay,” in which he stressed that filming in Uruguay is an efficient and attractive option for international productions.

Risso emphasized that Uruguay is a trustworthy and safe country, with economic, political, and social stability that stands out in international rankings for its solid democracy, low perception of corruption, defense of civil liberties, pleasant lifestyle, and level of technological and digital development – in addition to the significant incentives and facilitated processes the country offers the film industry.

“Few destinations are as versatile and offer such a variety of filming locations at a distance no greater than 600 kilometers. Beaches, prairies, rural areas, modern cities, and distinctive Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings are chosen by demanding international productions to recreate the most diverse places on Earth,” he stressed during his presentation.

The country’s favorable natural setting, in addition to the incentives it offers, allowed for significant international services to be provided to companies like Disney, Amazon Studios, HBO, and Netflix, among others.

In 2022, Uruguay also co-produced 48 feature-length films and documentaries, of which 56% were Argentine co-productions, 14% with Brazil, 13% with other countries in Latin America such as Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Panama, and Mexico, 3% with the United States, and 14% with European countries such as Spain, France, Italy, Germany, and Portugal.

Risso’s presentation also highlighted some of the other advantages Uruguay offers the film industry, such as the population’s noticeable European ancestry – enriched by continuous migrations to satisfy all sorts of casting needs – highways without gridlock, nearby locations, experienced technicians, and cutting-edge equipment.

Risso mentioned that Uruguay seeks to consolidate its role as a regional audiovisual hub, having taken several significant steps in that direction. He reminded the audience that the country has provided audiovisual production services for over 30 years, a history that has allowed for the development of highly-specialized companies and professionals capable of fulfilling the most sophisticated filming and post-production needs. On the other hand, award-winning Uruguayan cinema is the calling card for a mature and world-class film industry.

Over the last decade, thanks to strategic investments in connectivity that placed Uruguay at the top of ranking for Internet penetration, ICT adoption, and the percentage of companies connected by fiber optic cables, the country has become a leader in the Latin American digital ecosystem.

In Uruguay, the audiovisual sector enjoys certain specific benefits, such as production services for foreign companies being exempt from VAT and eligible for cash rebates of up to 25%.

The festival also served to introduce Uruguay’s new Film and Audiovisual Agency (ACAU), a modern, strategic agency lead by Facundo Ponce de León, designed to boost a local film industry in constant grow.