Uruguay, the country where Reeves, Meirelles or Mann filmed, is in the spotlight at Cannes

Agencia EFE and the U.S. weekly Variety highlighted Uruguay's participation in the prestigious festival and highlighted the advantages the country offers for filmmaking.
Publication date: 24/06/2020

Keanu Reeves was the latest name on a glittering list of directors and producers who chose Uruguay as the setting for their creations, where directors such as Fernando Meirelles and Micahel Mann also filmed. Starting this Monday, the country is in the spotlight at the Marché du Film in Cannes, France. 

In 2019, the protagonist of "The Matrix" or "Speed" transformed one of the most important squares in Montevideo to host the action of his series "Conquest". Before him, the director of "Cidade de Deus" set some scenes of "Blindness" (2008) in the Old City of the Uruguayan capital and Mann shot the film version of "Miami Vice" (2006) in the coastal town of Atlántida.

This industry is on the rise in the South American country. Tax benefits, highly trained personnel, quick management of state permits and authorizations, short distances and state-of-the-art equipment for filming are some of the strengths of Uruguay, one of the five countries focused on the "Producers Network" of the Cannes distribution and business market, which this year is being held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uruguayan benefits

The deduction of VAT and the 50% exoneration on location fees for co-productions are two benefits of the South American country. To this must be added the diversity of options for filming in a territory with more than 1,000 kilometers of coast, a great variety of beaches, desert dunes and extensive rural areas.

"Uruguay has several benefits such as its security situation in relation to other Latin American countries," explains producer Agustina Chiarino, who adds that the country is " more and more improved" in terms of human resources. 

"We have people who specialize in any area that is being requested," says the producer of Mutante Cine. 

Moreover, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Uruguay may also have become the first country to return to the set thanks to a health and safety plan drawn up by various players in the audiovisual industry. 

At the same time, the South American country will have an audiovisual free zone, which will begin to be built this year in the coastal city of Punta del Este. There, several companies will sell services to productions coming from abroad with film, television and advertising projects. 

Cannes: an opportunity

Due to the changes generated in the world by the new coronavirus, the 2020 edition of the Marché du Film in Cannes, a meeting of great reference in the film industry, will take place virtually until Friday 26th. However, it is a great opportunity for Uruguay to show the world all it can give when it comes to turning on the cameras.

"Cannes is an absolute world reference, it's a reference for quality cinema," says producer Esteban Schroeder of La Suma, who will participate in what he considers a "privileged showcase", even if it's only virtual. 

"It's a big event that's now happening in a digital mode. Although this is happening because of the very particular circumstances we are experiencing due to the COVID and so on, everything indicates that this modality is going to continue in the future. Perhaps, we will be able to combine face-to-face events with this remote modality, which also has its advantages", he says.

In the same vein, Mariana Secco, president of the Association of Producers and Directors of Uruguayan Cinema, says that participating in the meeting is "a pride, a challenge and an opportunity".

For producer Pancho Magnou, from Montelona, the fact that Uruguay is participating as one of the five countries in focus of the event is not only a "very important" step, but also a "recognition to all the work of many years". 

"We're very grateful to participate. It is a unique opportunity for the industry to enter into dialogue with colleagues from all over the world in a top level market presenting projects in development or post-production", he concludes. 

(EFE - Santiago Carbone).

A country that loves to tell stories 

Regarding Uruguay's participation in the Marché du Film, the U.S. weekly Variety -specialized in the world of the seventh art- made an extensive review of the film projects presented by the five participating Uruguayan companies: Tarkiofilm, Cimarrón, Montelona, Nadador and Salado. 

Pablo Stoll's "Summer Hit", Joaquín Peñagaricano's "Las Rojas" and Pablo Abdala's "Mateína" were just some of the productions presented by Uruguay at the festival's Producers' Network, and about which Variety spared no words of praise.

Uruguay shows "maturity in its cinema, backed by a great diversity of formats, genres and styles, and the high creative and technical level of its professionals," said ICAU director Roberto Blatt in a dialogue with the prestigious weekly. 

Likewise, in another publication on June 22nd, Variety referred to the set of benefits that the country offers to those who decide to film in its various locations and highlighted the current administration as "a film-friendly government". 

In addition to highlighting its policy of tax rebates and incentives for foreign productions, the publication highlighted Uruguay's successful strategy to combat the coronavirus and noted its positive effects on the local film industry. 

"Swift and efficient health and safety protocols implemented by the government has allowed productions to resume in Uruguay as the number of cases have been minimal in this progressive South American nation of nearly 3.5 million."

Thanks to the originality and professionalism of its creators, Uruguay is today making headlines in the seventh art world and shining at one of the most important events in the industry. With its varied locations, the country is the perfect set to recreate all the times and places imagined. Chosen by renowned artists and producers, Uruguay is ready to display the best of its cinema and to show the world the advantages of filming in a country full of fiction and that loves to tell stories.

To access Variety's note on Uruguay's participation in the Marché du Film 2020, click here

To access Variety's note on the advantages of filming in Uruguay, click here