Uruguay a Good Place for Filmmakers and Feature Film Productions? Interview with Pepi Gonçalvez

The media - and feature films especially - influence how we perceive countries, how we imagine them to be, especially if we haven't had the chance to visit or experience them ourselves. Apart from "hard" factors such as tax incentives or legal frameworks, a country's ability to attract visitors, talented professionals or businesses and funding therefore depends on its creative potential and - as Robert Govers illustrates so well in his latest book - on the ability to be imaginative as community.

During our visit of Uruguay we had the opportunity to meet some of the country's pioneering filmmakers - among them Pepi Gonçalvez.

Co-founder of The Producers Meeting at the International José Ignacio film festival, Pepi in this interview shares her thoughts on Uruguay's attractiveness for filmmakers and feature film productions.

Pepi, you are the CEO of Motor Films, co-founder of Este Audiovisual and also co-founder of The Procers Meeting at the International Jose Ignacio Film Festival. Do you remember what triggered your interest in film and the cultural industries?

I was born into a family of artists who love cinema. My father is a teacher, painter, writer and a cultural activist. My mother is a sculptor and teacher. Inés, my sister is a visual artist, art director and teacher. I saw "Solaris" by Tarkovsky when I went to school. I chose to study film production in Brazil, inspired by a group of students from Rio de Janeiro who breathed cinema. It was a trip that changed my life.

Looking back now, has your perception of the film production business changed over the years – in Uruguay or internationally?

Our industry reinvents itself every day. There are technological changes, greater access to the Internet, new formats and forms of consumption. Social media open new business opportunities all the time.

It is necessary, as a country with a strong cultural tradition, to develop a versatile audiovisual industry that allows us to export content to the rest of the world.

We are in a good moment now to advance the film business: be more competitive in costs, invest in the international marketing of Uruguayan cinema, strengthen the development of quality products for export, and add creative value.

In Punta del Este we founded Este Audiovisual and The Producers Meeting with the José Ignacio International Film Festival because we live in a perfect place to do business. We want our event to be a reference for the regional and international audiovisual industry for the next thirty years.

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Florian Kaefer

Founder and editor of The Place Brand Observer. Loves Nature and discovering the world - one place at a time. Believes in the power of storytelling to connect people, to spread ideas and to make this world a better place for all. Founder of the Sustainability Leaders Project.