PFC suspends its activity

     The crisis of 2007 had placed Portugal on the edge of a financial bailout, when a group of independent filmmakers decided to make available its know-how in promoting national attributes, aiming to capture cinematographic/audiovisual projects and help to develop the audiovisual sector and to induce direct and / or indirect benefits in favor of the Country.

     And ACVA, a non-profit association was born, as mentor of the project "Why Portugal?" which proposes to fill a long-standing gap, one Film Commission to promote the Portuguese assets overseas, and internally to raise awareness of all who identify with this goal.

     At the time, the most heard word was ... austerity, support funds were residual ...the country's potential for this market was almost unknown, and bureaucracy was abundant (2 weeks to get a shooting permit for example)... meaning, too many obstacles ahead!

     The project was sent to various entities (ICA, AICEP, Turismo de Portugal, etc.), collecting unanimous praise and success wishes for his absolute necessity, but without getting any direct support, especially in the financial plan.

     In late 2010, ICA recognizes merit to the ACVA’s project, and gives it institutional support, which leads to the subsequent declaration of cultural interest of the Ministry of Culture, crucial for ACVA to create the Portugal Film Commission, and start the activity by responding to information requests received at the ICA and immediately forwarded to the PFC.

     Without any state financial support, using only graceful and willful contributions of its members, PFC promoted actively and positively the national skills, contributed to the change of mindset and paradigm that opened the Portugal a new market niche, and induced promotional synergies for the country with inevitable consequences in the current tourist boom.

Briefly, here is a brief overview of the PFC activity:

» Fast and accurate (free) responses to all requests. (About 900, from around the world and various types of productions, mostly documentaries (28.5%))

» Website appears at the top of surveys of the major search engines (Visitors from 112 countries + 35 US states and 7 provinces of Canada)

» About 2.5 million euros raised through the projects, as a direct benefit for the national economy. (The actual value should be higher, once not all productions mention their budget)

» More than 1/3 of the achieved production allowed also indirect benefits  via the promotion of the country with repercussions on tourism growth. (Amount impossible to estimate)

» Planning and follow-up visits with external producers. (Confidential on request)

» Planning of a Fam-Tour to the country, with invited Location Managers linked to the main American studios. (Not carried out for lack of funds)

» Invitation sent (and accepted) to a world-renowned cinematic personality to be the PFC's international ambassador. (On hold, awaiting a disclosure opportunity).

» One-off partnerships with the National Tourism Board and Regional Tourism Associations aiming to capture projects with tourism promotional potential. (some with excellent audience numbers in main source countries of visitors to Portugal).

» Elaboration with the Film Commissions of Algarve and Porto of a Strategic Plan (2012) which indicated a plan of action, provided a broad debate to various guardianships and suggested the creation of tax incentives for example. This plan was handed over to the state secretariats of culture and tourism  as well as to members of the parliamentary committee on culture. It may have worked as an embryo for the changes introduced in the area.

» Several sensitization meetings with multiple entities around the country.

     Despite the hard task in a permanent adverse economic scenario, ACVA is proud of the results obtained with the PFC, only regretting the not executed projects due to lack of support from other entities, which could not proceed exclusively with its own resources

     After eight years, Portugal has evolved significantly in the targeted promotion for the audiovisual and is now a much more Film Friendly place, while taking hit the top of the tourist preferences.

     Whether recognized or not, we know that the PFC activity contributed greatly to the evolution of the country in both areas, and this is what leads us to believe that we have fulfilled the proposed mission.

     The constant political changes in these eight years (3 Republic Governments, 7 ministers of the Culture and 3 ICA directions) eventually weaken the pre-existing institutional link and lead to a gradual removal of the debate on the future of the activity.

     Being the intention of the current government to create an official Film Commission, ACVA decided to suspend the PFC’s activity (for an indefinite period)  in the end of 2018, this to avoid possible misunderstandings between the entities, for the sake of national interest.

     We can not proceed to this suspension without sincerely thanking everyone who has believed in our project, those who collaborated with him, those who entrusted us with their projects for support and those who benefited from our services in favor of their productions.

To all our thanks, and best wishes for the future

Sérgio Monteiro Carlos

President of Direction of ACVA

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