28 de April 2020
The ties between Bogota and the best film of the SXSW 2020 festival
Colombia’s capital city, Bogota, is regarded as one of the most appealing destinations in Latin America for international-grade audiovisual projects. A more recent example of this can be found with the film, “Shithouse,” a winner at the SXSW international festival.
Although the 2020 edition of the SXSW festival was cancelled due to the Covid-19 emergency, the juries of the prestigious international event that is held every year in Austin, Texas, still selected the films that, according to them, were going to be the best films featured at the festival this year.
The film “Shithouse” was given the Narrative Feature Competition award, the most important award at the festival. Despite having been filmed in the United States, the film has its ties to the Colombian audiovisual industry, as Andrés Velásquez points out, manager of the One Thousand Birds (OTB) studio. Located in Bogota, the OTB studio led the feature film’s audio post-production.
According to Velásquez, OTB’s involvement in “Shithouse” represents the most outstanding work it has done from its studios in Bogota, the city where it started operations in February of this year. From its studios in New York and Los Angeles, the company also has experience with commercials that have been broadcasted during the Super Bowl and short films that have even been nominated for the Oscars.
Among the reasons that led OTB to establish its first studio outside the United States in Colombia’s capital city, Velásquez mentions factors such as its geographical location, easy access to different locations, and the positioning that the city has achieved in the international industry. In addition to all this, what most attracted them to Bogota, was human talent.
“Bogota’s workforce has a very good reputation; people are regarded as excellent at what they do. The human talent that can be found in Bogota and Colombia is highly trained, hardworking and eager to learn to advance in their careers,” he states.
Figures from the Ministry of Education show that between 2010 and 2016, more than half of graduates with degrees in the creative and cultural industries in Colombia came from Bogota, which according to Juan Gabriel Pérez, Executive Director of Invest in Bogota, “gives the city great potential for international audiovisual companies to operate, as with OTB.”
“The recent arrival of OTB in the country reflects the potential that the creative industries and the orange economy have to attract large international studios that see the Colombian market as the perfect opportunity to establish themselves and take advantage of what it has to offer, such as tax incentives, a diverse number of locations and highly qualified professionals, among others. These industries, which have innovation in their genes, become even more important in a crisis like this given their ability to transform and continue contributing to the development of Colombia. We will continue working to promote the growth of this sector with efficient foreign investment that creates employment and drives the development of our local talent,” says Flavia Santoro, President of ProColombia, an entity that has been supporting the growth of OTB in the country along with Invest in Bogota.
While the audiovisual industry is not immune to the impacts that Coronavirus has had during this world crisis, OTB’s future outlook in the country is positive. The company seeks to end 2020 with about 15 employees, and depending on market dynamics, it expects to double this number within three years.
Bogota is the epicenter of the nation’s audiovisual industry. According to the National Administrative Department for Statistics, DANE, figures, of the near 9,000 companies in Bogota’s creative industry business ecosystem, the main activity of 40% of them is the production, transfer and/or post-production of content for the audiovisual industry.