Brazil continues as a role model of film finance in Latin America, according to panellists during the second day of Ventana Sur (Dec 1), the fourth edition of which is underway in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

While most countries from the region struggle to raise money for their films through local incentive laws, Brazil’s industry is boosted by strong government support.

Brazilian system allows the release of at least 80 domestic features a year with reasonable budgets by Latin America standards. Selton Mello’s The Clown [pictured], which represents the country at the Oscars in the category of best foreign film, was made for $2.3m. Heitor Dhalia’s Serra Pelada, currently filming, has a budget of $4.6m.

“Thanks to the Audiovisual Law, established in 1993, and the creation of Ancine [the Brazilian government’s cinema agency] in 2001, our industry has strengthened, improving gradually the model of finance,” said Diane Maia of Fernando Meirelles’ production company O2 Filmes.

“Since 2006, we got a new option with the launch of Audiovisual Sector Fund by Ancine with investments ​​that increase every year.”

The fund is bolstered by contributions collected by market agents, especially the Contribution To The Development Of National Film Industry (CONDECINE). This is a tax levied by the placement of audiovisual works in each market segment. This year the Audiovisual Sector Fund had $95.9m available for investments in the sector and for 2013 the fund will rise to $187.3m.

“In Uruguay, only 15 domestic films were released this year, many of them co-productions, mainly with Argentina and secondly with Germany,” said producer Fernando Epstein from Uruguay. “Our incentive laws allow resources to maximum of $250,000 for a film.”

In Argentina, about 100 national films are released every year. Although the number is higher than in Brazil, local films budgeted at more than $165,000 are scarce. In Chile, where 26 domestic titles reached the screens in 2012, the average budget is $100,000.

“The fund system available in Chile is enough for a first-time director. But it doesn’t work for filmmakers who develop their second or third picture, when they crave a bigger production,” said Chilean producer Bruno Betatti.

Ventana Sur runs until Monday and will stage panels on digital media broadcast, literary adaptations and the transition to digital, among other topics.