Latin America stands out for high quality Canadian productions
Latin America stands out for high quality Canadian productions
Productions about different point of views, not necessarily the most common or most commercial, high quality, intense themes, educational, mostly documentaries, that is what Latin America has favored in their purchases of Canadian audiovisual material.
In a world where nothing seems to beat reality shows, it was gratifying for PanamericanWorld to meet with Oscar Rangel, who serves as account agent for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). So with him we explore what happens in this world, where Canada offers over 10,000 titles, produced over 75 years.
"I work directly with sales and distribution, I am responsible for accounts in different parts of the world, I cover the part of Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula , Africa, the Middle East and most of Asia except Japan" Oscar told us in a conference via Skype, we learned of this success of Canadian productions in the recent edition of NATPE in Miami, one of the main markets for buying and selling of audiovisual material in the world, he has closed important business clients such as Aljazeera, HBO, A&E, and National Geographic to name a few.
"Right now I would say that Latin America is our biggest consumer, there are groups like HBO or DLA, they are very interesting customers because they have licenses and they work with many countries, so it's better than trying to go to every country, which we do, but it helps us to have this type of customer, another region that is moving is China. For us it is an emerging market, and lately we've been working with them, they are very interested in what we are doing, there is much need for information and to connect with the outside world," notes Oscar, while explaining how the NFB is an agency that depends on the government, and has become throughout his career in the most important producer of documentaries and animated shorts from Canada, at the time emerged as a need to counter the media influence of the United States, "…It is a large weight and it was decided to create an agency that would encourage producers to take a Canadian perspective on different issues."
Indeed when we inquired what is the strength of the NFB in its star markets, documentaries and animated shorts were the winners."Latin America looks for many educational themes, many government channels care about issues we touch such as sexuality, defending minorities, linguistic, what is happening to the environment, history, a lot of that information is not addressed by the private sector.” But it is a niche that the NFB has known how to take advantage, proving that quality products has a market.
Oscar expands, "In the side of animations and animated short films it is an agency that has stood out, because it experiments with and tries different techniques. In the world of animation we are perceived as avant-garde." While in the field of documentaries they have innovated on interactivity.
Oscar also talked about the challenges of his profession, that involves traveling the world to represent Canada, which has very good perception as a country, that makes the task is easier. Right now the NFB is facing budget cuts, "The budget has declined, it was recently in the news, with various cuts and closures, making culture is a challenge in every society, Canada is no exception to that. It is a budget that, although it is not increasing, does not imply that we will not continue to produce, we have been concentrating in doing more with what we have, hence the role of sales and distribution is extremely important, because we are in all this agency the only group in charge of bringing in additional income, this somewhat compensates the cuts. "
NFB has no productions dubbed or subtitled into other languages, that means additional costs to the buyer. "It's not an impediment, but it is a challenge when it comes to selling, so we are competitive with prices."
The independence with which this agency works, and its taste for complex issues, sometimes collides with the sensitivity of some customers, it is not easy, says Oscar, one can always touch uncomfortable issues.
Although not exclusively dedicated to sports theme, they have many profiles of athletes for the upcoming Pan American Games in Toronto, 2015.
Oscar the character
The nicest thing about talking to Oscar is to point out that one of the principles that NFB promotes is the protection of minorities, the presence of a Hispanic in this strategic position is a clear demonstration of this for our interviewee, and he is proud of it "It is true, the Canadian Dream, it exists, the fact that all my efforts, all my work has allowed me to be here, I feel privileged to work in NFB, and one of the policies of this agency, and therefore the government, is to open doors to different minorities, I am an example of that, that does not mean there is no work to do in all sectors, yet as the government leads the way, the private sector should follow.”
Oscar Rangel is a Venezuelan professional, of Colombian parents, settled in Canada for over ten years. "That cultural background of the two homelands made me curious", but he had been in Canada at a very young age studying English, which opened a different world, so he returned home to make a career and prepared to emigrate to Canada as his life project.
"We have integrated well, we live in the province of Quebec, we arrived willing and with an open mind, we made sacrifices, learned the language, I think we've succeeded and we've built a family, and now the concerns are others for the children. When we arrived it was: Where are we going to live? How to dress for winter? The issue of work, etc. The famous Canadian experience they ask to every newcomer, we see that from afar now, but always valuing what we have done. Integrating, learning the language, sharing our culture with others."
And yes, for Oscar the multicultural flag of Canada is not a myth, "Our children play with Muslim children, or Brazilian, speak French, English, Spanish . The geographical location in Montreal is excellent for what we wanted, a meeting point between what is North America and Europe, many more Latin Americans are coming and are forming a major conglomerate."
He adds, " The people from Canada and Québec have much affinity with the different Latin cultures, for all the language, and there are very curious about us."
The audiovisual entertainment industry has seen him grow professionally. Oscar’s 20 years of experience focus on event production, marketing , business development and sales. The seed of an entire professional career began in Venezuela with internationally recognized television channels such as Sony, E! Entertainment and HBO. The audiovisual production allowed him to participate in pioneering projects like the Eco Challenge Race by Mark Burnett performed in several stages of New Zealand.
Back in Canada, before working for the NFB, Oscar worked with the conglomerate Corus Entertainment, with them he began the Salsa Festival in St. Clair, a recognized event that continues to show Hispanics and their culture , "It has been one of my most rewarding experiences in Canada".
Translated by Sebastian Llavaneras