Q&A with Alibi Film Production Services' Ricardo Almeida and Sofia Fonesca

"It takes time to get all the people involved to fall in love with a story"

By Sponsored Content 23 Jan 2024

Portugal based Alibi Film Production is a service company with its headquarters in sunny Lisbon. Its goal is to provide a complete high quality production service offering, combining everything Portugal has to offer with creative solutions for each individual project. Alibi owner Ricardo Almeida and Sofia Fonesca explain what sets them apart as a full service production company and the productions they are working on right now.

What international projects have you been working on recently and coming up?

Together with our sister company AGFilms we have been working on very nice international projects. We began the year of 2023 producing a very famous Canadian TV series - Pinch of Portugal. Besides that we have been doing commercials mostly for Canada, Germany, England and Belgium.

Which filming locations are proving popular at the moment and why?

Since years that Lisbon and Sintra are the most chosen ones because of its diversity. In Lisbon you have the old part of the town right next to the new and modern part, 30 minutes away you have the most beautiful beaches and in one hour you can be at the mountains. In Sintra you will find the mystery of its roads full of green and old trees and you have the castles and beautiful palaces.

Porto and Algarve are also very popular - Algarve because of the good weather and wonderful beaches while Porto has a great and different architecture from Lisbon, it reminds us of cities like Paris or Vienna. 

Have there been any new/recent developments with local studios, financial incentives, infrastructure etc, and what are the benefits of those changes for people who want to work with Alibi?

The financial incentives from ICA have increased this year. For 2024 a boost of a few millions will be available. Shooting on other cities apart from Porto and Lisbon have interesting incentives and amazing locations to explore.

What should international producers know about filming in Portugal? 

Good question! The more time we have and the more defined the idea is the better.

For example, for a special location with several entities involved to get the permit — like a natural protected park, a government facility or an old power plant shut down for years — it takes time to get all the people involved to fall in love with the story [so that they will issue the permits].

What is the most challenging element of a production that you have been part of, and how do you overcome those challenges?

There are many of course, but recently it happened that on the day before shooting a car commercial we suddenly heard about a rally on the roads on which we were supposed to shoot. The production team was not aware of this event and we did everything that we could to shoot there. We managed to coordinate our shooting with the end of the rally, but it was a very stressful day indeed.

What are the biggest differences between the types of shoots that Alibi work on?

At Alibi we do every kind of project, from the mini-docs style to the stop motion and big TV commercials or TV series. 

Time and money are the biggest differences. Producing a stop motion takes us a few months with a super small crew and very low incentives for the time we need to work on it and the salaries we need to pay. For a big TV commercial we have sometimes only 2 or 3 weeks to produce it, but usually with the right budget. 

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