‘Vinicius’ leads digital surge at Rio

Format a boon for cost-conscious indie film industry

“Vinicius,” Miguel Faria Jr.’s docu about Brazilian musical legend Vinicius de Moraes that opened the Rio Film Festival on Sept. 22, marked the quantum leap the digital format has made in the festival and the rest of the country.

Of the 1,002 pics in the fest, 211 are in digital, more than double last year’s 98.

In 2003, when digital distribution company Rain Networks launched its tech at the fest, only seven pics were projected on two screens. This year, 30 will unspool on eight screens.

Going digital has been a boon for the cost-conscious independent film industry. 

Brazil’s arthouse circuit, which accounts for 7% of the country’s total screens, has been keen to avoid the high cost per subtitled print, which can rise up to $5,000.

“We now have 90 screens in 24 arthouses in Brazil, in seven cities,” said Rain Networks chief operating officer Fabio Lima.

Company intends to have 120 screens by the end of the year. 

Brazil has been at the vanguard of the digital revolution; distribution via satellite makes sense in such a vast country. 

It has been a blessing for the local biz, which struggles for screen space against Hollywood blockbusters.

In 15 months, Brazilian distribs released 57 movies in digital format, of which 23 were homegrown.

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