Cinema Do Brasil to showcase country's pix, filmmakers

Brazilian cinema is poised for break out with the launch of two initiatives.

Making a Berlin bow before its official launch at Cannes, the Cinema Do Brasil is so new the ink’s not even been spilt yet. The fifty-fifty joint venture between the government, its first ever such initiative, and film industry showcases Brazilian films and filmmakers.

“We produce about fifty films a year and take fifteen percent of the local boxoffice,” prexy Andre Sturm said. “But we feel there is a need to increase co-production and circulation outside the country.”

Producer-director Toni Venturi of Olhar Imaginario said “Brazilians are pretty much closed, being far from Europe and also Portuguese-speaking. But we’re growing and maturing and want to bridge the gap between Brazil and Europe. We have to think big and in the long-term.”

Venturi is in Berlin looking for co-prod partners on his metaphysical comedy “Before Nightfall.”

Also kicking off this year is the copro treaty recently signed with Germany, allowing producers in one country to apply for coin in the other.

“You can shoot in Brazil or Germany or both,” Sturm said. “The minimum local investment is twenty percent from each country, making a total of forty. There are some compulsory minimum standards but they are very flexible. That’s also why we’re here — to talk to Germans.”

Also talking to Germans is Betina Goldman, topper of sales and production company One Eyed Films.

“We’ll always be a niche, even with hits like “City of God” and “Central Station,’ ” she said. “But we’re definitely conquering space and getting theatrical releases. We’re now working with several German distributors who are getting money from the Berlinale World Fund. They didn’t even know about it! We’re raising interest and can compete on more equal terms.”

Producer Assuncao Hernandes from Raiz Producoes Cinematografica, whose “The Hour of the Star” won a Silver Bear in 1987 and was Oscar-nominated for foreign-language film, is already reaping results.

Brazil’s major Berlinale contribution is Andrucha Waddington’s “The House of Sand” which unspools in Panorama and is repped by Fortissimo.

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