Brazil builds ‘film embassy’ in Cannes

Gov't-backed org will launch at fest

RIO DE JANEIRO — Government-backed Cinema do Brasil (Cinema of Brazil), which aims to boost the country’s international film deals, will launch at this year’s Cannes Fest.

Cinema do Brasil — designed and operated by the Sao Paulo Cinema Industry Assn. (Sicesp) — will occupy a stand in the market along with Brazilian producers and distributors.

It will also hold screenings of recent Brazilian pics, such as Daniel Filho’s “Se eu fosse voce” (If I Were You), the second-largest box office earner in Brazil this year, and Joao Falcao’s “The Machine.”

Sicesp president Andre Sturm, who is the general director of Cinema do Brasil, says the org has three main goals: sell the rights of local pics abroad, seek international co-production deals for Brazilian producers, and sell the country as a filming location with a wellspring of production services.

“We will be providing information useful for business deals, and we will be referring executives to other companies in Cannes,” Sturm tells Variety. “It will be a sort of Brazilian film embassy in Cannes.”

He says Cinema do Brasil will have a different role than Grupo Novo de Cinema e TV (GNCTV), which for years attended the leading film markets. Whereas GNCTV was a direct agent of Brazilian pics, Cinema do Brasil will refer buyers to companies that distribute the pics.

GNCTV significantly reduced its international sales operation, as government export agency Apex transferred its funding from the company to Sicesp. GNCTV will continue to act as a production company in Brazil.

According to Sturm, Apex annually grants Sicesp with 4.5 million reals ($2.1 million) for Cinema do Brasil, which represents 50% of the project’s budget. Sicesp raised the remaining 50% with the Ministry of Culture and private partners.

Sturm says Cinema do Brasil’s goal is to generate businesses amounting to $4 million in its initial year of operation.

In addition to Cannes, Cinema do Brasil will attend the Venice, Berlin, Toronto, San Sebastian and Rotterdam fests as well as the Brazilian Film Festival of Miami in June. It will also be present at the Rio Film Fest in September, to which foreign film execs will be invited.

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