Government program to taut film exports

RIO DE JANEIRO — An ambitious Brazilian government-sponsored program aimed at promoting the nation’s pics abroad kicked off in Buenos Aires recently with a screening of Marcal Souza’s “Our Life Doesn’t Fit in an Opala Car.”

The Inffinito Festival Circuit, which also aims to stimulate international sales and co-productions, sponsors Brazilian pic fests in Buenos Aires, Madrid, Miami, Milan, Rome, New York, Vancouver, Tokyo and Barcelona.

Organizers hope the fests are seen as mini-markets for Brazilian films, with the Miami event already drawing attention as a sales event. The first Cine Fest Brazil in Buenos Aires has already attracted buyers from Argentina and other South American countries.

“I plan to buy as many features as possible,” says Raul Bravo, exec partner of Venezuelan distrib company Peliculas del Sur. “I appreciate the way Brazilian films are made, combining arthouse and entertainment characteristics.”

Inffinito Group, a private company, originally launched the fest in Miami, which will hold its 12th edition May 30-June 7. The sixth edish of the New York event takes place Aug. 10-17. The establishment of the nine-fest circuit this year was possible thanks to the sponsorship of federal government tourism agency Embratur, which is covering about 40% of the program’s 6 million reais ($ 3.6 million) budget. The company is raising the rest of the coin through the Brazil’s pic incentive systems and private sponsors.

“The next step is the creation of festivals in Sidney and Dubai,” says Adriana Dutra, co-director of Inffinito Circuit, along with Viviane Spinelli and Claudia Dutra.

All screenings are premieres in the towns where the fests take place. The fest in Buenos Aires included 13 features released in Brazilian theaters since June 2007, such as Lina Chamie’s “The Milk Way,” Johnny Araujo’s “The Magnate,” David Schurmann’s doc “The World in Two Rounds,” Sandra Kogut’s “Mutum” and Pedro Flores’ doc “Lives,” which had its world premiere at the fest.

“Argentines have a long film tradition, but few Brazilian features open here. We have to enter this market,” said Roberto Santucci, who attended the fest to present his third feature, Rio urban violence drama “Riding High.”

“Body” co-directors Rubens Rewald and Rossana Foglia, also screened their pic, about a 30-year-old corpse that serves as a point of convergence for the stories of five characters.

“The Inffinito Circuit shows the strength of the Brazilian cinema. It is much easier to collectively enter in a foreign market than to arrive there by yourself,” Rewald says.

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