Country inspired by 'Avatar'

As “Avatar” broke the local historical B.O. record of 100 million Real ($57 million) and disseminated a general understanding that Brazilian moviegoers are willing to pay more for 3D screenings, local producers of entertainment pics are facing the dilemma of whether to make their new projects in 3D.

On the plus side, there is not only the prospect of a larger B.O. but also the fact 3D pics are less vulnerable to piracy. On the other hand, it is significantly more expensive to make 3D pics, and local filmmakers are still learning the 3D technology and language.

Producer Pedro Rovai, general director of Sincrocine, who considered making the third pic of his Amazon rainforest-based kids franchise in 3D, decided not to take the risk. He says “Tainah 3D” would cost twice as much as “Tainah 3,” as the production budget would rise from $3.4 million to $6.8 million.

“3D requires special set conditions. Instead of nine weeks, I would have to keep a crew of 80 to 100 people for 12 weeks in the middle of the jungle. Post-production would also be longer and more expensive,” Rovai explains.

But such obstacles have not prevented a number of local production companies from announcing 3D projects. The first Brazilian 3D pic will likely be producer Mariana Caltabiano Criacoes’ “Animated Brazil 3D,” which has the backing of local post-production facility Teleimage and giant media group Globo’s theatrical arm Globo Filmes. The feature combines animation and live action scenes shot in 3D in Rio, Salvador, Iguacu Falls, the Amazon rainforest and other Brazilian postcard destinations. The $1.7 million kidpic is set for an October release.

“We started as a 2D project, but then both Teleimage and Globo Filmes insisted it be fit for a 3D feature. Our two animated characters tour Brazil in search of a rare tree and end up finding the beauty of the Brazilian culture and nature sanctuaries,” says Caltabiano, whose first animated feature, “The Adventures of Gui & Estopa,” aired last year on Cartoon Network in Brazil.

Two other local 3D projects are confirmed. Cris D’Amato’s second pic “Who’s Afraid of Ghosts?” which will shoot this fall in the towns of Araxa and Paulinia. Produced by Julio Uchoa’s Anana Producoes, the $4 million coming-of-age action pic is targeted at teens and has Globo Filmes and Daniel Filho’s Lereby as co-producers.

“We will work with Bill White’s 3D Camera Company from Canada,” Uchoa says. “The same film in 2D would cost 15% to 25% less.”

Marcos Garcia’s debut pic “O Golpe” (The Fraud) will likely be lensed in November in Rio and released by the end of 2011, according to producer Walkiria Barbosa of Total Films. The $4.4 million pic will include car chases as well as action scenes featuring boats and forests.

“I have managed to minimize the 3D impact on the film’s budget, thanks to meticulous planning, which will include scene rehearsals, and the establishment of partnerships with 3D technology companies,” Barbosa says.

The list of other local likely 3D projects includes Roberto d’Avila’s “The Prince of Asturias,” a Moonshot Pictures co-production with Spain, and toon “A oitava princesa” (The Eighth Princess), also from Moonshot.

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