Rio aggressively courts wide range of projects

Taking advantage of its selection as the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio aims to become an important site for international feature productions. As part of this plan, local film financier RioFilme came together with the state government to launch the Rio Film Commission last year.

With former MPA Latin America’s veep Steve Solot as its CEO, the org made its world debut during the AFCI Locations Trade Show in Los Angeles and already has a number of projects in negotiation, including a Rio-tailored film from director Woody Allen and the romantically themed omnibus “Rio, eu te amo” (Rio, I Love You).

A locally set addition to “Paris, je t’aime” producer Emannuel Benbihy’s Cities of Love series, “Rio, eu te amo” will assemble love-themed shorts from various Rio neighborhoods, as captured by an international mix of directors, including Fernando Meirelles (“City of God”) and Jose Padilha (“Elite Squad”). According to producer Christian de Castro, town and state governments have invested $1.8 million of the film’s estimate $10 million budget, with the remaining coin covered by private financiers and Brazilian incentives.

As for Allen’s untitled project, Rio reps set out to woo Woody to the city, hoping the director could find a way to feature Rio as he did Barcelona in his Spanish love story “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” The $15 million pic is aimed for a 2012 release.

But the commission’s efforts aren’t necessarily limited to live-action films. Given the natural tie-in with Blue Sky’s animated “Rio,” local son Carlos Saldanha’s story of a nerdy macaw that sets off from small-town U.S. for a Brazilian adventure, area orgs have agreed to promote the toon’s world premiere in Rio next year.

The commission is also in advanced negotiations with the producers of “Fast and Furious 5.” According to Solot, the idea is to lense part of the pic in Rio, which could happen in the third quarter of this year.

Another project, the $8 million Brazil-France co-production “Rouge Brasil,” is expected to be fully lensed in Rio city and state, with producers currently raising coin through Brazil’s incentives, Solot says. The historical film is an adaptation on the best-selling novel portraying France’s 16th-century invasion of Rio.

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