Boost for Brazil’s indie producers

Public broadcasters commission more shows

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s independent TV production companies are getting a boost, thanks to an increasing number of commissions from local pubcasters.

TV Brasil, created two years ago by the Minister of Culture to be “Brazil’s BBC,” is the driving force behind this trend. It recently announced a 4.5 million reals ($2.43 million) package of commissions, while Sao Paulo state pubcaster TV Cultura is funding a $1.4 million animation series.

This is good news for the indies, as the wealthy commercial broadcasters traditionally produce their programming inhouse, relegating the independent producers to a secondary position in the biz.

TV Brasil this month launched three public tenders for programming.

In one of the tenders, the net will shell out $1.73 million for three documentary series, each with 32 episodes of 26 minutes, focusing on success stories, Olympic sports and women’s issues.

The pubcaster also has set aside $492,000 to fund 13 fiction or doc shorts targeted at kids.

Additionally, it will put $216,000 into a 52-minute doc to mark this year’s 50th anniversary of the founding of Brazil’s capital, Brasilia.

On top of this, TV Brasil and the Minister of Culture will jointly commission five feature-length docs, with a total budget of $1.62 million, for theatrical distribution before they air on TV Brasil.

Last month, TV Cultura aired the pilots of 17 cartoons, selected from 257 applicants. This month, the net will canvas public opinion on the toons via audience research company Ibope, and choose the best two. It will then put $1 million into the production of two series of 12 episodes.

Guto Carvalho, exec partner at Sao Paulo-based production company TIJD, is producing doc series “Sustentaculos” for TV Brasil. The series was selected in the pubcaster’s first pitching session, which wrapped in October. “Sustentaculos,” with 36 episodes of 26 minutes, is about sound environmental practices in Brazil and is due to air in May.

Carvalho also produced reality skein “Ecopratico” for TV Cultura, which helps families “green up” their homes and daily lives.

“Indie TV producers are bringing diversity to public networks in Brazil, as well as stimulating competition,” Carvalho says.

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