Government renews commitment to funding features

Brazil’s filmmaking is mostly concentrated in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, but officials in the smaller 80,000-population Paulinia are continuing efforts to get in on the act. The city’s Paulinia Film Festival continues to increase its profile, with a healthy $370,000 prize purse and Brazil’s strongest local pic competition.

During the fest, officials announced additional funding of $5.3 million toward 10 Brazilian features, continuing the town’s push to become a major filmmaking center. Grant-winning producers, who will be announced by the end of November, will have to shoot 40% of their productions in Paulinia’s studios or in the region, and will have to spend at least half of their grants in the area.

During the past three years, Paulinia has contributed $22.5 million in funding to 40 features. Daniel Filho’s “Chico Xavier,” this year’s top Brazilian pic, with $17.3 million; Anna Muylaert’s prize-winning “No Smoking”; and Henrique Goldman’s Brazil-U.K. co-production “Jean Charles” are among pics partially lensed and backed by Paulinia.

The oil-rich Paulinia, the site of Brazil’s largest refinery and a petrochemical complex, is investing heavily to become a mega pic production center and diversify its economy.

The town’s nearly $70 million pic production center recently added four modern stages in addition to one inaugurated in 2008. The center is also home to the city’s film commission, which streamlines shoots, ADD and features a modern 1,400-seat-theater that is the fest’s headquarters, as well as a 600-student school that trains students to work on film crews.

Secretary of culture Emerson Alves says 55% of the money invested in film productions returns to the town.

While the local film biz is concerned about whether government funding will be renewed, productions continue to take advantage of the coin to shoot in the region. Helmer Selton Mello shot about 80% of his second pic, the circus-set “O Palhaco,” in Paulinia, while Vicente Amorim (“Good”) shot all of his third pic, “Dirty Hearts,” in the region.

“The town’s film commission and officials are fully engaged in helping producers to make the films a reality,” Amorim says.

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