Brazilian distributor battles limited art pic outlets

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian arthouse distrib Art Films has acquired rights to Brazil on Susanne Bier’s “All You Need Is Love” and “Kon-Tiki,” produced by Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Co.

Both buys were made off the Toronto fest, Art Films topper Ugo Sorrentino said at the Rio Festival market.

Bier’s follow-up to “In a Better World,” “Love” stars Pierce Brosnan in a romantic comedy set in Sorrento, Italy. TrustNordisk handles international sales.

The HanWay-sold “Kon-Tiki,” helmed by Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg (“Max Manus”), recreates Thor Heyerdahl’s epic raft voyage from Peru to Polynesia. Nordisk produces.

Founded in 1931 by Sorrentino’s grandfather, Art Films handles about 12 films a year.

From October through November it will bow Florian Cossen’s Argentina-set drama “The Day I Was Not Born,” which took the audience and Fipresci award at Montreal last year; Zhang Yimou’s “Under the Hawthorn Tree,” sold by Wild Bunch, which bows Friday; and Julie Gavras’ ageing dramedy “Late Bloomers,” with John Hurt and Isabella Rossellini. Sold by Gaumont, “Late Bloomers,” opens Nov. 11.

Brazil’s swelling middle-classes might seem to spell new life for arthouse distribution. The reality, Sorrentino said, is less rosy.

Alternative cinema circuits only exist in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre. Brazil’s modern multiplex chains have developed a taste for “fast-food films” while “delicatessen” films can’t find screens, Sorrentino said.

For a multiplex programmer, it’s easier to place six prints of “Captain America” than to experiment with a Gus Van Sant pic or European film, he argued.

Piracy has devasted Brazil’s DVD market, down 36% in 2010. One future upside for arthouse distribution could, however, be VOD, Sorrentino added.

Bowing August in Brazil, Netflix claimed three million first-month buys in the country.

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