RioFilme backs boxing biopic

In a sign of the burgeoning muscle of the Brazilian film industry, Rio de Janeiro-based RioFilme has invested reals 3 million ($1.8 million) in “10 Seconds,” the story of Brazilian boxer Eder Jofre.

The equity investment is the largest that RioFilme has ever made in a single film.

The highly active state fund has also launched an investment fund, Funcine Rio 1, which has attracted $10 million worth of investment.

Inducted into the Intl. Hall of Fame, Jofre is considered to be among the greatest bantamweights who ever boxed.

Bruno Silveira, director of huge Brazilian B.O. hit “Two Sons of Francisco,” will produce. Chico Abreia helms from his own script; Walter Carvalho (“Central Station”) will be d.p.

“Seconds” will shoot second semester.

The dramatic arc of Jofre’s story shows him becoming world champion, being defeated and then coming back, “influenced by his father, his mentor and nemesis,” said Riofilme director-president Sergio Sa Leitao.

RioFilme will co-produce and has bought Brazilian domestic and international rights.

“We are trying to shape projects that have an international appeal right from their beginning,” said Sa Leitao.

Launched in January, Funcine Rio 1 will operate over 2011-12. Sa Leitao told Daily Variety he hoped Funcine Rio 1 would raise a final $20 million.

Riofilme has also taken equity positions in feature spinoffs from animated TV series “Fishtronaut,” “My Big, Big Friend” and “31 Minutes.”

“It’s really hard to compete with American family films, but we can play off successful TV product,” Sa Leitao said.

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