RioFilme flexes muscle

Rio de Janeiro agency to invest $25 mil this year

Its economic growth may be slowing but in film terms Brazil, the subject of a Cannes Tribute, is still bulking up.

In the latest move, RioFilme, Rio de Janeiro’s municipal film investor, has hiked 2012 funding to 50 million reals ($25 million), a historical high.

The increase comes as government investments — tax incentives plus Audiovisual Fund subsidies — stand at $200 million in 2012, said Manoel Rangel, prexy of the Ancine film board, Brazil’s national film body.

RioFilme backed many of the most significant titles now being made in Brazil.

Its first 3D venture is $20 million Amazon jungle adventure “Amazonia,” helmed by Thierry Ragobert and produced by France’s Biloba and Brazil’s Gullane Filmes. RioFilme will co-produce and finance “Amazonia’s” P&A spend on its Brazilian release, handled by Imovision.

Another RioFilme coin recipient is “E ai … comeu,” (literally, “Have You … Scored”), a spiced-up romantic comedy being tipped as one of Brazil’s biggest blockbusters of the year.

In a sign of yet another Latin American country facing up to Hollywood’s studios — “Comeu” will be released June 22 by Downtown Filmes, RioFilme and Paris Filmes on 400 to 500 screens, per RioFilme’s Sergio Sa Leitao.June, like January, is prime box office real estate in Brazil, normally reserved for big U.S. studio bows.

Brazilian TV regs oblige pay TV channels to air 3.5 hours of original local content in primetime every week, requiring the production of 3,000-4,000 hours in 2013, Sa Leitao said.

Given that, RioFilme will begin to invest in TV projects, he added.

Of RioFilme’s $25 million war chest, $16 million is direct equity investment in the distribution of films — domestic and international — made by Rio-based companies. The rest comes from RioFilme’s investment fund, Funcine Rio 1, which has been running since 2011.

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