Locarno Sets Brazil Carte Blanche

Five-to-seven Brazilian pix-in-post to be highlighted during Locarno’s Industry Days

MADRID — The fourth Carte Blanche, the Locarno Festival’s pix-in-post showcase, will focus next year on Brazil, highlighting five-to-seven Brazilian movies in post-production seeking completion financing.

The announcement was made Monday evening at the Sao Paulo Film Festival by Nadia Dresti, Locarno ‘s head of international, and Andre Sturm, president of Brazilian international film promo org Cinema do Brasil, which will partner Locarno in the organization of next year’s rough-cut competition.

Carte Blanche will unspool during Locarno’s Industry Days, slated for August 9-11, which also include market screenings of the festival’s major section films, an Open Doors co-production meet and a Step In discussion forum.

Launched in 2011, Carte Blanche has focused to date on Colombia, Mexico and Chile. As part of this recognition of Latin America’s rapid movie industry and creative growth, Brazil is an obvious — but exciting — choice for 2014.

In Latin America, few movie industries have grown so fast, or so strongly, as Brazil’s.

Local movies’ market share — driven by big local comedies and biopics rather than the art and crossover fare that will most probably be seen in Locarno’s Carte Blanche — stood at 19% through August, according to Brazilian trade publication Filme B. Other national cinemas in Latin America crack open the champagne if they get into double figures.

“In 2013, Brazilian cinema will see an around 70% increase in admissions and gross. In the next few years, it will at least sustain that growth with a 20% market share,” Filme B editor Paulo Sergio Almeida predicted to Variety.

Brazil now hands out about $200 million annually in subsidy funding plus $80 million in tax incentives, per Cinema do Brasil.

Over 2008-12, Brazilian partnered in 78 official co-prods.

A remarkable young generation of new directors and producers has broken through throughout Latin America, broadening filmmaking options way beyond the predominantly social-issue base of the past generation, at least as it was known abroad.

Brazil is no exception. Its 2014 Academy Award submission, “Neighboring Sounds,” is the feature debut of critic-turned helmer Kleber Mendonca Filho; “A Wolf at the Door,” Fernando Coimbra’s first feature, won San Sebastian’s coveted Horizontes Award, chosen out of a pick of the best Latin American films this year; Hilton Lacerda’s fiction debut “Tattoo” swept five prizes at this month’s Rio Festival.

The Brazil Carte Blanche will unspool at a festival that, despite taking place in the height of summer, still attracts a hefty European industry presence.

On the eve of this year’s Locarno, the 1,047 industry professional accreditations set an all-time record and repped a healthy 15% increase vs. 2012. One hundred and two French companies, no less, attended this year’s Industry Days, including 40 producers and 18 sales agents.

Success at Carte Blanche can also help spark sales. Last year’s winner, Alejandro Fernandez Almendras’ revenge thriller “To Kill a Man,” went on to also top Sanfic in Santiago de Chile. Competing at San Sebastian’s Films in Progress, it was picked up for international sales by Spain’s Film Factory Entertainment.

A jury composed of film industry professionals – in 2013 Tribeca’s Frederic Boyer, Rotterdam’s Gerwin Tamsma and Uruguayan producer Agustina Chiarino – will award the best film with a cash prize of CHF 10,000 ($11,100).

Selected films will be announced in July. Carte Blanche is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).

The 67th Locarno Festival runs Aug. 6-16, 2014.

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