Ups and downs of building Brazil’s film biz

RioFilme @ 20

Two decades of shifting partnerships and alliances — and a reboot that led to rapid growth:


• Brazil’s federal government axes state film agency Concine (1976-90) and state distribution company Embrafilme (1969-90).

• Brazilian film production implodes.


• Rio council founds RioFilme, Brazil’s first municipally owned distributor.

• Founding supporters include helmer Nelson Pereira dos Santos.


• Under first prexy, producer Mariza Leao, RioFilme starts to lead the recovery (known as the “retomada”) of Brazilian cinema.

• Distributes three films in 1992 and four in 1993.


• Filmmaker Paulo Sergio de Almeida takes the reins at RioFilme, boosting investment in projects lensed in Rio.


• Film critic Jose Carlos Avellar consolidates RioFilme’s position as a domestic “major,” securing a higher operating budget and increasing production investment.

• Shingle expands into domestic homevid.

• Training initiatives like Sundance/RioFilme Screenwriter’s Lab, are launched.

• Walter Salles’ “Central Station” garners 1.6 million admissions, ushering in a new era for Brazilian cinema. • Other titles include Sandra Werneck’s romantic comedy “Little Book of Love” and Salles’ “Foreign Land.”


• New prexy, diplomat Arnaldo Carrilho, increases support for docu features, which soon represent 40% of films distribbed by RioFilme.

• Operating budget jumps from $2.45 million in 2001 to $6.9 million in 2002.

• Key titles include Claudio Assis’ “Mango Yellow.”

• Intl. DVD collections are launched.


• Actor Jose Wilker appointed head of RioFilme.

• Rio mayor Cesar Maia slashes funding and operating budget slumps to $0.5 million by 2008.

• RioFilme concentrates on docus and low-budget auteur fare, and in 2008, represents less than 0.5% of the box office for Brazilian films, with 27,824 spectators.


• Rio mayor Eduardo Paes greenlights RioFilme revamp, appoints Sergio Sa Leitao and increases budget tenfold — to $5.5 million in 2009, rising to $25 million by 2012.

• Early hits include “In Therapy” (2009) with an $8.5 million B.O. RioFilme embraces theater-building, community initiatives and mainstream films.

RioFilme @ 20
RioFilme fuels Brazilian biz | Big players take control of market | Ups and downs of building biz | Duo helps industry develop | RioFilme’s slate

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