RIO DE JANEIRO — As Brazil’s film industry ramps up at a rampant pace, Alberto Flaksman, one of its best-known figures, is launching a new training facility aimed at providing practical education for Brazil’s newest generation of film and TV producers.
Growing in Europe from the late ‘80s, the drive into practical training is one sign of Brazil’s growing industry maturity. Held at Rio’s Institute of Higher Education for Publicity and Marketing (ESPM), the one-year Training for TV/Film Producers facility begins after Brazil’s summer vacation in February or March of next year.
Offering “systematic knowledge,” in Flaksman’s phrase, it targets jobbing producers, and students and professionals who want to break into the business,” said Flaksman, a former international affairs head and then director of the economic and statistics department at Brazil’s powerful state film board, the Ancine Film TV Agency.
Training will teach the complex mechanisms of financing film in Brazil, script evaluation, turning screenplays into shooting schedules, budgeting, how to organize a technical and artistic team, what d.p.s, art directors, editors do, camera options; and international markets, such as negotiating with sales agents.
“Working on a good screenplay is worth it. It’s not that expensive, it’s takes a lot of time, you need patience, stamina, but it’s the basis to work from,” Flaksman said, observing that it’s now more common in Brazil for a screenplay to have multiple screenwriters.
The Training course comes as Brazil’s industry is taking a reality check on recent dramatic growth. It released 30 films in 2003, 83 in 2012, 129 last year. Of last year’s production, about 55 were documentaries. Brazilian films punched an 18.6% home market share, the highest of any domestic industry in Latin America. But only 10-20 films were in any way successful.
Having powered up production levels, Brazil’s industry is increasingly concerned about how to get films to distributors, and the quality of what is produced.
The course is coming as a new generation of directors and producers are beginning to gain enough critical mass to start to talk about a New Brazilian Cinema. But their ranks need to be swelled, especially when it comes to producers.
“There’s a old school tendency in Brazil, maybe deriving from the nouvelle vague, for directors to be their own writers as well as producers, or use their wives as producers, or vice versa,” Flaksman told Variety at the Rio Festival.
He added: “What we don’t have are many trained producers: Brazilian films sometimes lack the strong hand of a producer who is able to look for projects, ideas, develop and make them into films, producers who can manage the business side of a production as well as its artistic challenges, with requisite technical and artistic knowledge.”
Flaksman also organizes seminars at Sao Paulo’s FilmCup, a yearly co-production market backed by film fund SP Cine and Ancine.
Launched 2012, and celebrating its third edition late November, FilmCup already marks a drive into international, combining a conference component and a co-production forum featuring 11 film/TV projects from Brazil and another 11 from a major producing country. After Germany and France, country guest in 2014 will be Italy.