Cannes: Brazil’s Sales Agent Support Gives Pics Promo Muscle

Thanks to Cinema do Brasil’s Sales Agent Support, Brazilian filmmakers have an ambitious ally in achieving a high-level presence at big fests.

Since 2013, sales agents handling Brazilian films selected for Berlin, Cannes, Locarno, Venice and San Sebastian can ask CDB for an up-to-$40,000 grant for the promotion costs of a film.

February’s Berlinale had a healthy mass of Brazilian movies in official sections and the CDB’s support was often key. Anna Muylaert’s “The Second Mother,” Lirio Ferreira’s “Blue Blood” and Chico Teixeira’s “Absence” played in Panorama. The Forum screened Felipe Matzenbacher and Marcio Reolon’s “Seashore” and Marcelo Pedroso’s “Brazilian Dream.”

“Absence” marked the second Brazilian film picked up by Mundial Sales, a joint venture of IM Global and Canana, after Fernando Coimbra’s 2013 fest hit “A Wolf at the Door.”

“With so many other titles in Berlin, and given that ‘Absence’ is a small, auteur film, the Sales Agent Support helped us to shed more light on it, luring more attention from buyers,” says Mundial VP Cristina Garza.

“We would continue picking up Brazilian films without the Sales Agent Support, but this is a great boost for our work: at the end of the day, it is difficult to sell Portuguese-language films which are considered arthouse films outside of Brazil.”

Sold by L.A.-based FiGa Films, “Seashore” premiered on the world market at Berlin’s EFM, tapping CDB’s support.

“For us, the Sales Agent scheme means a lot,” says FiGa’s Sandro Fiorin. “It’s a very generous support that gives us the freedom to place our films amongst the ‘big guys,’”

Brazil’s Berlin Panorama presence was the biggest ever. “The Second Mother,” which the Match Factory sold to more than 20 territories, snagged Panorama’s audience award, shortly after winning Sundance’s jury prize for acting.

“Brazil’s film presence at international markets and festivals is increasingly strong,,” says CDB chairman Andre Sturm.

Backed by Brazilian trade and investment promotion agency Apex Brasil in partnership with Sao Paulo’s Audiovisual Industry Guild, Cinema Do Brasil has launched further initiatives, such as the Distribution Support Award, which offers up to $25,000 to international distributors that handle films from CDB members, covering P&A costs for theatrical releases.

However, CDB’s Sales Agent Support will not be used at Cannes, as no Brazilian features were selected.

“We were surprised by the absence of Brazilian films at Cannes, but we are highly optimistic regarding Locarno, where Brazil was the focus of Carte-Blanche (works in progress) event last year, and hope to compete at Venice and San Sebastian, which are attuned to Brazilian films,” Sturm says. A bigger muscular marketing presence for Brazilian film is expected to pick up in June, as Brazil’s government recently added some $180,000 to CDB’s budget to promote national films at big fest venues.

“With the new budget, more initiatives like the Sales Agents Support or the Distribution Support Award will be launched in the near future, giving Brazilian films major importance in the international market,” says Sturm.

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