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Cannes Beckons to Brazil, Is This Its Year?

At a Q&A in Ventana Sur in 2014, Cannes Festival topper Thierry Fremaux was asked by local industry figures why there weren’t many Brazilian films on the Croisette. He suggested Brazil’s time would come. Could that be 2016? Vania Catani at Brazil’s Bananeira Filmes has a large chunk of minority co-production equity in one of the most ambitious  Latin American movies this year — with Chilean Pablo Larrain’s “Neruda” — Lucrecia Martel’s historical drama “Zama” (pictured).

Bananeira is also the lead producer on “A Movie Life,” a coming-of-ager set in the 1960s sierras of Rio Grande do Sul in an adaptation of the novel “A Distant Father” from “Il Postino” novelist Antonio Skarmeta, directed by (and co-starring) Brazil’s Selton Mello and Vincent Cassel.

Meanwhile, Rodrigo Teixeira’s RT Features, which has a fast-growing stable of cutting-edge Brazilian genre helmers, has two films in post. “The Friendly Animal” is from Gabriela Amaral Almeida, “a woman who likes to make Tarantino movies,” Teixeira says. “Era el Cielo,” written by Argentina’s Lucia Puenzo, is the Spanish-language debut of  Marco Dutra, whose debut, “Hard Labor,” made Cannes Un Certain Regard. IM Global/Canana joint sales venture Mundial has already taken “Era el Cielo.” Maybe Cannes will follow.

John Hopewell contributed to this report.

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