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Grupo Novo, Apex boost Brazil pix o’seas

Each to contribute $750,000 for distrib at events

RIO DE JANEIRO — Grupo Novo de Cinema e TV, the major distrib of indie Brazilian pics abroad, and government export agency Apex have pacted to boost the presence of Brazilian films at fests and markets worldwide.

Grupo Novo and Apex have invested $750,000 each to sponsor distribution at 20 international events this year. Each has agreed to invest another $1.5 million in 2002 and 2003 for a total of $4.5 million in three years.

Grupo Novo is raising the investment money from the private sector via Brazil’s tax-incentive system for cultural projects.

Novo and Apex began joint operations at the Berlin Intl. Film Festival, where they held 26 screenings of 13 recent Brazilian pics. They had a stand and a five-member team to promote their portfolio of 80 titles.

Novo/Apex also took a stand at the American Film Market in Los Angeles, the first time a Brazilian film distrib had attended the market in 10 years. The partners will attend the Mip TV market in Cannes in April.

Grupo Novo was founded in 1972 as a film production company.

In 1995, company prexy Tarcisio Vidigal shifted the focus to the international distribution of Brazilian independent films. “Following the closing of (government film agency) Embrafilme in 1990, no one was distributing Brazilian pics abroad. We decided to fill this gap,” Vidigal said.

From 1995 to 2000, Grupo Novo attended an average of five fests and markets per year.

Among its current offerings, Novo is representing Guel Arraes’ “O Auto da Compadecida” (The Dog’s Will), the biggest local Brazilian B.O. hit since 1993. Pic was produced by Globo Filmes, the film division of Brazilian media giant Organizacoes Globo, and distributed in Brazil by Columbia. It has not been released outside Brazil.

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