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Rio raising entertainment

$6.89 mil earmarked for film, TV ventures

RIO DE JANEIRO — The city of Rio de Janeiro and its film agency Riofilme are creating an exhib chain, a pay TV channel and a film production and training center.

The city and Riofilme have a budget of 20 million reais ($6.89 million) to invest during the 2003/2004 fiscal year in the three projects as well as to fund Riofilme’s regular distribution operations.

Riofilme will earmark $2.75 million to help distribute 23 local theatrical productions. The government-backed agency is the leading distributor of Brazilian pics, releasing virtually all local films that do not get picked up by a private distrib.

The Rio city administration intends to renovate old movie houses in poor neighborhoods to create an exhib chain targeting low-income moviegoers. It expects to begin work soon on the first five facils.

From 1950 to 1958, 188 movie houses opened in northern and western Rio. According to a city government study, 90% of those closed during the 1970s and 1980s, which was attributed to the rise of commercial television.

RioFilme’s feevee would feature the 155 Brazilian films to which the distributor has the TV rights.

However, analysts question whether the local pay TV market can support a second all-Brazilian film net as Canal Brasil is struggling for survival.

The planned production and training center has been dubbed Cinema Town and is part of a city project to renovate the area Rio’s port area.

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