RIO DE JANEIRO Brazil’s Lumiere has resumed operations as both a distrib and producer, with new partners and a $10 million slate deal.
The company, which has been inactive for the last two years, was once Brazil’s No. 1 indie distrib, and theatrically released some of the country’s most important local pics, including “Central Station” and “City of God.”
Lumiere (which isn’t related to the former U.S. production shingle) will resume distribution in January with the release of Palme d’Or winner “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.” Lumiere’s founder and CEO, Marc Beauchamps, bought Brazilian rights at Cannes before the pic received the prize.
The company is set to announce the first of the six to eight features it will co-produce, spread between projects from Brazil, other Latin American countries and other regions. Lumiere will distribute the pics in Brazil and other Latin American countries.
Mumbai-based investment fund Infinity India Advisor and NYC-based investment advisory and equity participation firm SCGI Financial Partners, both of which became Lumiere shareholders, will make the $10 million investment. Other new shareholders of Lumiere are Joshua Skurla, who conducted the negotiations with the investors, and Christian de Castro, formerly chief financial officer of international sales agent Vereda Filmes.
“Lumiere will be a large player in Brazil and other Latin American countries. The company will help streamline the Brazilian market, as we will use not only local incentives, but also private financial mechanisms common in Europe and the United States,” Beauchamps tells Variety.
In fact, virtually all Brazilian pics are funded with government incentives. Local distribs, including U.S. studio branches, also access incentives to co-produce and gain distribution rights to local pics.
Founded in 1989 as Initial Brasil, Lumiere grew in the late 1990s, thanks to an output deal with Miramax. The company also co-produced local pics with strong B.O. performance and festival play. But in 2003, Beauchamps took a leave of absence for health reasons.
Next, Beauchamps and company partner Bruno Wainer got involved in a shareholders’ feud. In 2005, Wainer founded his own indie distrib, Downtown Filmes, and Lumiere ceased to operate. This May, the partners negotiated an agreement, and Beauchamps is now ready to bring Lumiere back to its former role as an influential distributor.