Walkiria Barbosa

Barbosa co-founded Total Filmes in 1999 with the goal of making commercial pics. She delivered on her promise with local B.O. record-breaker “If I Were You 2,” which Barbosa exec produced. So far, Total has produced 13 features, co-produced another four and is now lensing the local version of “High School Musical.” Barbosa also is co-exec director of the Rio de Janeiro Intl. Film Festival, Latin America’s largest sprocket opera.

Sara Silveira

The force behind two of the year’s most anticipated films, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and “The Famous and the Dead,” vet producer Silveira worked on more than 120 features before founding Dezenove Som e Imagem in 1992. The company has produced 19 pics, most of them by new directors. A champion of international co-productions, Silveira has collaborated with Mexican, Argentine, French, Uruguayan and Italian partners.

Anna Muylaert

Muylaert’s second feature, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” starring “If I Were You 2’s” Gloria Pires, is one of the highlights among local pics this year. Muylaert is an established film/TV writer who successfully crossed over to directing in 2002 with “Durval Discos.” “Smoke” is expected to premiere at Rio or another international fest before opening in November in Brazil.

Eduardo Valente

Valente’s debut feature, “Eye of the Storm,” produced by Walter Salles’ VideoFilmes, will screen in the Cinefondation program. Despite his young age, the 33-year-old is a Cannes vet, having received the Cinefondation’s first prize in 2002 for short “Daughter and Father.” He subsequently participated in Cannes’ Residence program, workshopping the “Storm” script.

Heitor Dhalia

Formerly an ad agency writer, helmer Dhalia debuted in 2004 with “Nina,” then followed it up with local arthouse success “Drained” (partially funded with his own savings) in 2006. His third feature, “Adrift,” is the first project in helmer Fernando Meirelles’ O2 Filmes deal with Universal Pictures. The family drama starring Vincent Cassel and Camilla Belle will screen in Un Certain Regard at Cannes.

Sergio Sa Leitao

Formerly a director of Brazil’s Cinema Agency (Ancine), Sergio Sa Leitao took over Jan. 1 as the president of the Rio de Janeiro city government’s nearly inactive film company RioFilme and revamped it. RioFilme is now funding some 30 pics produced in Rio or by local companies, of which 10 will open this year. It also hosts Rio’s Film Commission.

Esmir Filho

Writing what he knows, 26-year-old Filho centered his first feature “The Famous and the Dead” in the online world (in 2006, Filho’s short “Slaps the Panther” became a YouTube hit). Helmer has been to Cannes twice with shorts “Something Like That” (2006) and “Saliva” (2007).

Daniel Filho

Vet helmer, producer, writer and actor Filho directed and co-produced record-breaking Brazilian B.O. sensation “If I Were You 2.” Filho began as an actor in 1955 and has since performed in 42 pics, telenovelas and TV series. He joined TV Globo in 1967, where he directed 45 tele-novelas and series, playing a key role in TV Globo’s rise to its position as the undisputed market leader. Now fully dedicated to film through production company Lereby, he has directed eight pics since 2001.

Aluizio Abranches

In a bid toward international arthouse recognition, Abranches tackles the taboo subject of brother-brother incest in “From Beginning to End.” Currently in post-production, the film should be ready to hit the fest circuit in time for Venice and Toronto. Abranches debuted in 1999 with the well-received “A Glass of Rage,” following it up with “The Three Marias,” which met with more mixed reviews.

Ilda Santiago

As the Cannes fest correspondent in Brazil since 2004, Santiago has become increasingly important in the selection of Brazilian pics for fest screenings. She also serves as co-exec director of the Rio de Janeiro Intl. Film Festival. In 1985, Santiago co-founded Estacao Botafogo, a theater dedicated to art films. Today, she works as director of acquisitions for Estacao, which boasts a 20-screen chain in Rio and distribution circuit.