LC Barreto was created in 1962 by Luiz Carlos Barreto, a former reporter and photojournalist with some film production experience, and his wife, Lucy, a musician. The duo became involved with the Cinema Novo movement, Brazil’s version of New Realism, working with Glauber Rocha, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Carlos Diegues, Paulo Cezar Saraceni and Joaquim Pedro de Andrade. Cinema Novo revolutionized Latin American cinema and pics won prizes in top international fests in the 1960s and early 1970s.
“We lived in a colonial-style house in Botafogo (in Rio) and that was the meeting point and center of artistic and political discussion of the Cinema Novo movement,” recalls 84-year-old Barreto.
Following the Cinema Novo era, the couple produced pics helmed by their sons, Bruno and Fabio, while continuing to shepherd features for veteran and tyro directors. Both sons have films that were nominated for foreign-language Oscar, Fabio for “Quatrilho” (1995) and Bruno for “Four Days in September” (1997).
Bruno, who married Amy Irving, has worked in Hollywood (“Carried Away”).
But his brother’s career was cut short after a serious car accident in Rio in December 2009, on the eve of the release of his “Lula” biopic about then-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Severely injured, Fabio remained in a coma for more than a year and has only reached a “minimally conscious state” after a brain pacemaker was fitted in 2011.
His “Lula” was Brazil’s Oscar entry but did not make the five-pic final list.
Luiz Carlos has branched out beyond production into the PR and the political side of the film business.
In Brazil’s highly subsidized film industry, lobbying was and still is a key element for a production company’s survival. Luiz Carlos has also become a minority partner in a local exhibitor and Canal Brasil, a pay TV net carrying Brazilians pics. If that isn’t enough, he is writing his autobiography.
Meanwhile, Lucy has had a crucial backstage role, managing LC Barreto since the mid-1960s. Now 79, she has built a solid career as a hands-on producer of several of the company’s pics and is admired for sticking to budgets. LC Barreto never lets a pic go unfinished, unlike other production companies here.
The Barretos’ daughter, Paula has taken over some of these management and production duties and is the driving force behind most of the company’s new projects. “We are dinosaurs of the industry, in a positive sense,” Lucy says. “Here in Brazil and abroad, filmmakers open companies to make a single film. We have a different, longterm proposal.”
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