Europa Filmes Backs ‘Rio 2096’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Groundbreaking international sales first for Brazil

ANNECY — For Brazil, the 37th Annecy Animation Film Festival, which opens today, marks multiple significant firsts, all underscoring the mounting muscle of the toon industries in emerging markets.

For the first time, a Brazilian movie, “Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury,” screens in competition at Annecy.

A pioneering toonpic targeting adult audiences, produced by Sao Paulo’s Gullane (“Tabu,” “Amazonia”) and helmed by first-time director Luis Bolognesi, who wrote “Brainstorm” and “Birdwatchers,” “Rio 2096,” is sold internationally by Wilson Feitosa’s Sao Paulo-based Europa Filmes.

Europa Filmes’ international sales division reps the first move by a big Brazilian movie distributor-producer to leverage its escalating local market clout into an international sales push. It will also be attending Annecy for the first time.

“There are a lot of quality Brazilian films being released and to be released that lack international representation,” Feitosa told Variety.

Arguing that Brazilian films sometimes get lost in the crush of U.S. and European titles in international sales catalog, he added: “We know that there is a big Brazilian community around the world that would like to have access to these titles; the world is looking toward Brazil more than ever; VOD is coming on strong and can be a facilitator for reaching audiences.”

Europa Filmes will take both Brazilian and international rights on Brazilian movies, sometimes also co-producing these titles. It also contemplates moving into third-party pickups.

Ex-Studiocanal exec Soizic Gelbard is heading up international sales at Europa Filmes; Beatriz Cifu, formerly at Gullane, serves as international coordinator.

A hand-drawn 2D toon pic, “2096” turns on four milestones in Brazilian history: 1500, when it was discovered by Europeans; 1800, the height of the slave trade; 1970, during military dictatorship, and a futuristic 2096.

“History is usually written by its winners. ‘Rio 2096’ is told from the viewpoint of its losers,” said Gullane Filmes founder Fabiano Gullane, who with Bolognesi will attend an Annecy Features at Noon Q&A on Friday.

Europa Filmes will rep live-action movies, such as ‘80s Brazilia-set “Faroeste Caboclo,” an urban Western that adapts a rock ballad by Renato Russo, the towering figure of Brazil’s post-punk scene. Bowing May 30, “Faroeste” grossed a first-weekend R$6.6 million ($3.1 million) in Brazil.

Feitosa’s shingle will also be pushing further into Brazilian animation, however, co-producing “Clube secreto dos monstrous” with Paulo Boccato.

“There is a growing demand worldwide for local animation, especially for adults,” Feitosa said.

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