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Venice Film Festival: Brazil Sees Co-Prod Surge Via Festivals

Promo orgs boost int’l alliances with Europe and widens scope for domestic producers

Venice closer “Amazonia,” which receives a market screening Sunday, is not just a 3D jungle adventure pic that attempts to do visual justice to the Amazon.

For Brazil’s burgeoning movie industry, it is the shape of things to come, an international France-Brazil co-prod, as Latin America’s emerging giant forges more links abroad to make bigger and more ambitious pics.

That is creating opportunities for foreign producers, Andre Sturm, prexy of export org Cinema do Brazil, said Aug. 29 at the Venice Film Market.

Through 2008-12, Brazil partnered in 62 official co-prods, Sturm said. That’s way up on the first half of the previous decade when it was lucky to link on three to four films a year.

Brazilian film authorities — film agency Ancine, its Ministry of Culture — have increased co-prod treaties and launched bilateral co-prod funds with Argentina, Portugal and Uruguay.

Lucia Murat’s “Memories They Told Me,” one of five titles in the Venice Film Market’s Digital Video Library, is a co-production with Chile’s Ceneca and Argentina’s Cepa Audiovisual.

Traveling to major fests and markets, in trips facilitated by Cinema do Brasil, a new generation of producers — Gullane Filmes, which co-produced “Amazonia” with France’s Biloba, BossaNova Films, Dezenove — have learned the virtues of co-production, while new ways to fund films — straight subsidies, tax breaks, regional top-ups — has grown exponentially.

That opens doors. “Brazilian producers will not have enough own projects for all this funding. So it will be a great opportunity for them to take equity in minority Brazilian co-productions,” Sturm said. When Cinema do Brasil launched in 2006 at Berlin, it spent 95% of its energies helping producers forge co-production ties. Now it is just as concerned in the distribution of Brazilian films, Sturm said.

One Cinema do Brasil aid scheme, the Sales Agent Support Program, launched in early 2013 and awards $40,000 in promotion expenses to one sales agent launching a Brazilian film at a major festival. France’s Le Pacte has won $40,000 for “Amazonia.”

In another, longer-standing initiative, 19 distributors from 18 countries will tap up to $25,000 each to co-fund 19 Brazilian-pic theatrical bows. As profit margins shrink on arthouse distribution, that is an increasingly significant sweetener for distributors.

In major territory releases backed by Cinema do Brasil, Breaking Glass Pictures will release “Xingu” in the U.S.; Bildkraft and Bravehearts Intl. bow “Jonathas’ Forest” and “Who Cares” in Germany; and Action and Shin Nippon Films open “Colors” and “Tabu,” respectively, in Japan.

In France, Le Pacte will handle “Amazonia,” and Damned Distribution has “Moving Creatures.”

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