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Brazil, Europe Co-productions Hampered by Bureaucracy

Despite obstacles, number of co-pro releases has increased

Rio de Janeiro – Brazilian and European companies involved in feature co-productions continue to face bureaucratic, administrative and legal obstacles that slow down and raise the cost of productions, agreed participants at the Rio Fest’s RioMarket 2014’s panel “The best opportunities to produce with Europe.”

Brazil-Europe co-productions are typically low-to-average budget pics for the arthouse/fest circuits. Funds usually come from a variety of governmental funds and incentives in the countries involved; producers have to follow a myriad of time-consuming procedures to register the co-productions and raise financing.

“Over the past years, some of the obstacles have been removed here in Brazil. I would say that you spend about 18 months from the time when you decide for the co-production to shooting,” said Georgia Araujo, of Coracao da Selva, which co-produced Karim Ainouz’ “Praia do Futuro” with Germany and Carlos Alberto Riccelli’s “Onde esta a felicidade” with Spain.

“The process will be streamlined if [Brazil’s National Cinema Agency] Ancine starts to accept documents in English. Currently, every single communication must be translated to Portuguese by a sworn translator,” she added.

In spite of the obstacles, a significant number of Brazil/Europe pics were made and theatrically released here over the past years. According to Ancine, 11 such pics were released in Brazil in 2013, 8 in 2012, 12 in 2011 and 5 in 2010. Portugal, France and Spain are the European countries with most co-productions in the list, but it also includes pics made with partners from Germany, the U.K., Netherlands and Russia.

Anna Kokourina, of U.S.-based Tabula Rasa, said the obstacles for co-productions in Brazil are similar to the ones in Europe: “There is a lot of unhappiness in Brazil about how long things take here, but it is the same everywhere. Approval of a co-production may be faster in Europe, but finance may take longer.”

Kokourina is in Brazil to advance on a Germany/Ireland (still in negotiation)/Brazil co-production to be set in Rio, with lensing scheduled for April/May 2015.

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