Cannes: RioFilme Announces 2015 Funding

City-backed fund targets more cultural content.

CANNES — Rio de Janeiro’s RioFilme, one of Latin America’s most active city hall-backed film funds, will plow R$7 million ($2.3 million) into the city’s film and TV industries via an annual Audiovisual Support Program, Viva o Cinema, working in partnership with ANCINE, Brazil’s federal state film-TV agency.

As Brazil and the world builds for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, sparking a slew of features and TV programs on Rio, part of this coin at least will be accessible to foreign company productions via local partners.

RioFilme will divvy up the $2.3 million into five call-for-projects: feature film production and post-production ($1.3 million); TV series development ($332,000): short film production ($266,000); feature film development ($266,000); and audiovisual support for community producing activities ($133,000). Latter is new, focusing on using production for positive local community development.

Hit by Brazil’s recession and a plunge in commodity prices, including for oil, one of the country’s and Rio de Janeiro’s economic drivers, funding for film and TV is now tighter. RioFilme made its name in the first half of the decade driving mostly into mainstream movies, putting up gap finance that helped a new breed of local movies, modern comedies that conquered local audiences.

With new figures at the helm of the Rio city film/TV policy — Secretary of Culture Marcelo Calero and Mariana Ribas as RioFilme CEO — RioFilme funding now has more of a cultural thrust: The Audiovisual Support Program forms part of a broader cultural funding program announced in April by the City’s secretary of culture, Marcelo Calero. ASP funding is made up of grants.

Ribas was formerly RioFilme COO; Ana Leticia Leite has been promoted from a RioFilme manager to RioFilme COO.

“RioFilme has always supported cultural/art films. And we have also had a strong call from the industry to balance investments. Now RioFilme is trying to balance even more its investments, but we won’t stop funding commercial movies,” Leite said at Cannes. Budget will now be 50%/50% artistic/commercial movies, funding allowing, she added.

Per Leite, RioFilme is talking to TV channels — Telecine, Canal Brasil, Canal Curta, Bandeirantes’ Arte 1 – to hike their pre-financing of films.

International co-production or production service projects in partnership with Rio-based production companies may apply, as long as they are registered with Ancine. However, 70% of the funding must be spent in Rio de Janeiro.

“Rio is traditionally recognized as Brazil’s center for film production and distribution, and RioFilme has always played a key role in the development of the city’s audiovisual industry,” said Ribas.

“Now, Rio has gained even more importance as the city takes centerstage as host to the 2016 Olympics Games and kicks off over 70 events as part of the city’s 450th anniversary. It’s a great opportunity for partnerships between Brazilian and foreign producers and institutions, as RioFilme and its partner, the Rio Film Commission, are offering foreign producers access to the new funding program through local companies.”

“Rio continues to be Brazil’s foremost icon for national and international film, television and commercial location shooting, and the new attention focused on Rio by the Olympics means a huge influx of new projects in multiple formats,” said Rio Film Commission president Steve Solot, adding that Rio Filme and Rio Film Commission would present later in the year a new Producer Matchmaking Program for Rio-based production companies and foreign producers.

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