Even before coronavirus, Brazil’s film sector was in extraordinary trouble, victim of a near 18-month freeze on government film funding under far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.
Now, many executives fear a radical shake out. “We have the incentive freeze, coronavirus, economic crisis, need for a new audiovisual law,” says Fabiano Gullane, one of Brazil’s biggest film-TV producers. The shingle has drama “Paloma,” from Marcelo Gomes, on tap.
“I fear for the future of medium-sized and small companies in Brazil,” he says. “They are near 100% dependent on [federal film agency] Ancine, [and] may well not have the cash-flow to survive the crisis.”
Adds producer Rodrigo Teixeira: “If we don’t have access to subsidies, production will stop, not only because of the pandemic but also the way Brazilian film financing is structured.”
The double crisis will push Brazilian companies into producing for TV as well as Brazil’s digital platforms.
Last October, Teixeira launched RT Television with Anonymous Content and CAA. “Television is certainly one way to go. Companies get paid for making series,” Teixeira says.
But OTT players work with some 10-15 companies in Brazil, no more, Gullane says.
Production volumes, especially regarding movies, cannot replace government funding, adds producer Mariza Leão.
In a major irony, last year Brazilian movies reaped critical plaudits at Sundance (“Divine Love”) and prizes at Cannes (“Bacurau,” “Invisible Life”).
Despite the gloom, some positive news exists. The city of São Paulo’s film-TV agency Spcine is introducing cash rebates for international productions — Brazil’s first-ever big-shoot incentives — and national productions with large international potential filmed in São Paulo.
Spcine hopes to have the rebates up and running in the second half 2020, says its president Laís Bodanzky.
“It’s work for everybody, which we really need right now,” she adds.
Key Brazilian films in the pipeline include:
Director: José Belmonte
Producer: RT Features
Key cast: Dan Ferreira, Digão Ribeiro, Mariana Nunes, Vladmir Brichta, Leandra Leal
Sequel to the bloody, favela-set 2014 action drama hit.
Director: Anita Rocha da Silveira
Producer: Bananeira Filmes
Key cast: Mariana Oliveira, Lara Tremouroux A tale of female rebellion against submission in a neo-Pentecostal Brazil.
Director: João Paulo Miranda Maria
Producers: BossaNovaFilms, Mineki Films
Key cast: Antonio Pitanga, Ana Flavia Cavalcanti, Sam Louwyck
Feature debut of Miranda Maria deals with the culture shock of finding one’s roots.
Director: Marcelo Gomes
Producers: Carnaval Filmes, Rec Produtores, Ukbar Filmes, Gullane, Misti Filmes
Key cast: Kika Sena, Ridson Reis, Zé Maria
Drama about Paloma, a transexual farm laborer, coming into conflict with rural Brazil’s deep conservatism.
Director: Vicente Amorim
Producer: Filmland Intl.
Key cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Masumi, Tsuyoshi Ihara
A Brazilian Yakuza crime actioner from auteur Amorim (“Good,” “Motorrad,” “The Division”).