Brazil’s beleaguered film industry is getting some vital help from a new partnership between the Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) and Brazilian non-profit Projeto Paradiso, the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has announced.
The new alliance, designed to bolster the position of Brazilian filmmakers in the international film circuit, introduces an annual fellowship of €10,000 euros ($12,000) for the HBF Script and Project Development program.
Projeto Paradiso (Project Paradise) is an initiative of the Olga Rabinovich Institute, a Brazilian philanthropic foundation that aims to support local filmmaking talent and bring greater visibility to their films.
New funding initiative is a much-needed boost given the paralyzed support for cinema in Brazil. Film-TV state agency Ancine’s robust central state fund (FSA) has been frozen for nearly two years since populist president Jair Bolsonaro took office in January 2019.
The incentive freeze came as many in Bolsonaro’s government began to view Brazil’s entertainment industry as a burden on its budget. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated filmmaking conditions in Brazil.
“Considering the current state of public policies for the cinema industry in Brazil, we understand that it is crucial to strengthen our partnership with organizations such as the Hubert Bals Fund, a long-lasting contributor to Brazilian cinema,” said Josephine Bourgois, Projeto Paradiso’s executive director. Founded in March 2019 by Olga Rabinovich, Projeto Paradiso has already been helping Brazilian talent by sending them to various film festivals and events.
According to IFFR, “the funding will not be earmarked to one specific project and will only be granted when there’s at least one Brazilian film selected. Moreover, the selected fellow(s) will be encouraged to share their knowledge and skills with other emerging filmmaking talent through the Projeto Paradiso network, acting as multipliers of expertise within the independent filmmaking community in Brazil.”
The collaboration with Rotterdam Lab, of which Projeto Paradiso was already a partner of in 2020, will continue into this year. Rotterdam Lab will take place this year online from Jan. 25 to Feb. 5.
HBF has backed a total of 66 Brazilian film projects since 1989, with a total of 74 contributions in different funding categories. In recent years, around 75 projects from Brazil have applied to the Script and Project Development program, some 9% of total applications.
Among the notable Brazilian films to tap the fund are Kleber Mendonça Filho’s “Neighboring Sounds,” which premiered at IFFR and was selected to represent Brazil at the 86th Academy Awards, and Gabriel Mascaro’s “Neon Bull,” which premiered at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, where it won the Horizons Special Jury Prize.
The IFFR runs a virtual edition this year from Feb. 1-7.