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Kleber Mendoca Filho’s “Aquarius,” (pictured) which plays in Cannes’s 2016 competition, is a sign o...

Brazil Films Get Boost From State Aid

By 17:53:00

Kleber Mendoca Filho’s “Aquarius,” (pictured) which plays in Cannes’s 2016 competition, is a sign of Brazil’s buildup as a player whose films are forging more links abroad and being released in overseas theaters. “Aquarius,” produced by Recife’s CineScopio and Said Ben Said’s Paris-based SBS Prods., is set for an Oct. 17 release in France.

“When I left Brazil in the ’90s to study in London, I thought: ‘I’m going to study something that doesn’t exist in Brazil: Cinema!’ At the time, we produced one to three films per year,” recalls Bossa Nova Films’ Paula Cosenza. “Now production numbers have risen to over 100 a year.”

State aid has, in part, driven this revolution. Brazil’s film and TV agency Ancine earmarked 500 million reals ($145.5 million) for production and distribution aid in 2015. That figure dwarfs many Western European nation’s incentive systems. Spain’s main film subsidy budget this year, for instance, is just ¤30 million ($33.7 million).

In 2009, Brazilian film promo org Cinema do Brasil, backed by the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency Apex Brasil, launched a Distribution Support Award offering up to $15,000 for foreign distributors’ P&A campaigns on Brazilian titles. From just nine in 2011, the number of applications skyrocketed to 74 in 2015. That can, of course, be attributed to the plan being far better known now — plus the fact that international distributors are in more dire straits as more audiences watch foreign-language films on VOD. But the number of releases supported by Cinema do Brasil has also shot up — from six in 2011 to 24 last year. And from one in 2004, Brazilian international co-productions hit 26 in 2013 and 23 in 2104, per Ancine stats.

“The numbers are not huge, but they’re very interesting, showing a continuous increase,” says André Sturm, Cinema do Brasil chair. “And they’re from 2009. We had almost zero (releases) in 2000.”

At work is a virtuous circle. “We have the Distribution Support Award. We’ve increased the presence of Brazilian producers and distributors at markets, who have begun to become better known (abroad),” says Sturm, whose Cinema do Brasil also leads delegations to Berlin, Cannes, Locarno and San Sebastian. “Festival curators and directors start to look for their films because they know the producers. We’ve had a big increase of films in official selections, and when that happens, distributors get interested too.”

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