Despite an Impressive Cannes Presence, Brazil’s Film Industry Finds Its Public Financing in Doubt

Variety | 5/16/2019 | John Hopewell
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Led by “Bacurau,” directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, and Marco Bellocchio’s “The Traitor,” both playing Cannes competition, Brazil has five movies selected for this year’s Cannes, seven if including Acid, the best result in living memory. It also makes Brazil Cannes’ fourth-biggest national cinema presence, after France (46 productions), the U.S. (11) and Belgium (nine).

One more title can be partly chalked up to Brazil: Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse,” produced by Rodrigo Teixeira at Sao Paulo-based RT Features, which, extraordinarily enough, also has “The Invisible Life” and “Port Authority” in Un Certain Regard.

Selections - April - Day - Christian - Castro

Yet most of these selections came on April 18, the same day that Christian de Castro, head of Brazil’s all-powerful film-TV agency head Ancine, recommended staff to halt new and recently approved incentive awards, in a memorandum leaked to the press.

Ancine contributes some $300 million a year into Brazil’s film-TV industries.

Bombshell - Response - Probe - Ancine - Brazil

The bombshell came in response to a long-term probe into Ancine, dating back to at least 2017, by Brazil’s Tribunal de Contas da Uniao (TCU), its government accountability office. It charges Ancine with inadequate accounting procedures that have left 3,000 financing applications still to be processed.

On March 27, the TCU recommended Ancine to halt funding.

Semi - Oil - Company - Petrobras - Film

Semi state-owned Brazilian oil company Petrobras, the film industry’s biggest corporate sponsor for two decades, has also ceased financing Brazilian film productions and top festivals.

Michel Temer, Brazil’s former president, and successor Jair Bolsonaro, have both failed to renew a screen quota obliging local theaters to run national movies. The results were seen last month when “Avengers: Endgame” opened in Brazil taking 94% of the box office share.

Ancine - Subsidy - Stoppage - Alarm

The Ancine subsidy stoppage was greeted with huge alarm.

“There has never been an action as contrary to the interests of the local production as this one,” says Simoni de Mendonça, president of the Sao Paulo Audiovisual...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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