Brazil film group focusing on co-prod'n, relationships

Key goal: Promote country's cinema

Brazil's film export program Cinema do Brasil on Thursday announced a flurry of activities designed to promote Brazilian cinema.

Program director Andre Sturm said the first is a co-production forum organized within the framework of the Rio Film Festival. This year's event has a roundtable designed to play off of Brazil's increasing presence in international co-productions.

"It is one thing for two partners to find each other and co-produce a film together," Sturm said. "That's a one-off thing. It's quite another to establish a stable relationship."

Cinema do Brasil also is organizing activities to run parallel to the Salvador de Bahia film cycle dedicated to Brazil's efforts to find markets abroad. The event, which runs in July in northeastern Brazil, will offer seminars focusing on European sales agents.

Cinema do Brasil is present in more than 10 international events each year, including Berlin, Cannes, Toronto and San Sebastian. The program also organizes visits of country-specific delegations, inviting key and leading people to come to Brazil to meet with producers and sales agents.

"Our key goal is to show Brazil more," Sturm said.

The program, with an annual budget of $1.7 million, is funded by Brazil's Federal Export Promotion Agency and Ministry of Culture and run by SIAESP (the Producers Guild of Sao Paulo). Its first action was in Cannes last year, and its official backers have renewed the contract for an additional two years.

The program supports producers, director and sales agents with promotion and structure, including market screenings and ads in trade papers for films featured in the festival.

Elsewhere, Brazil's prolific production house Conspiracao Films has inked with Germany's 2 Pilots to co-produce Toni Vanzolini's "Me and My Umbrella," based on a book by Brazilian pop star Branco Mello.

2 Pilots will take 20% equity in the $4.5 million "Umbrella."