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Eduardo Cerqueira • Distributor

Brazil: Highly active production, difficult distribution


Eduardo Cerqueira  • Distributor

Although Brazil, along with Mexico and Argentina, is seen as a Latin American country whose cinema reaches comparatively more audiences, Brazilian cinema is today facing a serious problem. On the one hand, there is intense and continuous production, stimulated by filmmaking facilities that came as a result of a national film law created in 1994 and international cinema funds. On the other, there are not enough cinemas in which to distribute all the domestic films made every year. This view is shared by Cine Sin Fronteras participant Eduardo Cerqueira, director for over 20 years of the Usina de Cinema, a Brazilian distribution and exhibition company specialized in national and international independent cinema.

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According to Cerqueira, “In Brazil, a distributor faces huge difficulties in launching a movie commercially, especially alternative, less commercial titles”. As happens in many countries, including in Europe, he believes this has to do with Hollywood’s cultural hegemony and market control. Nevertheless, “European movies actually find much space here, also commercially, thanks to the work of independent film distributors, but only in the main cities. Yet Brazilian movies only get to European theatres when they win major festival awards, as happened with City of God or The Elite Squad”.

The problem is more serious when it comes to film distribution between Latin American countries, which does not happen often despite expectations that stem from cultural predispositions. “There used to be an agreement between Brazil and Argentina, to exchange eight films per year between the countries. It is an effective and simple measure, but it has not been renewed”, said Cerqueira. Nevertheless, he is positive about a increased Latin American film experience now that an agreement on local distribution has was signed in Mexico during the first Cine Sin Fronteras meeting.

Eduardo believes Cine Sin Fronteras helped Latin American and European participants discuss distribution problems and challenges shared by both regions. “European and Latin American distributors face the same problems when it comes to expanding the frontiers of their films”, he concluded.

* In 2007, Mr. Bean’s Holiday [+see also:
film profile
was the 20th most seen movie in Brazilian theatres with over 880,000 viewers.
* In 2008, 89m admissions were sold in Brazil (whose population is over 183m), 10% of which were for domestic titles.
* So far in 2009, 41 Brazilian movies (out of an expected 200 titles annually) have already been picked up for distribution.

Sources: Film B and film industry professionals.

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