fest becoming marketing point for US, Brazil producers
By Sherri C. Ranta
The business of movie-making between Florida and Brazil's film industries will get a big boost during the 5th annual Brazilian Film Festival from Saturday to May 26 on Miami Beach.
Organizers say the festival, in addition to screening 30 of the latest Brazilian movies, will promote deal-making between producers, distributors, exhibitors and filmmakers in the two countries.
"The festival is a meeting place between American distribution and exhibition markets and the Brazilian film industry," said Tamara Pekelman, spokesman for festival organizer, Infinito Art and Cultural Foundation, a private, non-profit Brazilian foundation.
Approxmately 200 guests from Brazil are expected to come to Miami for the festival, she said. Some come with films they hope to sell for US or Latin American distribution, others come with hopes of meeting sponsors for projects.
The states of Rio de Janeiro and Florida recently agreed to tax-exemption pacts that increase the incentive for film producers to exchange projects and help satisfy employment needs, according to Ms. Pekelman.
MGM Latin America, expected to attend the festival, this week purchased five films previously screened at past festivals for cable television broadcast in Latin America, Ms. Pekelman said.
BR MarketPlace, the festival's newest component will bring together movie industry movers and shakers during a week-long exhibit and seminar series May 20-26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Roney Palace Resort & Spa, 2301 Collins Ave.
"Professionals and experts in the field will discuss new means of generating business, partnerships and support in order to raise the quality and quantity of film productions between the US and Brazil," Ms. Pekelman said.
Representatives from well-known films festivals, such as the Sundance Film Festival and the Independent Feature Project of New York are scheduled to be panelists, she said.
The Motion Picture Association, representing the main US studios, is one of many sponsors of the BR Marketplace, Ms. Pekelman said. Their sponsorship guarantees representation from the big American studios at the market, she said.
Ambassador Lucio Pires de Amorim, consul general of Brazil in Miami, will open the BR Marketplace May 21 at 1:30 p.m. He will be a panelist during the first session, addressing the topic "Globalization, Cultural Diversity and Brazilian Film in the US and International Markets."
The Brazilian event matures each year, said James Quinlan, director of art, culture and entertainment, City of Miami Beach. The Beach hosts numerous film festivals each year.
"They are positioning the festival as a trade show and a point for global distribution what better place to do that than Miami," he said.
Mr. Quinlan predicted the Brazilian film industry is poised to become a more recognized cultural media.
"There is a wealth of cinematic output from Brazil that is amazingly entertaining and interesting product. The festival really opens a window to the Brazilian world and Brazilian mind," he said.
Mr. Quinlan said he and his family attend the opening each year, traditionally an outdoor beachside screening of a popular Brazilain movie. "In terms of a beach event, it is the largest public screening on the beach. It's a wonderful tradition from Rio," he said. "After a while, you don't even notice the subtitles. It really is wonderful."
Opening night for 2001 Brazilian Film Festival will be held May 19 on the beach behind the Roney Palace Resort, where the public is invited to a free Cinema on the Beach, featuring "Hunter's Moon," one of Brazil's few action movies, Ms. Pekelman said. Comedies, dramas and romances are more commonly produced in Brazil, she said.
Rio de Janeiro Gov. Anthony Garotinho is expected to attend the opening night that will also include a short film on the state of Rio the main center of audiovisual production in Latin America, Ms. Pekelman said. Miami Beach Mayor Neisen O. Kasdin, who attended a pre-festival event in Rio is also expected to attend.
Organizers hope to top last year's record attendance of 15,000 movie-goers and industry professionals.
With the exception of the opening night feature, all films will be screened at Regal South Beach Cinema, 1100 Lincoln Road. Admission is $6.
All films will be subtitled in English and each film will be followed by a question and answer session with between the audience and Brazilian actors, directors and producers, Ms. Pekelman said.
Closing ceremonies will be held at 7:30 p.m. May 26 at Manuel Artime Performing Arts Center, 900 SW First St., Miami. In addition to awards given for Best Film, renown Brazilian filmmaker Paulo Cesar Saraceni will receive the Cristal Lens Award, a tribute for lifetime achievement. Celebrated Brazilian actress and singer Marilia Pera give a concert featuring a retrospective of Brazilian music. Tickets for the closing night are $25 and available at Ticketmaster or by calling the Infinito Foundation at (305) 899-8998.
Details: brazilianfilmfestival.com or call Infinito Foundation (305) 899-8998.