Brazilian Industry Champion Globo Filmes Turns 25, Drives Industry Resurgence

Few companies in the world have had such as impact on their local film industry than Globo Filmes, the feature co-production arm of Brazilian giant Globo, which is Latin America’s biggest communications conglomerate. Over the last 25 years, Globo Filmes has backed more than 500 movies, almost all through co-production.

Those films have collectively sold 260 million cinema theater admissions, an average of over 10 million admissions a year, accounting for more than 70% of Brazilian market share from 1998-2024.

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Globo Filmes greenlights more than 20 movies a year, powering up by far the biggest production slate of any company in Brazil, thanks to article 3A of the country’s audiovisual law, which allows it to tap tax incentives for investing in feature films.

Launching in 1998, Globo Filmes helped accelerate the Brazilian film industry’s recovery after President Fernando Collor de Mello shuttered state film agency Embrafilme in 1990, paralyzing production. Twenty-five years later, after a freeze on government film funding and a pandemic, Globo Filmes is helping power the Brazilian biz resurgence once again.

Many Globo Filmes co-productions are from Brazil’s most high-profile auteurs, such as buzzy erotic thriller “Motel Destino,” a 2024 Cannes competition title from Karim Aïnouz (who was in Cannes competition last year with “Firebrand”). Titles in development include “Rivers of Sand,” co-helmed by Kleber Mendonça Filho, who competed in Cannes with “Aquarius” (2016) and “Bacurau,” a 2019 Cannes Jury Prize winner.

Globo Filmes is diving into diversity, however, backing exciting female directors, such as Juliana Rojas and Carolina Markowicz, as well as Black cineastes Luciano Vidigal, Jeferson De, Gustavo Melo and Luciana Bezerra and Indigenous filmmakers in the Munduruku Daje Kapap Eypi Audiovisual Collective, which is behind doc feature “Mundurukânia.”

In box office terms, Globo Filmes is also powering Brazil’s box office rebound. Three early 2024 releases comedy “My Sister and Me,” spiritual drama “Astral City 2” and family farce “The Beachnickers 2” have sold a combined 5.4 million cinema tickets to date. “Globo Filmes has been a driving force in elevating Brazilian cinema to new heights, both domestically and on the international stage,” says partner-CEO Renata Brandão at Rio de Janeiro’s Conspiraçao Filmes.

Goodfellas’ Vincent Maraval once complained that French broadcasters, which poured hundreds of millions into local film via pre-buy deals, essentially created TV movies.

As a co-producer, Globo Filmes has a vested interest in the theatrical performances of the films, so it also brings to its features the huge marketing clout of Globo itself, promoting titles not only through direct airtime advertising but also on newscasts, digital and entertainment shows, says Simone Oliveira, head of Globo Filmes.

“Globo Filmes’ artistic directors and members of the artistic committee, including vet helmer Daniel Filho, Cinema Novo icon Carlos Diegues, ‘City of God’ director Fernando Meirelles and Argentine director Daniel Burman, have provided invaluable guidance to directors in refining their own cinematic vision,” she notes.

Producers agree. “Globo Filmes is a great partner to Brazil’s independent industry,” says Leonardo M. Barros, a partner at Conspiraçao Filmes. Barros adds that it can draw on Globo, its streaming service Globoplay and channels Canal Brasil and Telecine to pre-buy films.

Oliveira notes that titles shown on the free-to-air Globo channel may be seen by 40 million viewers. “People start to watch Brazilian films on TV for free, realize their power and go to see other Brazilian titles in theaters. It’s a virtuous cycle,” Oliveira says.

The TV window is “really, really crucial,” Aïnouz says. “In Brazil, where tickets are so expensive, cinema is an experience exclusively for the elite and middle classes. It’s really important to have partners like Globo that make films to be seen in theaters but open up a huge second life for movies on television.

“In an age of global international platforms, some from Hollywood, it’s really good to have a local studio where you’re actually exchanging ideas with local executives that understand the market,” Aïnouz adds.

The better a film performs in Brazil, the easier it becomes for “producers to perform well in the international market, and that’s one of Globo’s biggest contribution to our industry,” notes Fabiano Gullane of Gullane Entretenimiento (“Motel Destino”).

In some ways, when it comes to regulations, Brazil is ahead of much of Europe. A recent European Audiovisual Observatory study found that only five of the European Union’s 25 member states, led by France, have specific rulings regarding retention of IP rights by independent producers. In Brazil, when making tax-driven investments, Globo Filmes’ maximum equity participation is 49%. Brazilian producers retain the remaining IP, essential to building their company assets.

Challenges remain, however. Globo Filmes’ tax incentive finance is capped at RS3 million ($577,000) per feature.

“Given inflation, spiralling production costs and the massive devaluation of the Brazilian currency, incentives are worth some 40% in dollar terms of other original value. It’s imperative to raise their caps,” Barros observes.

Brazilian film-TV agency Ancine is in discussions with the Brazilian government to raise Article 3A’s financing cap to $1 million. “It would enable us to raise films’ production values, become more competitive with other national cinemas,” says Oliveira.

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