Brazil’s World Cinema: How are co-productions impacting Brazilian cinema reaction? – Epilogue

Brazil’s World Cinema: How are co-productions impacting Brazilian cinema reaction? – Epilogue

Disclaimer

 

Epilogue

This article was written for the 2017-2018 LACalytics programme, during the post-impeachment time right after the parliamentary coup in Brazil. The following section will discuss some events that took place between 2018 and 2020 that show how the political landscape in Brazil altered what we previously called national alternative cinema production. The developments point towards our former conclusions on the extremely important role international financing – like the WFC – has in maintaining the possibility of such productions, almost counteracting state censorship. Since those events are rather recent, it is hard to find related academic works, especially regarding the cultural debate. This cultural debate is the aim of this epilogue and thus builds a bridge to our former conclusion.

As discussed in the first section of this article, by 2018, when the interim president Michel Temer was completing his term since the 2016 impeachment of Dilma Roussef, Brazil had the greatest year of national cinema production to date, despite his strict economic agenda.[1] This shows that public financing was still on track, even with less available money and government interest. Even with the still present domain of more “conservative” topics, the cultural polarization that took over the Brazilian political debate at the time of the 2016 coup did not spare national cinema production. According to a report of the University of São Paulo’s Monitor do Debate Politico no Meio Digital from February 2020, the “voting pattern of users of the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) shows that Brazilian films that had polarized ratings were predominantly those that received a reception marked by political debate”.[2]

The conservative political class crafted a discussion about how cultural public funding somehow favoured progressive and more critical speeches, which would destroy traditions that allegedly root Brazil’s national culture (such as traditional family values). These criticized progressive demands were joined under the concept of “gender ideology”, an ancient and twisted conservative idea present in Latin America’s politics since the 1990s. This misconception was particularly strong within Jair Bolsonaro’s political campaign for the 2018 presidential election. During his campaign, Bolsonaro advocated for traditional family constellations, and against LGBTQI+ rights, sexual education and the left wing that he accused of taking over the state institutions.

In 2019, the first year of his presidency, Bolsonaro quickly declared his intentions of interfering in the Brazilian national agency for cinema foment, ANCINE, to establish content filters that prevented “pornographic productions” and instead favoured a nationalistic story of “people who, in the past, gave their lives, worked to make Brazil independent back there, be democratic and dream of a future that belongs to all of us” [3], according to Bolsonaro. He declared that if he could not control the agency’s financing actions, he would extinguish it and explained further: “Yes, we intend it to stop being an agency and become a secretariat subordinated to us”. Bolsonaro expressed what motivated this agency occupation: “congratulations on the left-wing. The appropriation of not only the people, but of institutions”, as if institutions, like ANCINE, were previously overtaken by Brazilian left-wing and he must take them back.[4]

Since then, ANCINE, from a foment agency indeed turned strongly into a regulatory secretariat, and since certainly provoked a standstill in the movie sector. Evidence goes beyond direct measures like removing movie posters from its website and HQ[5] and making the use of nationalistic logos obligatory with the punishment of fining (much alike the conservative movements intends to),[6] followed by the presidency proposal of a 43% cut on the Fundo Setorial de Audiovisual (FSA) in 2019.[7] Bolsonaro took advantage of a 2018 episode when all FSA financing projects were interdicted by a recommendation of the Public Audit Supreme Court on investigating irregular projects during 2016 and 2017.[8] The investigative process was inherited by Bolsonaro’s government and fitted as an excuse to keep his agenda, including all of ANCINE’s resources in this investigation.

All FSA’s yearly funding is still blocked in 2020. The situation hasn’t changed, not even with ANCINE and the Ministry of Culture’s declaration about how the lack of available personnel[9] for investigating all 2016-2017 projects would certainly damage the other activities of the sector.[10] Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, neither 2018’s nor 2019’s funds were liberated by ANCINE [11] [12]. By the time this epilogue is being written, not only are 2020’s funds not available but also the federal government postponed the entire CODECINE tax charge (specifically for fomenting film productions) from telephone companies, which composes 80% of FSA’s fund, justified by allegedly protecting the film sector during the pandemic, although this tax suspension is only applied to the telephone companies. With that, the sector loses their source of public financing.[13]

Since 2018, in fact, ANCINE’s national foment of film production is, if not filtered by the government, currently suffocated by it. This new landscape creates other obstacles for movies with less market appeal, which, as shown by our former conclusions, have a difficult path to economic sustainability. This however fits declared government interest in censoring some subjects.[14]

Brazil is among the Latin American countries that consistently submit projects to international film funds like the WCF. The developments exposed make us believe the number of alternative productions depending on it may continue to increase, highlighting even more its importance.

 

Endnotes

[1] Globo, O (2019). Levantamento mostra diversidade dos 185 filmes brasileiros lançados em 2018. Grupo Globo (04 August 2019).  https://oglobo.globo.com/cultura/levantamento-mostra-diversidade-dos-185-filmes-brasileiros-lancados-em-2018-23853388 (19 July 2020).

[2] Zeine, L; Ribeiro, M; Ortellado, P. Nota Técnica 6- Polarização Política na Avaliação de Filmes Brasileiros no IMDb. Tecnic note, São Paulo: Monitor do Debate Político no Meio Digital da Escola de Artes e Ciências Humanas- USP, 2020.

[3] Folha de São Paulo (2019). Bolsonaro diz que vai extinguir a ANCINE se agência não puder ter filtro. Grupo Folha (19 July 2019). https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrada/2019/07/bolsonaro-diz-que-vai-extinguir-ancine-se-agencia-nao-puder-ter-filtro.shtml (19 July 2020).

[4] Folha de São Paulo (2019). Bolsonaro quer tomar o controle de dinheiro da ANCINE em flerte com a censura. Grupo Folha (22 July 2019). https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrada/2019/07/bolsonaro-quer-tomar-o-controle-de-dinheiro-da-ancine-em-flerte-com-censura.shtml (19 July 2020).

[5] Folha de São Paulo (2019). ANCINE retira cartazes de filmes de sua sede e dados sobre filmes de site. Grupo Folha (03 December 2019). https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrada/2019/12/ancine-retira-cartazes-de-filmes-de-sua-sede-e-dados-sobre-filmes-de-site.shtml (19 July 2020).

[6] Folha de São Paulo (2019). ANCINE determina que materiais de obras financiadas levem a bandeira do Brasil. Grupo Folha. (19 March 2020) https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrada/2020/03/ancine-determina-que-materiais-de-obras-financiadas-levem-a-bandeira-do-brasil.shtml (19 July 2020).

[7] Folha de São Paulo (2019). Em ofensiva contra a ANCINE, Bolsonaro corta R$43 milhões de fundo do audiovisual. Grupo Folha. (11 September 2019) https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrada/2019/09/em-ofensiva-contra-ancine-bolsonaro-corta-43-de-fundo-do-audiovisual.shtml(19 July 2020).

[8] Globo, O (2018). Relatório do TCU aponta problemas nas prestações de contas do Fundo Setorial do Audiovisual. Grupo Globo (23 May 2018) https://oglobo.globo.com/cultura/filmes/relatorio-do-tcu-aponta-problemas-nas-prestacoes-de-contas-do-fundo-setorial-do-audiovisual-22710266 (19 July 2020).

[9] Globo, O (2020).  Diretoria da ANCINE cria força tarefa para agilizar liberação de verbas já aprovadas de filmes e séries. Grupo Globo (1 April 2020) https://oglobo.globo.com/cultura/2274-diretoria-da-ancine-cria-forca-tarefa-para-agilizar-liberacao-de-verbas-ja-aprovadas-de-filmes-series-24345033 (19 July 2020).

[10] ANCINE (2018). Nota Oficial do Ministério da Cultura e da ANCINE à respeito do TCU. ANCINCE (23 May 2018)  https://ancine.gov.br/pt-br/sala-imprensa/noticias/nota-oficial-do-minc-e-da-ancine-respeito-do-tcu   (19 July 2020).

[11] Globo, O (2020). ANCINE anuncia medidas de emergência para conter crise no setor Audiovisual. Grupo Globo (20 March 2020) https://oglobo.globo.com/cultura/ancine-anuncia-medidas-de-emergencia-para-conter-crise-no-audiovisual-24317692 (19 July 2020).

[12] Folha de São Paulo (2019). Fundo para o audiovisual está com R$724 milhões paralisados há sete meses. Grupo Folha (22 November 2019) https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrada/2019/11/fundo-para-o-audiovisual-esta-com-r-724-milhoes-paralisados-ha-sete-meses.shtml (19 July 2020).

[13] Globo, O (2020). Empresas de telefonia não pagarão R$742,9 milhões à ANCINE após decisão judicial. Grupo Globo (07 April 2020) https://oglobo.globo.com/cultura/empresas-de-telefonia-nao-pagarao-7429-milhoes-ancine-apos-decisao-judicial-24358338 (19 July 2020).

[14] One short example of a movie production affected by this landscape was Wagner Moura’s “Marighella”, that premiered in 2019’s Berlinale. It is a movie about a former guerrilla soldier from the resistance army against the 1964 military dictatorship, and the indefinitely postponed premiere was appraised by Bolsonaro’s son and city councillor. It did not receive marketing fund from the 2019 FSA due to late response and did not receive the expected fund from ANCINE, losing the bidding notice deadlines. Sources in: G1 (2019). Marighella tem estreia cancelada no Brasil. Grupo Globo (12 September 2019) https://g1.globo.com/pop-arte/cinema/noticia/2019/09/12/marighella-tem-estreia-cancelada-no-brasil.ghtm(19 July 2020); ANCINE (2019). Despacho decisório da coordenadora substituta de gestão financeira nº 15-E, de 19-06-2019 / Publicado no Diário Oficial de 23-07-2019 (23 September 2019)  https://www.ancine.gov.br/pt-br/legislacao/deliberacoes-decisoes-ancine/despacho-decis-rio-da-coordenadora-substituta-de-gest-o (19 July 2020); Folha de São Paulo (2019). ANCINE recusa pedido de produtora de Marighella de reembolso de R$1 milhão. Grupo Folha (30 August 2019) https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrada/2019/08/ancine-recusa-pedido-de-produtora-de-marighella-de-reembolso-de-r-1-milhao.shtml (19 July 2020).

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Guilherme Fellipin dos Santos graduated in International Relations for the University of São Paulo in 2019 and is currently on the master’s program of Information Science, with emphasis in Information Culture, at the USP’s School of Communication and Arts. Between 2015-2017 he was a former researcher at Center of International Negotiations Studies-USP and worked on several projects ranging from analyzing the Chinese economy to working on reports for the United Nations Development Programme about Latin American Drug policies. In 2016 he participated in the UNIGOU research program at the West Bohemia University, Plzen, Czech Republic about Middle-East/ Latin America economic relations and in 2017 published the article named “The Counterculture Cinema in the Cold War and the new social-cultural paradigms“. Miriam Henze was born in Germany but lived since the age of five in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. She graduated in Audiovisual Arts at the Universidad de Guadalajara and studied a semester abroad at the faculty for Social Sciences at the Universität Bielefeld. She worked as a coordinator of the Gender Lab, a project-development platform from the International Film Festival with Gender Perspective in Mexico City, and as an assistant director and production manager in several film productions. Los Años Azules (Dir. Sofía Gómez Córdova, Mexico 2017) is her first feature film as a producer, which was awarded with the FIPRESCI International critics prize and won several recognitions as best Mexican feature, including a nomination by the Mexican Academy Award for best debut feature. Miriam is currently producing her graduate film for her master’s degree in Film and Television Production at the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, a documentary filmed in Germany, Mozambique and South Africa, supported by the (MBB) Medienboard regional film fund and the German rbb broadcaster. She is a scholarship holder from the “Grodman Legacy” University of Guadalajara Foundation-USA and the DAAD. Her professional interests focus on international production, film policy and cultural cooperation.