By Julia Melim
Brazil has attracted many production companies, directors and film crews from all over the world to shoot at the great landscapes and diverse scenarios it offers. Movies such as Incredible Hulk, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull have chosen various locations around Brazil, featuring scenes in Rio and the Amazon rainforest.
“I was intrigued by the mature film industry in Brazil and was also surprised to learn of the enormous commercial production market. Hundreds of international commercials are produced in Brazil every year that vary from multi-million dollar productions to very low budget productions”, producer Eric Eason said.
Brazil’s locations can be seen in various films in Europe, U.S. and many commercials and music videos around the world. Sometimes they are not even recognizable because even though the country is well known for its tropical settings, it has a lot more to offer than just beautiful beaches, samba and soccer.
The stairs in Lapa where Bruce Banner walks down while trying to escape his anger and become the Incredible Hulk, are the same stairs where Snoop Dogg is sitting with Pharrell in his music video for the song “Beautiful”. Snoop’s music video was entirely shot in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He dedicates the song to the beautiful women in Brazil, showing Brazilian bikinis and many curves.
Snoop also features landscapes such as the Guanabara Bay, The Sugar Loaf, Christ the Redeemer and the Copacabana Beach. He shows a little bit of everything Brazil is known for, beautiful women, tropical beaches, soccer, and adds a touch of Brazilian drums towards the end of the video. Snoop performs inside the “favelas”, on the streets of Rio and in Lage Park (Parque Lage), showing Rio’s historical architecture.
“After our visit I was very surprised at the diversity of locations and even more so the diversity of the population there.” producer Roger Zorovich said. “Everything from modern urban environments, to classical European architecture, NY feel, Havana, Old New Orleans it’s all there in one part of the country or another,” he said.
Even Michael Jackson shot his music video for the song “They don’t care about us” in Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, while performing with the Brazilian drummers Olodum. He shows the simplicity of the people, dancing in the streets made of stones against a backdrop of the traditional colorful houses in the Northeast.
Even if Brazil is not being featured, there are many advantages to shooting in Brazil. “I was amazed at how certain sections of Sao Paulo resembled New York City while others resembled Los Angeles. This is extremely advantageous for film production since the currency exchange is favorable,” Eason said.
The foreign production companies should seek a partnership with a local production company, which will be responsible for overseeing the whole production process while in Brazil. In addition, since the population is so diverse, it is easy to cast for smaller roles or background for any kind of production.
Alongside with the great locations and mixed ethnicities, Brazil offers many other resources such as experienced crews, wellequipped production companies and highend post-production facilities. Big production companies, such as Video Filmes, O2 Filmes, Globo Filmes and Conspiraçao are responsible for the latest Brazilian movies that made it into the international scenario, and they are capable of supporting a big budget film or any other productions from anywhere in the world.
Film directors such as Fernando Meirelles, Walter Salles, Andrucha Waddington and Jose Padilha have become A-list directors in Hollywood, after movies like City of God, Central Station, House of Sand and Elite Squad hit the international arena. Many Brazilian movies make their way to the U.S. through film festivals, especially festivals destined to Brazilian or Latin Cinema. The Brazilian Consulates has been supporting the initiative of many Brazilian Film Festivals and Brazilian filmmakers in the U.S. and now we have more Brazilian Film Festivals than ever.
Thereza Maria Machado Quintella, former Consul General of Brazil in Los Angeles (until May 2008) have said: “The acclaimed revival of the Brazilian cinema with its talented, creative and bold filmmakers, reflects a new phase of intellectual and artistic movement in which Brazilians are recovering their self-esteem with two important outcomes. On the one hand ensuring the preservation of our cultural and regional diversity, on the other allowing Brazil to show how we see the world, thus creating a dialogue with other cultures.”
Brazilian cinema is now recognized all over the world. Brazil not only exports talent, it also invites foreign crews to take a trip to the outstanding production companies in the region. If foreign productions were interested in Brazil for the exotic nature of the country in the past, now they come to Brazil for the production and post-production facilities matched to the international standards. Whether the country offers beautiful scenarios, exotic women or the “magia” of soccer, one thing is for certain: Brazil has the goods!
Festival of Cinema in U.S. Usually Featuring Brazilian Films
Miami Brazilian Film Festival – www.brazilianfilmfestival.com
Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival – www.labrff.com
Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival – www.hbrfest.com
New York Brazilian Film Festival – www.brazilianfilmfestival.com
Los Angeles Latino Film Festival – www.latinofilm.org
Los Angeles Film Festival – www.lafilmfest.com
San Francisco Latino Film Festival – www.latinofilmfestival.org
San Diego Latino Film Festival – www.sdlatinofilm.com
Pan African L..A Film Festival – www.paff.org
Newport Beach Film Festival – www.newportbeachfilmfest.com
Santa Bárbara International Film Festival – www.sbiff.org
Backlot Film Festival – www.backlotfilmfestival.com
* Julia Melim is a Brazilian actress, TV host/reporter and writer. She lives between Rio, Los Angeles, New York and Miami. She is a long-time Soul Brasil contributor writer – www.juliamelim.com