Brazilianproducers need to build bridges with the financial community in order toattract more private production investment, delegates at the Rio InternationalFilm Festival (Sept 21 - Oct 5) were told.

A seminaron production included speakers Joseph Woolf, Citigroup entertainment financingdirector, Doug Hansen, COO ofEndgame Entertainment, and Steve Mangel, president of Int'l Film Guarantors,and looked at new business models for financing Brazilian films.

WalkiriaBarbosa, a producer and the executive director of the festival,told that discussions were ongoing to setup a Latin American film fund with partners including Citygroup, Endgame andBarbosa's production company Total Filmes. The fund is likely to back six toten projects annually, she said, and was attracting interest from other privateinvestors.

"Atthe moment the industry in Brazil is at aturning point in terms of becoming more economically organised," Barbosa said."Every territory needs different forms of financing. Here in Brazil we onlyhave subsidy, which is very important, especially for films for the localmarket. For international films it is necessary to have other types of financeavailable."

Localproducers are becoming savvier about international markets and attractingco-producers. For example, Suely In The Sky, which premiered at Venice was a Brazil, France, Germany and Portugalco-production.

Delegatesat Rio were told that ticket sales in Brazil continueto decline, with 90 million projected ticket sales in 2006, down from around 96million in 2005 and around 114 million in 2004. Local product claims amarketshare of around 11 per cent.

Meanwhile,in a deal made at the festival, Heitor Dhalia's Sao Paolo-set Drained, which screened in thecompetitive Premiere Brazil section, has been sold to Mexican distributorGussi.

MartinScorsese's TheDeparted has also been added to the programme, screening in the Panoramasection.

Additional reporting by Elaine Guerini.