Piracy is of the major concerns being discussed during RioMarket (Sept 21-Oct 3), the largest gathering of the audiovisual industry in Latin America.

'The industry lost an estimated $6.1bn last year, with Latin America representing 16,7% of that,'' said Steve Solot, senior vice president for Latin America operations of the Motion Picture Association (MPA), which represents major Hollywood studios.

Mexico has the highest piracy rate,at $483m, followed by Brazil, with a loss of $102m last year.

But the piracy rate will certainly increase in Brazil in 2007, after the recent case of Elite Squad (Tropa De Elite).

Jose Padilha's portrait of Brazilian police force has generated a piracy phenomenon in the country. 'It's been estimated that more than 1m people have already seen the movie before its release, scheduled for Oct 12,' said Jorge Peregrino, VP for Latin America and the Caribbean for Paramount Pictures.

Elite Squad has generated a lot of controversy in the country for exposing the dark nature of the police, plagued by corruption. This $5m production was the perfect choice to open Rio International Film Festival, Sept 20 with its world premiere, when even Harvey Weinstein attended the screening. The Weinstein Company picked up the rights for markets outside Brazil and Latin America. Locally, the film will be released by Universal, handled by Paramount in Brazil.

Elite Squad not only translates the hectic rhythm of a big city like Rio but encourages a debate about police corruption in most Latin America countries.

Produced by Zazen, it follows the life of two young police officers who face the cruel reality of crime-fighting in Rio. 'My goal is to convey a dramatic and true account of what it's like to be a cop in Rio. The experience is so intense and challenging that I believe the movie will appeal not only for Brazilians, but also for anyone interested in human nature,'' says Padilha.

Until Oct 3, more industry topics will be highlighted at RioMarket, held at a pavillion built on Copacabana beach. More than 150 panelists will participate in discussions about market tendencies, new technologies, co-production and acquisitions, film finance, Brazilian market, video-on-demand, digital exhibition and 3D, digital TV and entertainment rights.

Once again RioMarket mounts a series of seminars, screenings and meetings, attracting over 600 industry professionals, including distributors, producers, exhibitors, trade groups, sales agents, broadcasters, film festival programmers and film commissioners from around the world.