Underlining its growing enthusiasm for supporting high profile international productions, Brazilian outfit RioFilme is in talks to back Phillip Noyce’s remake of martial arts film, Bloodsport. This follows on the city-owned audiovisual investment company’s $500,000 investment in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1.

Speaking during the Rio International Film Festival (Oct 6-18), RioFilme’s Director/President Sérgio Sá Leitão said: “Our main focus is to promote the growth of our local film industry (but) we saw the attraction of international production as a way to attract investment to our production services sector.”

RioFilme struck an agreement with Summit that in return for the $500,000 investment in Twilight, the American producers would spend at least $3m in Rio. “It was a way to attract investment. We invested through the production service companies that were working for Summit,” Leitão said. “Why we chose this film was that we thought, reading the script that not only would it be a way of attracting investment to the local production services companies but also that it would be a good way of promoting Rio.”

Since 2009 (the year in which the Rio Film Commission was launched), RioFilme has invested heavily in development, production and distribution.

Between 2009 and 2011, RioFilme invested around $35m (60m reals) in 170 audiovisual projects. As an equity investor and distribution investor, the outfit is looking to recoup and thereby become self-sustaining.

 “We are trying to become independent from the city,” Leitão commented. At present, RioFilme has achieved an 89% return rate. (For every Real it invests, it has recouped 89 cents.)

 One key RioFilme project, the Free Cinema Campaign, has been celebrated this week with screenings in Cine Carioca. This is the new cinema built in Complexo Do Alemão, Rio’s largest favela community and, for many years, a no-go area for the police. The 93 seat cinema opened last December with a screening of Tron. 65,000 spectators have already been attracted to the venue, making it one of the most successful cinemas in all of Brazil (with an occupancy rate of 55%.)

The cinema is credited with “killing” the once thriving piracy business within Complexo Do Alemão.