Warner Bros is stepping up distribution of Brazilian product, by signing a four-picture package deal with local outfit Conspiracao, which co-produced Brazil's Foreign-language Oscar entry, Me, You, Them (Eu, Tu, Eles).
The studio is investing $4.1m (Real8m) over the next three years in four Conspiracao features: Flavio Tambellini's drama Bufo & Spallanzani; Jose Henrique Fonseca's romantic drama O Homem Do Ano; Claudio Torres' comedy Redentor; and Casseta & Planeta - O Filme, which is to be directed by Lula Buarque de Hollanda and star Brazil's most popular comedic duo, Casseta and Planeta.
Warner will extend an advance towards the Brazilian rights of the four projects, and may exercise its option to acquire worldwide rights.
Brazil has significant fiscal advantages for foreign companies investing in film, including deductions of up to 70% from federal taxes. Columbia TriStar has distributed several Brazilian films, and operates a local production outfit which co-produced Conspiracao's Me, You, Them. 20th Century Fox and UIP have also picked up local titles.
Prior to this pact, Warner had cherry-picked projects from various Brazilian producers, acquiring worldwide distribution rights to Globo Filmes' Orfeu, Ricardo Bravo's Oriundi and most recently to Diler Andrade Productions' Xuxa Popstar, the latest feature starring wildly popular TV personality, Xuxa. The studio expects to invest at least $6.1m (Reals12 m) in Brazilian cinema over a three-year period.
Warner is also active in Argentina, where it produced its first Latin American title, El Mismo Amor, La Misma Lluvia, and Mexico where this summer it launched Coyoacan Films, a production joint venture with Mexican producer-distributor Videocine.
Conspiracao, which will be 10 years old in March 2001, is Brazil's second-largest TV commercials producer. Its film and TV division launched in 1996 and this year it launched a post-production and special effects division.