Many attendees of Brasil Documenta left Rio de Janeiro witha hangover of cautious optimism. The international doc forum, hosted by Brazilian pay-TV outlet GNT/Globosat and Brasil Telecom from November 4 to 8, 2002, aims to reduce the gap between Brazil’s documentary community and the rest of the world, hopefully with the result of increased international coproduction. It made a good first step – for an event only in its second year, it attracted an impressive number of commissioning editors.
Those who made the trip from abroad include BBC ‘Storyville’ commissioner Nick Fraser; Alex Holmes, creative director of documentaries at the BBC; Mette Hoffmann Meyer, head of sales and coproduction for TV 2 Denmark; Stephen Segaller, director of news and public affairs programming for New York, U.S. pubcaster Thirteen/WNET; Anna Glogowski, out-going director of documentaries at Canal+; and Christoph Jörg, a ‘Thema’ commissioning editor at ARTE France.
They weren’t there just for Rio’s sun, sand and boozy caipirinhas (although these were nice additions to the schedule). A screening of director José Padilha’s Bus 174 generated acquisition interest from both Fraser and Jörg, among others.
A number of projects pitched during the forum, which took place on the last day of sessions, also raised genuine interest from the international delegates (see also page 27). But, many said the lack of domestic broadcasters with which to collaborate (several have scaled back program investment in the wake of corporate and national economic troubles) makes it difficult to foster dynamic ties with the country.
So, while the event left little doubt that Brazil has a rich supply of fresh, sophisticated factual films, the gap remains. Perhaps the organizers’ most significant achievement was proving that Latin America needs a modern documentary market. The second step, then, is to attract colleagues from the rest of the region.