South Africa and Brazil get into Step
by Liezel Vermeulen
It takes two to tango! The Brazilians at Sithengi are starting discussions towards a Co-production Treaty agreement with South Africa, tapping into the African Lusophone market of Angola and Mozambique.
New Brazilian government initiatives wish to strengthen South/South relationships and acknowledge that 50% of Brazilians are of African descent.
“South Africa and Brazil have more in common than less in common: colonisation, our cultural diversity. and the rich warmth of our peoples” says Themba Sibeko of the Gauteng Film Office.
Ilda Santiago, director of the Festival Do Rio met with Sibeko last year to start connections resulting in a South African focus this year, reaching an audience of 200 000 people. “We have a fruitful way ahead, a lot of exchange culturally and money to make. There is content, there is a market and relationships to be established,” says Santiago. Brazil produces 40 to 50 films annually, with local content strongest in 2003 at 23% against American cinema offerings.
The success of the IBSA exchange between South Africa, Brazil and India had a positive impact on diverse sectors such as motoring and mining, but there is also a need to develop investments in the film industry. Joel Zito Araujo, director of Daughters of the Wind, cautions that the current mindset amongst Brazilian producers is that they should produce mostly with Europe. “We are a very promising cultural industry, al-though it is just starting it will take off in the next ten years”
While there are no formal structures in place at present, “Personal contact is everything, meeting people and understanding each other’s countries,” says Santiago.
“I see a lot of money in Africa and in South America, we have the talent and if we get together, it’s in our hands to say good-bye to everyone else!