Brazil seeks joint film production with India

Joint production of films could boost tourism between Brazil and India, the South American nation feels.

Brazil is keen to sign an agreement of intent for co-operation and joint ventures in films during the state visit of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who will be the chief guest at this year's Republic Day celebrations.

The agreement is likely to be signed Tuesday.

"We feel tourism can be stimulated through joint ventures and cooperation in films," said Pedro Wendler, international relations officer of the newly formed Brazilian tourism ministry, at an interaction organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

"We are keen to sign an agreement of intention with the ministries of tourism and information and broadcasting here. Such an agreement would be extremely advantageous as it would not only promote cultural exchange but also help Brazilian film producers learn from Indian film industry how they manage without government support," said Jom Tom Azulay, director of the Brazilian film production agency Ancine.

Azulay is part of the official team accompanying Brazilian Tourism Minister Walfrido Mares Guia, who is already here ahead of the president's arrival.

Such an agreement, Brazilian officials feel, would not only enable film makers from either country to use locations in the other, but also create more awareness among the masses about tourism potential.

"We would like to encourage more familiarisation trips between the two countries and also get the Indian film community to shoot in Brazil as they are currently doing in locations like Switzerland," said Wendler.

On January 28, the Brazilian officials are slated to attend a workshop organised by the Indo-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce in Mumbai, where several Indian film producers would participate.

The occasion may see some collaborations being finalised, said Azulay, who has already held initial talks with film producer Pritish Nandy.

Expressing great admiration for the Indian film industry, Azulay said: "I am extremely impressed by the vitality of film makers in India and would like to learn from the industry here how, like their counterpart in the US, they are able to support themselves with no government support."

Brazil produces only around 40 films annually, though it has a more vibrant television industry.

Guia also spoke of the need for other steps to boost tourism.

"There is need to establish synergy in some key industrial sectors that will further the cause of tourism promotion. Exchange of tour operators programme in each others country for better promotion under the 'Caravans of Brazil' programme will be an innovative step," he said.

Currently tourist traffic between the two countries is very low, with less than 4,000 Brazilian tourists visiting India in 2002.

Though there is considerable interest among Indian business and tourists to visit Brazil, trade representatives told tourism ministry official Wendler of visa problems hindering them.

He disclosed that Brazil, which witnessed a tourism surge last year with the arrival of around five million tourists, was planning to set up schools to teach football to visitors from overseas.