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set 01, 2017

Last year was a record-breaker for Brazilian cinema

Brazil’s cinema industry had a whopper of a year in 2016, breaking gross income records and reaching millions of viewers across the world. While other industries may have felt the impact of the country’s economic challenges, it appears that the cinema industry continued to thrive and has been praised by critics from all over the world. According to Variety, this is Brazilian cinema’s golden age.

Support from Ancine and Cinema do Brasil have helped Brazilian films and producers land on red carpets at international film events all across the planet. Recent release Aquarius won scores of awards and was nominated for dozens more, including at Cannes, Mar del Plata, Amsterdam, Munich and Sydney, raising the profile of Brazilian cinema across the planet. In addition, last year’s animated film Boy And The World, from director Alê Abreu, found itself with an Oscar nomination.

Brazilian cinema’s international success is continuing this year. Ten feature films are up for awards at this year’s Berlinale festival – with only Germany, the US, France and Canada with more nominations than Brazil.  Of these ten, seven were produced by women and four were directed by women — a record for the festival and a revolutionary concept for the film industry’s notorious history as female unfriendly. Brazilian cinema, it seems, may be able to contribute to the diversity of the global cinema industry in multiple ways.

Within the country’s borders, cinemas recorded 184.3 million viewers across Brazil in 2016, according to figures from the National Cinema Agency (Ancine). Added to the increased number of tickets sold, this put Brazilian cinema’s gross income for the year at R$ 2.6 billion.

Nor is this due to Hollywood blockbuster releases, with an all-time high for the number of Brazilian films released in 2016. Ticket sales to the 142 Brazilian films released last year were revealed to be some of the highest figures since the 1990s. This represents a market expansion of more than 10 percent, compared to the previous year. Brazilian films came to represent 16.5 percent of total ticket sales in 2016’s record year, adding 30.4 million people to the total number of cinema-goers.

Meanwhile, the number of cinemas themselves is on the rise. Brazil’s record number of cinemas was in the 1970s, when the country had 3,276 cinema showrooms. But in 2016, this came startlingly close: a total of 3,160 cinema showrooms were in operation during the year.

Adding to the success of the Brazilian cinema industry is the slow but steady digitalization of Brazilian cinema showrooms. According to Ancine, 99.6 percent of the country’s cinemas already had digital projection technology last year, a process which had been concluded by the end of 2016. There was also significant growth for cinema distributors last year, with the latest figures showing that the participation of national distributors earned particularly well from Brazilian works.

In part, this is due to progress with public policies that have been put into place over the last 15 years. Industry professionals say that the industry actively employs roughly 200,000 people adding to the economy and national GDP. Beginning with Ancine’s creation in 2001, the Audiovisual Sector Fund (FSA) in 2008 and public investments in placement, production, licensing and distribution of audiovisual works, Brazilian cinema looks set to continue as a sustainable and productive industry.