By Harold Emert, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – A Woody Allen film shot in 2012 may happen for Rio de Janeiro after the recent visit of the director’s sister Letty Aronson and Allen’s agent Stephen Tenenbaum.The pair reportedly received an offer of US$15 Million to produce the film from a group created by Brazil’s Conspiration film company, including US$3 Million from Rio’s city and state government, according to a report on in the Folha of São Paulo newspaper.
Aronson, according to the report, said the proposed film should cost US$20 Million. “Matchpoint” filmed in London cost US$14.9 Million, while “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” shot in Spain, cost US$17.5 Million.
Brazilian Woody fan Claudio Loureiro, 48, owner of the Heads publicity agency – who made the initial contact with Allen in London – told the Folha “Woody’s sister was initially insecure, with fear of the city but after visiting various parts Rio – including at her request a favela/slum – she overcame her fear of Rio. Her visit changed her idea about Rio. Her brother, Woody Allen, called her almost every day during her nine day stay in Rio, and said he had already planned 2011 for another film, so Rio should be open for 2012.”
Sergio SA Leitão, director of RioFilme, calls an Allen film in Rio, “the cherry on the sundae. The project by the city and state though goes beyond Woody’s film with a priority to invest in local firms involved in what is called Rio Audiovisual. Its aim is to make Rio the audiovisual capital of Latin America.”
But not every taxpayer is enthusiastic with city and state funds being used to encourage the filmmaker of “Bananas,” Manhattan,” and other popular films to shoot in Rio.
Writing in Rio’s Jornal of Brasil newspaper, producer and director Cavi Borges observes “Directors like Woody Allen have big production firms and distributors behind their films, and manage to raise money to pay for new productions. Principally Allen, who is capable of producing and launching a film a year for many years. For this reason, I believe in it is incoherent to spend public funds to make a film in Rio. If he likes the city and wishes to show Rio in his film, why not do it with his own money?”
Despite some recent criticism of Woody Allen, a festival dedicated to forty Allen films opened on November 4 at the Cultural Center of Rio’s Banco do Brasil. Entitled “The Elegance of Woody Allen,” the Festival is showing at prices cheaper than most local cinemas, such flicks as “Manhattan,” “Zelig”, “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” among other works until November 29.
The same festival goes to Sao Paulo’s Banco do Brasil Cultural Center from November 18 to December 13.