Bolsonaro seeks greater control of Brazilian film industry

Still from Bruna Surfistinha, 2011, dir Marcos Baldini

In a speech marking two hundred days of his presidency, Jair Bolsonaro announced that Brazil's film agency Ancine will be moved from the Ministry of Citizenship in Rio de Janeiro to the Civil House in Brasilia, where the president's office will be able to exert greater influence on the funding body. The idea, Bolsonaro said, came from the minister of citizenship himself, Osmar Terra, after the far-right president complained that public money was being spent on financing films that constituted ‘activism’. 

Bolsonaro's definition of activism may surprise some: by way of example he singled out Bruna Surfistinha, a 2011 Brazilian biographical drama directed by Marcus Baldini that chronicalled the life of a sex worker. Having taken $12 million at the Brazilian box office, the highest grossing domestic film that year, it was released on the international market as Confessions of a Brazilian Call Girl.

‘I can not admit that, with public money, films such as Bruna Surfistinha are made’ the president said. ‘Such activism we can not allow out of respect to the families.’

Onyx Lorenzoni, the chief of staff to the president, who will now oversee Ancine, has said the intended audience and the likely success of a production will also be an increasing factor in funding decisions.

25 July 2019