In Brazil, Monsanto and Syngenta Lead Farm Model that Destroys Indians and Environment
The approval of Brazil’s Provisionary Measure 422 (Medida Provisória (MP) 422) by the Brazilian federal deputies on Tuesday night, May 27, a few hours after the resignation of Marina Silva, the ministry of the Environment, confirms that the defense of biodiversity is losing the battle against deforestation and development at whatever cost, which are defended by diverse sectors of the government.
The recently approved MP 422 can be translated as the “legalization of land grabbing”. It deals with the sale of public lands of up to 1,500 hectares without bidding – broadening the limit by a thousand hectares – under the tutelage of INCRA (National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform, or Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária).
Now, MP 422 awaits the company of the Draft Act proposed by senator Flex Ribeiro (PSDB-PA), or PL 6.424, another large incentive to the devastation. This law will reduce the requirement for legal reserves (areas for forest preservation) in Amazonian properties from 80% to 50%.
Both proposals demonstrate the federal government’s priority: to open territory for agribusiness, whatever the cost may be. The agribusiness sector is today the protagonist of the Amazon’s devastation that, in the last five months of 2007, has exceeded 3,000 square kilometers of forest, according to the data of the ministry of the Environment.
It is not a coincidence that the winds point to the North and agribusiness follows this direction. In the Amazon region there exists the largest concentration of terras devolutas, or returned lands, in the country.
This is the basis of a process of occupation and devastation that, allied with the use of the state-owned machine for private ends, opens the space to the diverse fronts of agribusiness featured in the market, especially the extraction of wood, livestock and the monoculture production of soy.
To trade the forest for livestock is an old project. It is known that the initiative to occupy the region with cattle dates back to the decade of the 1950s and was stepped up during the military government when in 1966 they approved the first livestock projects in the region.
The Amazon suffers today with an enormous dose of illegal occupations realized by large landowners, ranchers and soybean producers, developed through land-grabbing and the plundering of wood. The most recent data about the advance of livestock production, for example, is emblematic and frightening.
The amount of area used by livestock in the region is 32.6 million hectares, which is equivalent to the combined area of the states of Sao Paulo, Rio and Espírito Santo. Of the 30.6 million hectares devastated between the years of 1990 and 2006, 25 million where transformed into pasture.
The itinerary is simple: first it is necessary to enclose the land acquired through INCRA – generally in an illegal way -, sell the wood in the area and then, after a small fire to make the land suitable for pasture, use the land for livestock production or, with more investment, for the planting of soy.
The scheme depends on Brazilian export companies and foreign companies. One third of the meat produced in these illegal areas, and a large part of the stolen timber and soy, go outside of the country. That is, part of the surplus of Brazilian trade balance, the principle “benefit” of the agribusiness model, is sustained by the devastation of the Amazon.
This shows the inclination of agribusiness in Brazil: to use land that belongs to all people solely for profit, without taking into account ecological questions or with regard to human conditions for survival.
The problem of the pillage of wood and occupation by livestock is far from being resolved. To the contrary.
Now the attack of these large landowners, or latifundiários, is blatantly a travesty for settlements, the example of the complaints that marked the end of 2007 about irregular projects in Western Pará, in which, instead of protecting farmers, they were being illegally exploited by loggers.
The scandal revealed the existence of a pact between the loggers and Incra of Pará, accused of falsely setting aside areas of the forest for settlements, but which instead are exploited by large-landowners, much of which was denounced by the MST.
In this game, the monoculture of soybeans often works in partnership with livestock; the bean has already expanded into areas of degraded pasture.
The cultivation already devastates the savannah and advances on the Amazonian forest.
Leading this process are financial capital and the large transnational agribusinesses, such as Cargill, Bunge, Monsanto, Syngenta, Stora Enzo and Aracruz, which direct a model of agricultural production based on the expulsion of rural workers, indigenous peoples, and on the destruction of the environment.
Between 1995 and 2003 the production of soy grew by more than 300% in the states of Pará, Tocantins, Roraima and Rondônia, and this expansion is predicted to continue until 2020.
The area of soy cultivation in the Amazon region grew from 20,000 hectares in the year 2000 to 200,000 by 2006.
Most startling and incriminating is the data about the increase of production in Santarém, in the state of Pará. It is a clear example of the relationship between the investments of transnationals and the devastation of our forest.
The area harvested in Santarém jumped from 200 hectares in 2002, to 4.6 thousand in 2003 and today it corresponds to 16,000.
Curiously, it was the year 2003 that Cargill constructed the port in the city, intended as a means to export the beans, began to operate.
The port was illegally installed. Cargill did not submit an Environmental Impact Assessment which is required for such a venture, according to the 1988 Constitution.
The transnationals now look to introduce into the market new transgenetic seeds, further exacerbating the advance on the forest. This is already happening. We are embittered by the recent release of two varieties of transgenic corn by Monsanto and Bayer that can now be marketed.
The decision of the CNBS (Conselho Nacional de Biossegurança) puts at risk the long process of preserving the fields that have hundreds of corn varieties adapted to different regions and for different uses and freely cultivated by farmers.
The gravest consequence relates to the country’s food sovereignty.
Corn is the basis of Brazil’s food structure and the transgenic varieties are cultivated primarily for the production of livestock feed and bio-diesel.
Even if the transgenic varieties are used for food production, the alert remains, due to the disapproval of Anvisa (Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária) concerning the process of the seed’s release, for there is not sufficient data that proves the safety of the beans for human consumption.
For years, the MST has been demanding that the creation of settlements be concentrated in areas with the largest number of encampments, such as the Northeast, the South and the Southeast. We see the forests as the patrimony of humanity and we know that the people most affected by the devastation are the peasants.
This position is upheld by our actions, which are in opposition to the agro-export model. We bet on peasant agriculture developed on small properties, with a basis in agro-ecology, and we know that the small farmers are the guardians of our land.
Brazil Cuts US$ 30 Bi from Budget, Freezes Hiring, and Starts Crackdown on Fraud
Brazil will cut 50 billion reais (US$ 30 billion) from its 2011 budget. The announcement was made by Brazilian ministers of Finance, Guido Mantega, and Planning, Miriam Belchior. According to Belchior, the Dilma Rousseff administration will contract the Getúlio Vargas Foundation to make an audit of the federal payroll. The objective will be to find ways to reduce direct government costs.
Meanwhile, according to Belchior, the government will reduce civil servant travel and per diems by 50%, prohibit new service contracts and end purchases of vehicles. The government will also halt all purchases, renovations or renting of homes and apartments.
As for the federal payroll, Belchior explained that the government would be standardizing it, so it would be easier to cross-check data and spot irregularities.
“In order to spend better we are going to have to go through the payroll with a fine-tooth comb,” said the minister. She pointed out that total payroll outlays by the government are expected to be 199.8 billion reais (US$ 120 billion) this year, an increase of 33 billion reais (US$ 19.7 billion), compared to 2010. The additional expenses are due to real salary increases and new civil servants, she explained.
In order to control spending outside the federal government, states will be encouraged to enroll in the integrated human resources control system (“Siape”) so their payroll information can be checked for people with more than one government job (which is illegal) or retirees receiving more than one retirement payment (also illegal). The data from the 13 states already enrolled in the Siape will be cross-checked immediately in the Getúlio Vargas audit.
Efficient spending means things like shared procurement for goods and services and a crackdown on fraud in bonuses and unemployment insurance payments, said the minister.
“This is the only way we can ensure a real gain in GDP of 5% next year and a primary surplus of 117.9 billion reais,” declared Miriam Belchior.
The breakdown on the primary surplus, as explained by the minister, will be 81.8 billion reais from the federal government and 36.1 billion from state and municipal governments. This year, state-run enterprises will not be obligated to run a surplus as part of the primary account.
Minister Miriam Belchior summed up the budget cuts and the new focus on quality spending by the government by saying that the mantra of the Dilma Rousseff administration could be “doing more with less.”
The budget cuts will reduce marketplace expectations with regard to Brazilian interest rate rises because they will curtail inflation, declared minister of Finance, Guido Mantega.
“Everybody has problems with inflation nowadays. It is not just us. But we are moving to keep things on track so we achieve our inflation goal of 4.5% and these budget cuts are part of the effort. We are not sitting on our hands watching inflation rise,” said the minister.
Mantega added that an important part of the effort to cut spending, hold interest rates down and keep inflation under control would be a minimum wage of 545 reais (US$ 327) as proposed by the government.
He pointed out that an adjustment of the income tax tables of 4.5%, as demanded by labor unions, was going to cost the government 2.2 billion (US$ 1.3 billion) reais in lost revenue. The negotiations on the minimum wage and the income tax table adjustment would move ahead in tandem, said the minister.
Mantega also announced that interest rates charged by the Brazilian Development Bank (“BNDES”) will be slightly higher this year in that they will not receive government subsidies.
Brazil’s Minister of Planning, Miriam Belchior, explained that the budget cuts will mean a halt in government hiring, including people who have already passed civil service exams. She added that there will be no new civil service exams this year.
Belchior went on to say that there may be exceptions and that they will be examined carefully case by case. All new government labor contracts will be looked at under a microscope, she said.
As for the prohibition on new civil service exams, she asked: “If I am not going to contract people who have already passed exams, how can I have new exams?”
No PAC Cut
Minister of Finance, Guido Mantega, as he announced the cuts in the 2011 budget, declared that the cuts will not affect 170.8 billion reais in discretionary spending. Out of that total, 40.14 billion reais is for the Accelerated Growth Program (PAC), which could actually rise another 3.35 billion reais, due to congressional earmarks that have already been approved.
Mantega explained that the cuts were not aimed at bringing the economy to its knees, but rather “…a small necessary adjustment so the country can continue on the path to lower nominal deficits and a reduction of its net deficit.”
Mantega, called the budget cuts part of a “fiscal consolidation,” following the economic stimulus program the government used to boost growth and push the country out of the 2009 financial crisis.
According to Mantega, “The 2011 budget is undergoing fiscal consolidation due to the fact that the government is reversing all the stimuli of 2009 and 2010 that were necessary because of the international financial crisis. Today the economy is growing. Demand is strong. We are removing these incentives,” said the minister.
The 2011 budget approved by the Congress at the end of last year had total spending at 2.073 trillion reais. With the cuts, it will be 2.023 trillion reais.
“This means doing the same thing or even more with less. All welfare programs will continue,” said the minister of Finance. “All are maintained so we will still grow, have public and private investments and, at the same time, keep interest rates down.”
In the past the Brazilian government has put budgetary appropriations on hold – in 2010, the Lula administration did that to over 21 billion reais. However, according to Mantega, this time the Dilma Rousseff administration has made a definitive cut of 50 billion reais from the 2011 budget.
“These cuts tend to be permanent. Our intention is to maintain spending at this level until the end of the year, although there may be exceptions. At the moment, there is no plan to modify the 50 billion reais in cuts. But we need room to maneuver because you cannot foresee everything,” declared Mantega.
According to Mantega, all the ministries were affected by the cuts. “There will have to be a special effort, even sacrifices, for the ministries to operate within the new limits. They will be forced to do so because of the reduction of funds,” said Mantega.
Dollar Out in Brazil-China Trade. Real and Yuan In
Brazil’s Central Bank (BC) informed that it has reached an initial understanding with China for the gradual elimination of the US dollar in bilateral trade operations which in 2009 are estimated to reach US$ 40 billion.
“We have reached an initial understanding and we will begin working on the issue” to use the real and the yuan in bilateral trade said a spokesperson for the Brazilian Central Bank.
BC’s chairman Henrique Meirelles met Sunday with his Chinese counterpart Zhou Xiaochuan in Switzerland where they are participating in a meeting of the International Bank of Settlements.
However Meirelles pointed out that there was a difference between using local currencies for bilateral trade operations and deciding on moving towards a new currency which would replace the US dollar.
“For the US dollar to be left aside as an international reserve currency there must be another currency which must perform that role,” Meirelles said quoted by the Folha de S. Paulo. The Brazilian official also anticipated that there are similar discussions with India to replace the US dollar for the real and the rupee in bilateral trade.
The announcement follows the first meeting in Beijing between Brazilian and Chinese monetary and financial experts. A schedule of technical meetings was agreed two weeks ago by President Lula da Silva during the BRIC group summit (Brazil, Russia, India and China).
BRIC members are considered the largest and fastest growing developing nations.
China became this year Brazil’s main trade partner ahead of the US. Brazilian exports to China in the first quarter of this year jumped 64% compared to the same period a year ago.
Brazil sells mainly soy and iron to China and this year those sales soared 70% and 50%.
Oil is also expected to join the list of commodities sold to China once Brazil begins the commercial development of the recently discovered sub-salt hydrocarbons resources.
In anticipation of these operations the Chinese government banking system extended Brazil and its government managed oil corporation a 10 billion US dollars loan.
China also announced that it was ruling out any “sudden changes” to its foreign- reserves policy. China is the world’s main holder of US federal bonds.
China’s currency policy remains “quite stable,” central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan told reporters, easing concern that emerging-market nations, particularly BRIC may abandon the dollar.
The US currency is expected to strengthen as much as 17% in the second half of the year as North America recovers from recession faster than Europe, according to this year’s most accurate foreign-exchange forecasters.
Without a Plan, No President Can Rescue Brazil, Says Landless Leader
João Pedro Stédile is an economist and a national leader of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement and is known for his acid criticism of the national elite.
Together with other leaders of the social movement, he wrote the Letter to the Brazilian People, in which they demand changes in the economic policy and priorities of the Lula Government.
Here Stédile answers some questions:
How do you see the current political situation in Brazil?
Stédile: It’s very complicated. Brazil is going through a serious crisis. It’s not only because of the accusations of corruption. It’s basically a crisis of destiny. A crisis of the economic model. Our society does not have a development project.
We had an agro-export model imposed by colonizing capital, in the first four centuries of our existence. Beginning with the revolution of the 1930s up to 1980, we had a model of dependent industrialization that industrialized and urbanized the country.
Then came the crisis. The elites tried to get out of the crisis by imposing the neo-liberal model which in truth is not a project of the country, it’s only the subordination of the country to the interests of international capital.
So neo-liberalism neither took the country out of the economic crisis nor represents a national project. Lula, motivated by aspirations of getting into office, accepted making an alliance with this neo-liberal elite, without discussing a project with the people. And the result is obvious: we remain in crisis.
Do you believe that the Lula government can retake the programmatic line that was promised in the electoral campaign of 2002?
Of course. But everything depends on the correlation of forces. It does not depend any more on declarations of good will, either by the president or by sectors of the government or by the Workers Party.
It depends on the possibility of carrying out mass mobilizations demanding changes in the economic policy and a broad political reform that rescues the Lula government from being held hostage to its conservative alliances and its commitments to the neo-liberals.
Is Lula being destabilized by the right?
The government is in crisis but it has not yet been destabilized. The right plays with various alternatives, the first being to keep the government hostage to neo-liberal agreements. And in the worst case, overthrow it, or defeat it politically so that with political demoralization the right can return to win the 2006 elections.
And 2006, the presidential succession?
If it is true that our crisis is about the lack of a project, of a model, of a destiny, presidential elections will not resolve it. We can reelect Lula, Cardoso can return, we can elect Heloísa Helena , whoever we want depending on our party allegiances.
We will only get out of the crisis if we have a national development project that places a high priority on finding a solution for the main problems of the people. The problems of the people include the right to work, income, land, housing, schooling, and culture.
For this reason, we need to confront the foreign debt, the bankers, the huge multinationals, and the latifundium. To make this project viable, we need to bring together the social forces that can discuss it with the people and defend it.
We in the MST are worried about the future of Brazil, not about who is going to be the next president of the Republic.
Do you believe that the country really can do it? Has the “jeito”, or skill, to do it?
Of course the country has the “jeito”. The ones without any “jeito” in this country are the elites, the ruling class, the owners of capital, the owners of the latifundiums, those who are sending our wealth overseas.
Just look, there are 10,000 Brazilians who declare on their income tax that they have money deposited abroad, a total US$ 82 billion. They really don’t have “jeito”. Those jet setters who keep alive the luxury stores in our business centers, they don’t have “jeito”.
But the Brazilian people are hard workers, generous, wise and know how to struggle. Everything is in place to work out okay, if only we can free ourselves from the influence of those above us.
Brazilian President Makes Fun of Wall Street’s Super Brains
The President of Brazil, Luiz Inįcio Lula da Silva said on Thursday, September 18, that he has watched with “sadness” the collapse of Wall Street firms that made economic policy recommendations in emerging markets “as if they were the super intelligent and we were the poor souls.”
“Important banks, very important banks, that spent their lives giving advice about Brazil and what we should or shouldn’t do are now broke,” news agency EFE quoted Lula da Silva as saying in a speech in southern Brazil.
Lula criticized Wall Street firms for treating financial markets like a “casino” and for relying on “speculation” to make money. He said the Brazilian economy is well-equipped to weather the global crisis and would suffer “very little” even if the US sinks into a deep recession.
Earlier in the week Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner adopted a similar stance during a political rally. “While the First World collapses” because of the international crisis, Argentina remains “firm,” she said.
“The First World, to which we had been repeatedly told we must reach, is crumbling like a bubble”, Kirchner added.
“In the midst of the swelling sea” Argentina remains strong. “It’s time many of those institutions instead of telling us what to do, should look around and do something for themselves”.
Meantime Brazil’s stocks rallied on Thursday on optimism about a potential US plan to solve the financial crisis, while the Real tumbled but pared losses after the central bank said it would help ease a liquidity drought.
Sao Paulo’s main stock index, the Bovespa, jumped 5.48% with Wall Street to a close at 48,422.75 points – its biggest daily gain since April. Even so, the stock market is still down more than 24% this year.
Brazil’s currency, the real, dropped as much as 5%, its biggest daily drop in more than a year, as investors sought liquidity in a dried-up market. But losses eased after the central bank said it would offer dollar repurchase agreements to supply liquidity to the market and closed down 2.89% at 1.921 reais per dollar.
News that U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has been shopping around a proposal to Congress that would create an entity to deal with bad debt boosted Wall Street, and Brazilian stocks with it.
The biggest weighted gainer was government managed oil corporation Petrobras which benefited from higher oil prices. It rose 8.05% to 32.20 reais while mining giant Vale gained 7.45% to 34.60 reais.
Banks also rallied, with Itaś, Banco Bradesco and Unibanco up between 6.6% and 8.6%.
However Brazil’s Central Bank said robust economic activity continues to pose a significant risk to its goal of achieving benign inflation despite signs of a global slowdown and a decline in commodity prices.
While Rich Cut Social Benefits We’re Investing More, Says Brazil’s Finance Minister
Brazil’s Minister of Finance, Guido Mantega, informed that the Brazilian government will raise its primary surplus target from 81.8 billion reais (US$ 51.54 billion) to 91 billion reais (US$ 57.34). Mantega made the announcement following a meeting of the Political Council, which brought together the leaders of allied political parties in Congress.
In his comments, Mantega emphasized that the bigger primary surplus will not mean more spending cuts. In February the government had announced budget cuts of 50 billion reais (US$ 31.51 billion).
For some time the government has been signaling changes in fiscal policy. Last week, for example, the secretary of the National Treasury (Tesouro Nacional), Arno Augustin, pointed out that a strong fiscal adjustment policy would eventually make it possible for a reduction in interest rates.
Brazil’s benchmark interest rate, the Selic, is 12.50% per year making Brazil the country with the highest real interest rate in the world; coincidentally, the Copom (Monetary Policy Committee) that sets the Selic, begins a two-day meeting today.
In his comments last week, Augustin pointed out that the cumulative “consolidated public sector” primary surplus for the seven-month period from January to July, reached R$ 91.9 billion, compared to R$43.6 billion during the same period last year.
Augustin went on to declare that because there was a crisis and everyone had to make a sacrifice, the government will not give civil servants any pay raises either this year or in 2012.
“Fortunately, the principal categories are in line and balanced, with compatible salaries,” he said.
Also, last week, Mantega told a Senate commission that the government has reduced its GDP growth forecast from 4.5% to 4%.
Mantega also denied that the government’s decision to announce an increase of R$ 10 billion in its primary surplus target was a signal to the Central Bank just as the Copom begins a two-day meeting.
The meeting will end on Wednesday, August 31, at which time Copom will announce Brazil’s base interest rate for a period that will run to the next meeting on October 19.
Mantega declared that the decision to raise the primary surplus was a response to the international crisis. “We have pointed out a number of times recently that the international situation is deteriorating. So, we are implementing preventive measures. We want to ensure that Brazil does not have the same problems that advanced countries have. The crisis is on our radar screen and we are creating a safety net so that the country can continue on its growth trajectory with a minimum of fraying.
“In the 2008 crisis we were forced to reduce the primary surplus target. Even so, we have maintained a solid fiscal position, which is to say that at no time have we grown as a result of more debt or inflation,” declared the minister.
Mantega added emphatically that the situation in Brazil was dramatically different from that in the advanced countries where everything was being cut: “…they are cutting investments and social benefits. That is not what we are doing. On the contrary, we are making cuts so we can invest more, invest better.”
“Our strategy remains basically the same, nothing is different from what we did in 2008: the Greater Brazil Plan, loosening credit and tax reductions for businesses – all with the goal of helping workers, strengthening small businesses, creating jobs and keeping the country growing. By increasing the primary surplus we are opening the way to more investments.
Our level of investment has increased but remains insufficient for the level of GDP growth we wish to achieve of 5%, 5.5%, or even more.
This is a priority and we have to make it happen,” said the minister.
In conclusion, Mantega emphasized that the increased primary surplus was an important part of a fiscal effort that would make it clear that the government is serious about not permitting an increase in its own outlays to cover the costs of running administrative machinery (“custeio”).
“We have achieved 80% of our annual primary surplus target in only seven months, but we are not going to sit back and take it easy.
It must be clear that we are definitely not going to spend our savings. On the contrary, we will work harder, after all, the extra ten billion reais we will economize is not chickenfeed….
By strengthening the primary surplus at this moment we will have more resources next year, if necessary,” said the minister.
As for the 2012 budget that the government will send to Congress on Wednesday, Mantega declared that it will include a “vigorous primary surplus.” Since the beginning of the year, we have been aware that there would be a slowdown in 2011.
We planned for a very strong first quarter, a weaker second quarter, a slow third quarter but still with growth, and, finally, a fourth-quarter with strong growth, as usual for that period. That is the route we worked out and that is what has happened,” said the minister.
Brazilian Minstrel-Minister Gil Gets Sillicon Valley Audition
After giving a lecture at MIT, Brazil’s musician minister Gilberto Gil went to Silicon Valley to meet with a team of top executives of the computer world. Gil sat for hours with the likes of Jerry Yang, founder of Yahoo, Phillip Rosedale, creator of Second Life, and Joel Hyatt, Al Gore’s partner at Current TV.
The subject was the future of technology. The minister wants to learn deeply about the impacts of the digital world in the world’s cultures. The ministry has a department working exclusively on the subject and has emphasized the development of projects towards the globalization of culture.
Rosedale is now studying the possibility to include the National Observatory on Digital Culture of Gil’s Ministry as part of Second Life. Gilberto Gil who has been having problems with his vocal chords, will take a leave of absence of the Ministry for two months. Back in February, when he might resign.
Once (if) Gil leaves, will all the things he initiated go down the drain? Thinking about continuity of projects, Gil would like to leave his right hand man in his place, but rumor has it that President Lula, who would like to keep Gil in the job, will only replace him by someone also famous. Oh well…
A Green Heart to Save the Forest
Three Brazilian musicians were inspired by the environment and decided to make a CD. Nilson Matta wrote Green Heart, which became the title of the CD. and three other songs. Zé Luis wrote other four songs, and Paulo Braga, four more. It was released by New Orbita, an independent label, at Joe’s Pub in New York, with a very special guest, Toninho Horta, on the 17.
These Brazilian musicians come a long way. “We all drink from many wells,” says Nilson Matta, one of the best bass players around, who started playing classic music and confesses his admiration for Villa Lobos and Tom Jobim. Zé Luis’ quartet is well known in New York.
Zé Luis, an inspirational metal player particularly good with flute and sax, has played with the best Brazilian musicians, the likes of Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa and Chico Buarque. Paulo Braga is called a master percussionist. Together they play to bring awareness to the needs of the planet, to keep our forests safe – they play for life. Green Heart is a must.
The Year My Parents Went On Vacation
A Good Feeling In The Air…
The Year My Parents Went On Vacation is the film representing Brazil for the Oscar’s. By January 10 a short list of 10 films will be out and on January 22 the five films qualified to compete will be announced.
According to Stephen Raphael, Oscar specialist hired by City Lights, “So far, The Year has been in all lists among the first eight, an excellent rate, considering it’s competing with other 64 films. We strongly believe it will make it to the final five.”
Director Cao Hamburger and producer Fabiano Gullane met in Washington with the Ambassador of Brazil in the first week of December. They were in New York for a week for some screenings, meeting the press and critics.
Ambassador Alfredo Graça Lima, Brazilian Consul in New York, hosted a luncheon for the directors, City Lights representatives, press and VIPs at Churrascaria Plataforma. City Lights’ Jack Fisher and Sal Scamardo believe “The Year” has everything to become an all time favorite. Fingers crossed.
Paraty Will Have International Film Festival
Paraty, the charming historical city in the south coast of Rio de Janeiro, is going to have a film festival starting in 2008. Paraty is known as a cultural (and cult) place and its annual book festival attracts writers from all over the planet.
The first International Film Festival of Paraty will be in June of 2008. The producers are already taking care of the reform of the town’s only theatre to give it back to the city in style, for the festival.
Paraty has its own little history related to cinema. It has been an old time favorite to filmmakers, notably in the 70s and 1980s. “Gabriela,” based on the homonymous book by Jorge Amado, was in fact filmed in Paraty and not in Bahia, although the story took place in the city of Ilhéus, in Bahia.
Another famous film, “The Emerald Forest” was located in Paraty, despite the fact that it was about the Amazon forest. Paraty’s rainforest never left any room for doubt of the location of the film; the Amazon was in every mind of those who saw it. Director Ricardo Nauenberg starts filming “O Inventor de Sonhos” (The Inventor of Dreams) in Paraty comes March.
The film is about the changes that took place in the city of Rio de Janeiro since the arrival of the Portuguese kingdom in 1808. Producer Patrick Siaretta is getting ready to film in Paraty soon. Jeremy Irons and Natalie Portman will star the new film. And there is more coming.
It is not too premature to assume that the international film festival of Paraty will quickly become one of the Brazil’s more important events related to the film industry. Paraty has that quality about it; things tend to grow fast and attract the most sophisticated people, not just organizers and participants but a top of the notch audience as well.
Plural Walter Gets On The Road Before Filming “On the Road”
Before starting the film “On the Road,” Walter was on the road pursuing an old passion for cars, participating of the car race GT3 Brasil Championship in Interlagos, São Paulo. After hitting the road in South America with his “The Motorcycle Diaries,” Walter, who also did “Central Station,” is ready to hit the road in the US, to do a film based on the most famous of American books, Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” written in 1957.
No one less than Francis Ford Coppola and his Zoetrope will produce the film, with script by José Rivera. Coppola has had the rights to the book since 1979, because of the difficulty to adapt to the screen, but finally invited Salles, the right man for the right job.
Kerouac’s book, about a wild youth during a cross-country trip, kicked off the beat movement in the US.
Carlos Miele Hits Paris At Saint Honoré
After a three-year wait for the perfect spot, Brazilian stylist Carlos Miele opened his first store in Paris, at Saint Honoré Avenue, between Vendôme and Madeleine Squares. The wait was worthwhile, and now Miele has Chanel and John Galliano as neighbors.
That done, Miele is busy to launch his debut male collection, a look away from the extravagant ways of his creations that drive women out of their heads.
Going more towards the classic, he candidly told the press that in comparison, “man is the woman’s accessory.” In New York, Carlos Miele’s store, located on 14th St. in the meatpacking district, exhibits a touch of art that makes it one of the most enchanting fashion spots in Manhattan.
Petrobras Goes To Hollywood
Brazilian oil giant Petrobras is going to Hollywood. This has nothing to do with the solid high financial investment the company has been throwing in the Brazilian film industry. The biggest of all Latin American oil company signed a branding contract to exhibit its logo and the alternative fuels it makes in a Hollywood mega production being launched in 2008.
Clara Angelica Porto is a Brazilian bilingual journalist living in New York. She went to school in Brazil and at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Clara is presently working as the English writer for The Brasilians, a monthly newspaper in Manhattan.