Rio2C Hits Record Numbers, Hosts Carlos Saldanha, Ron Leshem Keynotes 

RIO DE JANEIRO — Latin America’s largest creativity event, Rio2C, will gather over June 4-9 at the Cidade das Artes complex, in Rio de Janeiro, about 50,000 participants, up from 44,000 last year, including some 1,600 speakers and representatives of about 1,100 companies.

Modelled after SXSW, the fifth in-person edition of Rio2C will feature over 500 panels designed to promote the convergence of film/TV, music, innovation, tech, games, publishing, science, fashion, sustainability and sports.

Rio2C 2024, which has “The Age of Awareness” as the central theme, opens Tuesday, June 4 with five summits, followed by three days of conferences and the market. The event wraps on the June 8-9 weekend with Festivalia, majorly attended by music and tech fans.

Virtually all big international film and TV groups established in Brazil will be at Rio2C. Some of them will present sessions highlighting aspects of their operations and new projects, such as Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery/Max, as well as local leading media group Globo.

“Rio2C is key for Brazil’s film and TV sector, because it gathers the main market players and promotes essential exchanges and reflections. Warner Bros. Discovery participates actively in the event with panels and discussions, and believes the synergy strengthens the industry and stimulates the production of quality local content,” says Monica Pimentel, VP of content at WBD Brasil.

Rio2C 2024 will see a record attendance of foreign participants. The list of international speakers includes Ron Leshem whose credits take in “Euphoria” and “No Man’s Land”; Armando Bo, AN original screenplay Oscar winner for “Birdman;” Caleeb Pinkett, producer of series “Cobra Kai;” Editi Effiong, helmer of feature “The Black Book” and a leading producer in Nigeria’s Nollywood; Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn, writer-directors of Venice winner “The Distinguished Citizen” and creators of series “Nada,” “The Boss” and “Bellas Artes;” and Axel Kuschevatzky, producer of “Argentina, 1985.”

Carlos Saldanha, the Brazilian animator who helmed smash hit  feature-length animations, such as “Ice Age: The Meltdown,” “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” “Rio,” “Rio 2” and “Ferdinand,” is another Rio2C speaker with an outstanding international career.

The increasingly strong presence of international creatives and execs is one the highlights of this year’s event. Ezequiel Olzanski, CEO of EO Media, an international content distribution and production company based in Latin America, is attending Rio2C for the first time.

“Rio2C must be considered a very relevant event, given the undeniable importance of Brazil both in size and value for our industry, not only for Latin America but globally. A territory that could be considered, given the population and own language, a continent itself,” says Olzanski, who previously worked for Gaumont, MarVista and Endemol.

Sandra de Castro Buffington, co-producer of doc “Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power” and founder of Global Media Center for Social Impact da UCLA, is also attending the event for the first time.

“Rio2C is the pinnacle of creativity and connection for the entertainment industry. It reveals the enormous opportunity for co-productions between Hollywood and Latin America’s top creators and enables strategic connections and partnerships to emerge,” Buffington says.

The presence of nearly all top production and distribution companies in Brazil at Rio2C offers large networking opportunities.

“Rio2C is the main gathering of the film and TV industry in Brazil, with relevant results for companies and executives in terms of business and reflection about the present and future of our sector. It is a must-go event for everyone who works with the creation, commercialization and exhibition of film and TV content in the country,” says Sergio Sa Leitao, Brazil’s former Minister of Culture, who is currently director of Sao Paulo-based production company Cine.E.

The predecessor of Rio2C is RioContentMarket, a smaller film and TV event held from 2011 to 2017 in a hotel in Rio. In 2017, Brazilian entrepreneur Rafael Lazarini licensed the RioContentMarket mark with ambitious plans to expand the event.

Lazarini, who has a background in marketing and studied media and entertainment management at UCLA, worked for big companies in Brazil and the U..S, such as Petrobras and Rogers and Cowan. He says he envisioned an event with the current structure of Rio2C when he first attended South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, in 2007.

“In Brazil, film and TV creatives did not talk to music, tech, publishing and other talents. Everyone kept to his or her own boxes. In South by Southwest, I understood how an event could help them to interact and work together. They are complementary sectors and got to talk to each other,” said Lazarini, who currently twins the position of Rio2C’s CEO with the one of giant Live Nation’s senior VP and head of business development for Latin America.

Instead of starting from scratch, Lazarini decided to buy RioContentMarket, mostly a film and TV event, and incorporate new areas. Again, the model was SXSW, whose predecessor was a music conference, he said.

The first Rio2C was held in 2018 in Cidades da Artes and the event grew from about 5,000 participants in RioContentMarket 2017 to this year’s expected 50,000.

What’s next?

“As South by Southwest, we intend to create spin-offs of Rio2C, sector events for specific creative industries,” Lazarini said.

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