Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro just slashed funding for LGBT films and screenplays

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose elections has worried LGBT rights activists, gestures during a ceremony.

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has halted funding for films with LGBT+ themes, describing such screenplays as “throwing money away”.

The decision will suspend around 70 million Brazilian real (US $17.42 million) from the government’s grant which would fund around 80 movies, including a small number with LGBT+ content and themes.

Last week, Bolsonaro, who has previously described himself as homophobic, said in a live stream that he wanted to change the process for government-funded cultural projects.

The committee responsible for allocating the funds will be restructured during the suspension, which is set to last up to 360 days.

Speaking to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, film director Emerson Maranhão said the president was “harming 80 projects” in order to censor his.

Maranhao applied to receive funding for his work Transversais, a five-part documentary series about the lives of five transgender people in Brazil.

Jair Bolsonaro, presidential candidate for the Social Liberal Party, attends an interview for Correio Brazilianse newspaper in Brasilia on June 6, 2018. - Brazil holds general elections in October. (Photo by EVARISTO SA / AFP) (Photo credit should read EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images)

Bolsonaro threatened to shut down Brazil’s federal film funding agency (EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty)

“The first project he called out was ours, and in such a pejorative and dishonouring way,” he said.

Producers and directors affected by the move are reportedly planning legal action to block the president’s decision.

In July, Jair Bolsonaro threatened to shut down Agencia Nacional do Cinema (ANCINE), the federal film funding agency, if it refused to apply government-backed “filters” on the movies it invested in.

He also announced ANCINE’s offices would be moved from Rio de Janeiro, where the film industry is concentrated, to the political capital Brasilia.

At the announcement event, he criticised the agency and said it should support projects that reflect “family values”.

At the beginning of the year, Bolsonaro and his government revealed plans to erase all mentions of homosexuality, feminism and violence against women from school textbooks and exams.

“One of the goals to take Brazil from the worst positions in the world’s education rankings is to combat the Marxist waste that has spread in educational institutions,” he said.

“Together, with the minister of education and others involved, we will evolve into creating citizens and no more political militants.”