DirecTV dances into doc prod’n

'Chico Buarque,' 'Bossa Nova' to air early next year

RIO DE JANEIRO — Satcaster DirecTV Brazil is jumping into production for the first time thanks to local regulations that force foreign pay TV companies to invest in Brazilian production.

Satcaster is backing two music docs, “Chico Buarque,” a set of three 60-minute docs about Brazilian composer legend Chico Buarque de Holanda, and “7 x Bossa Nova,” seven 60-minute docs focusing on the rhythm of “Girl From Ipanema” and other local hits from the ’60s.

Satcaster will present the docs to its 423,000 subs next year and also expects the works to play across Latin America.

“We are investing 3.2 million reals ($1.2 million) in the two productions. DirecTV still has some money to invest under the regulations, and we are considering several other projects related to music, which is our focus,” DirecTV Brazil’s programming director Rogerio Brandao tells Variety.

Brazil’s government established the rules requiring foreign pay TV companies to produce locally when it created the National Cinema Agency (Ancine) in 2001. Companies must deposit 3% of the profit made in Brazil into an Ancine account. They can tap this fund to make local programs, to which they own all rights.

Since July 2002, when the regulation became effective, companies including the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Turner and HBO have deposited $12.3 million in the account, of which $8.9 million has been invested in 24 local productions, according to Ancine.

RWR Prods. is producing “Chico Buarque” for DirecTV. Doc includes interviews with the composer and clips from Buarque’s performances. Director Roberto Oliveira began lensing in November in Rio and will lense in Paris and Rome, where Buarque lived. DirecTV will air the first “Chico Buarque” doc in January.

One of Brazil’s most important composers, Buarque, also a novelist, opposed the military regime (1964-85) in Brazil and lived in exile.

Giros Prods. is making “7 x Bossa Nova,” which is due to air in February. Director Belisario Franca started lensing in Rio in November. Each doc will focus on a musician who made a significant contribution to Bossa Nova, while the seventh episode will be a collection of performances. Artists featured include Johnny Alf, Joao Donato, Carlos Lira, Roberto Menescal, Marcos Valle and Celso Fonseca.

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