U backs two in Brazil

Co. uses tax shelter system to produce Farias, Padilha pix

RIO DE JANEIRO — Universal and its joint-venture United Intl. Pictures will co-produce two pics this year in Brazil, according to Jorge Peregrino, UIP’s VP for Latin America.

Universal/UIP is taking advantage of the country’s tax shelter system to produce Lui Farias’s “Os porraloquinhas” (Nutty Kids) and Jose Padilha’s “Tropa de elite” (Elite Force) and will also distribute.

Farias will lense “Nutty,” his third feature, from June to August. Set for a 2006 release, the $1.5 million pic will be aimed at young teens.

“Nutty” is inspired by ’70s feature “As aventuras do Tio Maneco” (The Adventures of Uncle Maneco), which was followed by two sequels and a TV series.

“As a kid, I was in the cast of ‘Uncle Maneco.’ For many years, I dreamed of making a film based on it,” Farias tells Variety.

Flavio Migliaccio, who directed and starred in the pics in the 1970s, will star in “Nutty,” with Regina Case co-starring.

Pic revolves around kids who search for a mysterious uncle in the Amazon rainforest after bandits attack their summer camp.

“Elite Force” takes on Rio’s urban violence, with a similar theme to Padilha’s prizewinning docu “Bus 174” about a bus hijacking in Rio de Janeiro in 2000.

Padilha expects to shoot “Elite Force” at the end of this year with a release in 2006. Zazen Producoes, which is owned by Padilha and Marcos Prado, will produce the $2 million pic.

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