Meirelles’ ‘City’ turns digital toon

Helmer preps animated content for cell phones, Internet

Helmer Fernando Meirelles’ shingle O2 Filmes is prepping interactive animated content for cell phones and the Internet.

O2, which launched dedicated new-media department O2 Digital in mid-2005, is prepping computer-animated episodes based on “City of Men,” the TV series spinoff of Meirelles’ breakout pic “City of God.”

A pilot episode will be ready by mid-June, said O2 development exec Thiago Dottori. Interactive stories can last 45 seconds to five minutes depending on users’ selection of options.

Twenty-episode TV skein ended its run in December on Brazil’s No. 1 broadcaster, TV Globo; 15 minutes of the finale was animated.

Series’ lead actors will lend their voices to the animated series, Meirelles said.

Skein debuted on the U.S.’ Sundance Channel in April. Palm Pictures has all North American rights to the skein.

O2 has a production deal with Brazil’s media giant TV Globo, which will screen the animated series on its Web site, Globo.com, and on cell phones, possibly through a pact with giant carrier Vivo. At last count, Brazil had an estimated 5,000 3G cell phone and 13.4 million Web users.

Shooting starts May 31 on the “City of Men” feature film based on the TV skein. Meirelles will produce, with Paolo Morelli, who directed several of the TV episodes, to helm.

“This will be the culmination of our ‘City of God’-inspired projects,” Meirelles said.

Feature, budgeted at $3.5 million, will use some of the same “City of God” actors, now in their late teens, who starred in the skein.

Meirelles has postponed shooting of multinational “Intolerance” to next spring. He is mulling two other English-language projects.

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