Film budgeted $16 million plus

Brazil’s rapidly expanding Vereda Filmes and France’s Biloba are teaming to produce Luc Marescot’s “Amazon: the Green Planet,” one of the most expensive Brazilian films ever.

Budgeted at north of $16 million, “Amazon” follows the fictionalized odyssey of a capucine monkey, who has grown up in captivity, through the heart of the Amazon forest, after a plane crash releases him into the wild.

“His journey is an adventure, but it will also illustrate the richness of the Amazon, and its devastation at the hands of man,” said Vereda chief exec Katia Machado

Vereda will retain Latin American rights, Gedeon the rest of the world. Bac Films will handle international. “Amazon” will start shooting in January.

Created by Gedeon Programmes, which produced the North Pole-set “The White Planet,” Biloba was recently created to produce theatrical movies as part of France’s Millimages group.

Brazil’s biggest sales company that’s now aggressively moving into production, Vereda is planning to open a film distribution arm in Brazil in the second half of 2008, Machado said.

Vereda is also launching a second film investment fund, RB Cinema II, to begin operatioins in September, which aims to raise Reais 30 million ($18.2 million).

“We want to be present in all parts of filmmaking, development, financing, import-export, production, post-production. The fund will allow us to raise investment,” said Machado.

Vereda has completed development of its first feature as a production house, drama “Scarlet Moon.”

At Cannes, it is presenting the completed toon pic “31 Minutes, the Movie,” “Fake Blonde” and Walter Lima Jr.’s Bossa Nova-set “Out of Tune.”

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