Chilean brothers plan niche, wide-audience films

Chile’s Fabula, co-producers of Abel Ferrara’s competition pic “4:44 Last Day on Earth,” is fast emerging as one of Latin America’s most diversified film producers.

Environmental thriller “4:44″ stars Willem Dafoe in the story of a couple awaiting the end of the world.

Founded by director Pablo Larrain and his brother producer Juan de Dios, Fabula is best known for the helmer’s arthouse hits “Tony Manero” and “Post Mortem,” a 2010 Venice competition standout.

Now, Fabula is teaming with Carlos Hansen’s BF Distribution to produce a gross-out frathouse comedy.

BF also takes Latin American rights.

The laffer will feature “many of Chile’s best-known” comedians, Juan de Dios Larrain told Variety on the Lido.

Co-produced by a Chilean broadcaster, it will enjoy a muscular event-movie marketing campaign in Chile and target audiences throughout Latin America.

“We won’t use Chilean slang or references,” Larrain said. “If a character talks about a politician, it will be Obama or Hugo Chavez, not Chile’s president.”

The move into comedy follows on Fabula’s first experience with wide audience fiction, show-running a 13-seg HBO Latin America original TV series “Profugos,” a drug-runner action thriller involving 3,500 extras and a seven-month shoot all over Chile. That was a game-changing experience, Larrain said.

Diversification also reflects Fabula’s production philosophy.

“A tennis pro plays on different surfaces, grass, clay, cement, so should a producer,” Larrain said.

Fabula will now make three film types, he added: “Very auteur arthouse, focused more on the work than audiences; wide-audience films for Latin America; arthouse or crossover titles comprehensible the world over.”

Marialy Rivas’ “Young and Wild,” now in post, and Pablo Larrain’s soon-to-be announced fourth film are examples of the last category, Larrain said.

The comedy also signals Fabula’s first targeted move to meet one of the biggest challenges of Latin American filmmaking: cracking Latin America’s pan-regional market.

“Only maybe six Latin American films have succeeded in doing that in the recent past,” Larrain said, pointing to “Nine Queens” and “Amores perros.”

Produced with Wild Bunch and Funny Balloons, “4:44″ broadens Fabula’s range yet further, marking the first time it’s produced a film by a non-Chilean director.

“For a company like Fabula, to work with Funny Balloons and Wild Bunch has been a great experience, and immensely enriching to work with Abel Ferrara, a very talented and unpredictable man.”

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more