Partners create pioneering Brazil-Argentina link-up

BUENOS AIRES — Brazil’s Total Filmes and Argentina’s BD Cine have struck an ambitious alliance to co-produce films and TV for local and international markets.

The partnership marks a pioneering early move toward more unified cross-border Latin American content production.

As Europe suffers from crisis and Latin America fires up its markets and state aid for production, it is unlikely to be the last.

A Berlin double Silver Bear winner with “Lost Embrace,” BD co-head Daniel Burman will direct two movies co-produced with Total: romantic comedy “The Mystery of Happiness” and father-son dramedy “The King of Once.”

BD Cine has an Argentine distrib deal with Disney.

Rolling August 2013, with an Argentine star of international standing, “Happiness” turns on two business partners who swear that nothing, not even love, will come between them.

Thirty years later, one disappears and the other, while looking for him, falls for his wife.

Set in Buenos Aires’ Jewish district, “Once” turns on a father who runs the community’s charity foundation, but seems unable to aid his own estranged son.

“Once” is “a kind of ‘Lost Embrace’ sequel,” Burman said at Ventana Sur.

In Brazil, Total is producing primetime TV series “If I Were You” for Fox Channels Latin America.

A spin-off from Total’s movie blockbusters, the second of which grossed $24.4 million in Brazil, the skein maintains the body-switch premise, but launches new characters, Total co-founder Walkiria Barbosa told Variety.

BD Cine will co-produce, with Burman advising on screenplay, and bringing Argentine talent to the series. He may also direct one or two segs, Barbosa said.

The series’ screenwriters, Leandro Matos and Saulo Aride, are also writing an English-language romcom movie, “Love.com,” about a love affair between a celebrity social trend blogger and her equally famous Twitterer b.f.

Total aims to announce shortly a slate of international movie co-productions and move into Spanish and English-language TV production, Barbosa added.

The BD Cine-Total alliance will allow for more international movies with higher production values, Burman said.

Some TV series co-productions will target local markets, some all the world, Barbosa added.

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