Passaro Ready for ‘Sea Change’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Sea Change

Katia Machado’s Rio shingle sets 2014-15 slate

RIO DE JANEIRO — Katia Machado’s Rio-based Passaro Films will go into production next February on feel-good mystery drama “Sea Change,” the feature film debut of Marcos Guttmann, and one of four projects of the 2014 slate of one of Brazil’s foremost art film producers.

Also featuring Marcos Bernstein’s “The Therapy of Revenge,” Belisario Franca’s 1913 epic thriller “The Left-Sided Man” and “Scarlet Moon,” from another debutant, Waldir Xavier, the slate rolls off ever-more muscular potential funding from Brazil’s Fondo Sectorial Audiovisual (FSA), the country’s subsidy find managed by government film-TV agency Ancine, plus Passaro’s large competitive advantage of a thoroughgoing knowledge of international markets, both its sales agents and potential co-producers.

Guttmann, Melanie Diamantes and Raphael Cardoso are adapting Rubens Figueiredo’s novel “Barco a seco,” which won the prestigious Brazilian Jabuti Award. A suspense drama, “Sea Change” turns on Gaspar, the world’s greatest expert on Brazilian painter Emilio Vega, a genius who drowned at sea 50 years before. Gaspar is about to publish his definitive biography when a 98-year-old man and his wife knocks on his door; the man claims to have been a friend of Vega’s in his youth. “Sea Change” contrasts Gaspar’s account of Vega’s life with the real story.

Financing on the pic mixes an FSA subsidy with tax-coin from utility giant Petrobras and telco Oi.

A partner on “Faroeste Caboclo,” Marcello Maia’s Republica Pureza Filmes, which co-produces with Solar Filmes, will also release “Sea Change” in Brazil under its new distribution label, Ludwig Maia Arthouse, Machado said.

The producers will also approach Brazilian pay TV operators and, when they have a promo, a select number of international sales agents. Revenues from international could take “Sea Change” into profits, she added.

Bernstein has completed a screenplay for action thriller “The Therapy of Revenge,” his follow-up to “My Sweet Orange Tree,” which Passaro also produced.

“Therapy” tracks a lawyer who seeks revenge after his son takes a stray bullet in a cops-delinquents highway shootout and his life falls apart.

Machado said she aims to sign up a major international star from Brazil for the lead role, then approach international sales agents.  Beyond “The Left-Sided Man,” which Katia Machado describes as a “Sherlock-Holmes-Meets-Jack-the Ripper,” a very sexy, male-orientated period serial killer thriller, Passaro aims to set up “Scarlet Moon” as a Brazil-France co-production. Antoine Heberle, the d.p. on Bruno Barreto’s “Last Stop 174,” will serve as cinematographer on “Moon.”

Set in a benighted village in Brazil’s interior, “Moon” turns on a sister who, knocking 40, suddenly realizes there is more to life than caring for her younger autistic sister.

“I try to make films that can have a very long life, on cable, VOD, and travel outside Brazil. Most of my films are financed with public money, so that’s very important,” Machado said.

“Having said that, films should be seen by the maximum amount of people possible,” she added.

Three of Passaro’s four movies have thriller or suspense heft; “Moon” packs a surprise finale, Katia Machado said.

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