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Brazil’s Diana Almeida: Beginner’s Luck?

First pic she ever produced reps Brazil in the Oscars and snags U.S. release

BUENOS AIRES – Spurred by the unexpected success of her first producing gig, “The Way He Looks,” Brazil’s Diana Almeida, 31, has set up a slew of projects at her shingle, Lacuna Filmes.

Just as “The Way He Looks” (“Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho”) was helmer-scribe Daniel Ribeiro’s feature debut, Almeida is looking to bring several newcomers to the bigscreen. A partner at Lacuna Filmes, Ribeiro, 32, is prepping his next pic (no details yet), and recently signed with L.A.-based 3 Arts Entertainment management.

“I already feel like a winner by just having my first produced film representing Brazil at the Oscars,” said Almeida.

A critical and local hit, the coming-of-age gay teen drama also snagged the Holy Grail: U.S. distribution. Strand Releasing distributed pic in theaters across the U.S. in November. Films Boutique sold the drama to more than 25 territories after its world premiere in Berlin, where it won the Fipresci Best Film and Teddy awards.

Lacuna Filmes pics in the pipeline, all feature debuts, with budgets ranging between $500,000 and $2 million, include the following:

“A Lovely Way to Die” (“Musica para Cortar os Pulsos”)

Dir/Script: Rafael Gomes

Romantic drama based on the hit Brazilian play “Musica para Cortar os Pulsos” (Music to Cut Your Wrists By) turns on three twentysomethings and the romance (or lack of it) in their lives.

“Butterfly Diaries” (“Diario de Viagem”)

Dir/Script: Paula Kim

A coming-of-age drama set against the economic resurgence of Brazil and London in the ‘90s where the lead character’s depression and anorexia are aggravated by difficulties at her liberal private school and participation in an overseas exchange program. Project, which went through the Bolivia Lab, just received funding from Sao Paolo state that will cover 13% of the budget. Almeida is seeking co-producers.

 “28, 32 and 36” (“28, 32 e 36”)

Dir/Script: Thiago Villas Boas

A drama set in Sao Paola about a gay couple, one an intellectual, the other a stylist, and the course of their romance from ages 28 to 36.

 

“Prey” (“Presa”)

Dir/Script: Joao Candido Zacharias

Drama inspired by real events centers on an underage prostitute who is thrown into jail with dozens of men who subject her to all kinds of abuse, physical and psychological.

Seeking co-producers.

“Soledad”

Dir: TBD

Scribe: Rogerio Cathala

Titular character is a Paraguayan communist who joins the resistance against the Brazil’s brutal military regime in the ‘70s. She falls in love with a rebel who betrays her. Almeida may not necessarily tap a newcomer for the $2 million-budgeted “Soledad,” the most expensive of the slate, and on which she is also seeking co-producers. “I imagine a big film, so maybe a second or third- time director would be great.”

“Butterfly Diaries” and “A Lovely Way to Die” are likely the first to go into production.

 

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