Germany’s The Match Factory, traditionally one of Europe’s most prominent sales companies at the Berlin Festival, has taken world sales rights to Berlin Golden Bear contender “Praia do Futuro,” from Brazil’s Karim Ainouz (“Madame Sata,” “The Silver Cliff).
As Brazilian film production mounts in volume, with 127 releases last year – a modern high – plus international ambition, “Praia” reps a pioneering Brazil-Germany co-production linking Brazil with one of the major European movie powerhouses.
It also marks a step-up in budget for Ainouz and the first time he has worked with an international cast, said Georgia Costa Araujo at Sao Paulo’s Coracao da Selva, its lead producer.
Exploring the artistic potential of an a Brazil-Germany link-up, “Praia” kicks in at the real-life Praia do Futuro in Ainouz’s home city of Fortaleza, on Brazil’s north-east seaboard, where a Brazilian lifeguard save a German tourist from drowning. The two men fall in love, move to Berlin. Seven years later, in a city that symbolizes reunification, the lifeguard’s younger sibling, who worshipped him, arrives to confront his brother and ask why he left Brazil without uttering a word.
The one-man anti-drug cartel/corruption machine of Jose Padilha’s “Elite Squad” franchise, edgy revolutionary Spider in Neill Blomkamp’s “Elysium,” and a short-fused gangster in Heitor Dhalia’s “Bald Mountain,” the chameleon Brazilian star Wagner Moura broadens his c.v. yet further playing the lifeguard. Clemens Schick (“Casino Royale”) is the German tourist, Jesuita Barbosa, who won best actor at October’s Rio Fest for his turn as a sexual ingenue in “Tattoo,” plays the younger brother.
A long-term exec at Fernando Meirelles’ o2 Filmes, Hank Levine produces out of Germany; Christopher Zitterbart of Germany’s Watchmen Productions co-produces. HBO Latin America has acquired Latin American pay TV rights.
“Praia” is Ainouz’s first feature at Berlin. A member of the generation of filmmakers that broke through in the wake of Walter Salles’ 1998 milestone “Central Station” as film financing facilities mounted in Brazil, Ainouz’s debut, 2002’s “Madame Sata,” a portrait of a legendary 1930s gay streetfighter, played Cannes’ Un Certain Regard.
2007’s woman’s empowerment tale “Love For Sale,” and 2011’s Brazilian north-east road movie, “I Travel Because I Want To, I Come Back Because I Love You,” a directorial two-hander with Marcelo Gomes, both played Venice’s Horizons section. “The Silver Cliff” – like “I Travel” a film about a character reacting to abandonment – screened in Cannes’ 2011 Directors’ Fortnight.