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Brazil’s TV Zero Greenlights ‘Name of Death’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Production house’s ‘Lady of Images’ screns in Locarno’s Carte Blanche

LOCARNO – Expanding Rio de Janeiro production house TV Zero, whose “Lady of Images” screens in Locarno’s pix-in-post section Carte Blanche Monday, will partner with Globo Filmes to produce London-based Henrique Goldman’s psychological thriller “Name of Death,” the true story about a Brazilian hit-man with 492 victims. All victims were carefully annotated.

TV Zero has just co-produced Julien Temple’s “Rio 50 Degrees, Carry on Carioca,” partnering with London’s F&ME.

In an industry whose major challenge is not now financing but screenplays, “Name” is written by George Moura, co-scribe of 2008 Cannes competition entry “Linha de Passe,” from Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas, and this year’s “Getulio,” from Joao Jardim, about the suicide of Brazilian dictator Getulio Vargas in 1954. He also pens Globo TV series.

Goldman is best known for directing “Jean Charles,” starring Selton Mello, the true story of an innocent Brazilian gunned down by British police after London terrorist alerts in 2005.

Also backed by RioFilme, the powerful movie/TV investment fund, and tapping into federal state aid from Brazil’s now huge Fundo Setorial do Audiovisual (FSA), “Name” is now a greenlit project which will go into production early 2015, TV Zero producer Rodrigo Letier said at Locarno.

“Name” marks a move towards genre for TV Zero as a clutch of top Brazilian production companies – think Gullane and Dezenove, both at Locarno, and Bananeira, – rapidly diversify their slates in a bigger and more sophisticated play for audiences at home and abroad.

First producing documentaries in the ‘80s, TV Zero broke through with Roberto Berliner’s “Born To Be Blind,” a feature version of a short about three dirt-poor blind sister beggars.

TV Zero hit gold-dust producing 2011’s “Bruna Surfistinha,” about a middle-class teen who rebels and becomes a call girl, blogging her experiences. It grossed $12.4 million in Brazil, and sold to six countries.

“We’ve realized that all of our films are about outsiders. Bruna Surfistinha was a prostitute, ‘Born to Be Blind, ‘about three blind sisters, all begger,s and ‘Lady of Images’ turns on Nise da Silveira, a psychiatrist who rejected traditional electro-shock treatment of schizophrenics,” said “Lady of Images” director Roberto Berliner, who partners Letier at TV Zero.

Berliner attempted to make his first film in 1982, with Brazil still under military dictatorship, shooting scenes at a circus.

Written by Berliner, “Lady of Images” is the story of an extraordinary woman, jailed for six years as an alleged communist, who took over the Occupational Therapy wing at a hospital in Brazil in the ‘40s, treating schizophrenics.

“First of all she gave them pencils, afterwards paint, and they made wonderful paintings. Some patients became wonderful painters,” influencing artistic movements in Brazil, such as concretism,” said Berliner.

“Da Silveira also worked with animals, giving schizophrenics street dogs. The pets helped the patients a lot, meaning they had to communicate with the hospital for the animals to get what they needed,” Letier added.

Da Silveira refused to call the paintings art, maintaing they were treatment. As such, aided by Carl Jung, she organized an exhibition in Zurich. She died in 1999 at the age of 94.

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