In its latest co-production with topnotch U.S. partners, Sao Paulo’s Querosene Filmes is partnering with Fox Intl. Productions (FIP) and U.S. producer David Gerson to produce “One Night Off,” to be directed by Pedro Amorim (“The Dognapper,” “Super Dad”).
Twentieth Century Fox will distribute “One Night Off” in Brazil and has rights for the rest of the world.
Paternity comedy “One Night Off” reps just the latest in development and production partnerships between Querosene and U.S. studios which take in Universal Pictures Intl. and Lionsgate as Querosene, founded in 2009, pushes the envelope, often on new genre combos still rare for Brazilian production – action thrillers, horror comedies – and links with international players to make movies that can travel beyond the Brazilian market.
A “pre-make,” in the words of Querosene producer Joao Quieroz, comedy “One Night Off” has been written by Ricardo Tiezzi, whose credits include “Deadbeat Dad,” adapting into Portuguese a yet-to-be-produced U.S. screenplay, penned by Ian Deitchman and Kristin Robinson (“Life As We Know It,” “Parenthood”).
Confirming Querosene’s mainstream move, it centers on a guy in his 20s with a young baby whose wife, exhausted by child care, is given a night off at a hotel by her domineering elder sister. He insists on looking after his 6-month-old baby, only to discover there’s a concert that same night; to which he takes the baby, with his indignant sister-in-law in hot pursuit.
Currently casting, produced by Querosene, Paris Filmes, Lionsgate and Globo Filmes, “La Vingança” will shoot beginning April 20 in Buenos Aires. Like a building body of laffers – “Welcome to the Sticks,” “Spanish Affair” – it riffs off one people’s historic prejudices about another, here Brazilians’ ancestral rivalry with Argentina. In it, two young Brazilian guys mount their battered Opel to “invade” Argentina, after one’s g.f., horror or horrors, has been bedded by, of all things, an Argentinean. Their plan is to wreak vengeance, going on a sexual rampage in Buenos Aires, conquering as many Argentine girls as they can, which isn’t actually many. Luis Sartor’s Zarlek Producciones co-produces out of Argentina. Fernando Frailha directs from a screenplay in Portuguese and Spanish by Thiago Dottori, Marcos Lazarini and Pedro Aguilera.
Also, Querosene is currently negotiating distribution funding for “Possessed,” a horror comedy from a concept by ex-MTV comedy group Amada Foca, whose YouTube channel is growing exponentially since launch, with its top vid punching nearly 3 million views, Quieroz said. Tiezzi has developed the concept.
At the end of July, in one of the big Brazilian releases of 2015, Paris Filmes will release action thriller “Police Complaint,” an action-thriller with a social underbelly, about a honest special forces unit that moves in on a town in the Brazilian interior and expels its Complexo de Alemao drug cartel members, only to find its by-the-book law enforcement creates building friction with the town’s far-from by-the-book local authorities. Suddenly, the town, which had hailed them as heroes, turns against them. TC Filmes produces, in co-production with Universal Pictures International Productions (UPIP), Globo Filmes and Querosene. London-based Universal Pictures Intl. co-distributes with Paris Filmes.
Produced by UPIP, Gerson and Querosene, and directed by Amorim from a Tiessi co-penned script, the UPI-distributed “Deadbeat Dad,” a fast-paced comedy with Danton Mello (“Vai queda Certo”), bowed March 5, cuming R$5million ($1.56 million) to date, making it the second-highest Brazilian bow of 2015, in a weak March for moviegoing.
Having co-produced films in Spanish, leveraging lower shoot costs in Uruguay (“High Five,” with Mariana Secco’s Salado Media) and, until recently, Argentina (“Juan and the Ballerina,” with Sarlek), “One Night Off” and “Possessed” confirm Querosene is moving more toward mainstream fare, Queiroz said.
“We try to find films that aren’t obvious, that are commercial but also a lot of fun, well-made, have production values, great music,” Queiroz said.
In production volume, “We aim to produce two films per year: Last year ‘Deadbeat Dad’ and ‘Police Complaint,’ this year ‘La Vingança’ and ‘Possessed,’ and in 2015, ‘One Night Off’” and another title to be announced shortly, he added.
Not only broaching new film types – a comedic horror movie hasn’t been made in Brazil for a long time, said Queiroz — the Querosene slate also brings new subjects and online stars into the mix. “Vingança” is the first time a feature film plays with Brazil and Argentina’s historic rivalry, Queiroz said. “Deadbeat Dad” co-starred Antonio Tabet, from comedy troupe Porta dos Fondos, a massive online phenom.
Co-producing with Querosene, and investing in Brazilian content, U.S. studios can tap into Article 3 tax credits, offering them a high percentage deduction on withholding tax payments levied on repatriated earnings from Brazil.
Gerson made his name as Focus Features production VP, and, after leaving Focus, where he was a creative executive on “My Name Is Harvey Milk” and “9.” As an independent producer he has gone on to produce such titles as Hany Abu-Assad’s “Omar.”