San Sebastián: Gullane Boards Marco Bellocchio’s Mafia Thriller ‘The Traitor’ (EXCLUSIVE)

The Match Factory to co-produce and handle international sales

SAN SEBASTIAN — Brazil’s Gullane has joined Italy’s IBC Movie, Kavac Film and RAI Cinema, Germany’s The Match Factory Production and France’s Ad Vitam to produce Marco Bellocchio’s “The Traitor.”

Michael Weber’s The Match Factory will also handle international sales rights. Set to shoot in Italy, Brazil, the U.S. and Germany, “The Traitor” is a biopic of Tommaso Buscetta, the first high-ranking Mafia boss to turn informant on the Cosa Rostra in what Bellocchio regards as a an act of heroic betrayal.

Buscetta’s testimony led to the first big trial against organized crime and the conviction of hundreds of Mafia members.

Buschetta, who had a Brazilian wife, was living in Brazil when two of his sons and brothers were killed by the Corleonesi mob, which encourages him, when extradited to Italy, to collaborate with Italian prosecutors, becoming Cosa Nostra’s first high-ranking informer.

“The Traitor” will shot for the most part in Italy, but “two-to-three” weeks in Brazil, Gullane co-head Fabiano Gullane said at San Sebastián.

Beppe Caschetto will produce for IBC Movie,the movie’s lead producer,  Simone Gattoni for Kavac Film, Bellocchio’s own outfit, along with Caio and Fabiano Gullane, Ad Vitam’s Alexandra Henochsberg and The Match Factory Production’s Michael Weber and Viola Fügel.

Gullane’s co-production on “The Traitor,” which looks to be one of the highest-budget Brazilian movies ever, is just one of the latest moves by the Sao Paulo-based production company which, Gullane said, is growing at a rate of around 15%-20% per annum:

*Fox International Productions is co-producing Karim Aïnouz’s English-language movie debut “Neon River,” also sold by The Match Factory. “Neon River” is now scheduled to go into production in Tokyo at end of the first semester. “Our focus is to find some company in Japan, a co-producer and a local production manager for the production,” Gullane said at San Sebastián.

*Last month, Warner Bros. released “Bingo – The King of the Mornings,” which the studio also co-produces, the directorial  debut of Terrence Malick (“The Tree of Life”), Fernando Mereilles (“City of God”) and Jose Padilha (“Elite Squad”) editor Daniel Rezende. Brazil’s Oscar entry, the story of a career-obsessed TV show clown, has sold 300,000 tickets to date.

*Gullane will shortly return to Europe to pitch Sergio Machado’s“Noah’s Ark,” which is co-produced with Walter Salles, at Rome MIA market. One of Brazil’s most ambitious animation projects, it adapts the songs and lyrics of legendary lyricist and writer Vinicius de Moraes (“Girl From Ipanema”).

*Consecrating its status as one of Brazil’s top TV productions, Gullane has teamed with Brazilian TV giant Globo to produce “Jailers,” which won the 2017 MipDrama Screenings Grand Jury Prize for a full episode screening,

Half of Gullane’s projects are now for TV, Fabiano Gullane said. There is a clear future currently for Guallane. “Jailers” is not just an admirably tense and gritty Brazilian penitentiary-set TV series thriller but part of Globo’s drives into unprecedented fiction formats, subjects and characters as it attempts, like former free-to-air market leaders around the world, to restructure as a content powerhouses, and maintain traditional linear TV audiences while appealing to cordless millennials.

That effort is paying off. Aired on Globo Play, the Brazilian TV behemoth’s VOD service, “Jailers” “made a lot of people subscribe to the platform, Gullane said at San Sebastián. Late primetime ER procedural “Under Pressure” has just inched fantastic ratings on Globo’s main channel. Domestic results for Brazilian cinema, in contrast, represents a now stiffer challenge.

Gullane recalled that when he made “Carandiru,” in 2003, Brazilian films’ home turf market share was around 18%. Since then, that percentage of total box office has stalled and now looks to have weakened, down to 16.5% last year thanks to the performance of one movie,” The 10 Commandments: the Film.”

Art films are still hard-pressed to make much more than $1 million in a county which sold 187 million tickets last year.

“One of our roles, and we must still keep working on this, is to keep on building a new audience for culture in Brazil,” Gullane said.

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