Miramax hails Brazilian ‘God’

Distrib nabs U.S. rights to docu-style drama

NEW YORK — Miramax Films has acquired North American, Latin American, U.K., Australian and Italian distribution rights to Brazilian pic “Cidade de Deus” (City of God), screening out of competition but part of this year’s official Cannes selection.

Directed by Fernando Mereilles, doc-style drama was produced by 02 Filmes and exec produced by Walter Salles (“Central Station”).

“City of God” follows the lives of teenagers growing up in the drug gang-controlled slums of Rio de Janeiro over a 10-year period. Miramax purchased the North American and Latin American rights from 02 Filmes and the remaining rights from Paris-based Wild Bunch, the sales agent selling the film internationally.

“The official selection screening in Cannes will serve as the launching point for the global marketing campaign for this special film,” said Miramax’s Rick Sands, chairman of worldwide distribution. “We look forward to bringing a top quality Brazilian film to North American audiences.”

Mereilles added: “While ‘City of God’ takes place in Brazil, it depicts the universal reality of great wealth living side by side with great poverty. I never expected such an enthusiastic and passionate response from Miramax and Wild Bunch for my film. I am pleased that Miramax will distribute in North America and other major territories throughout the world.”

Salles and Marc Beauchamps, of the Brazilian distributor Lumiere Films, brought “City of God” to Miramax exec veep Agnes Mentre. Lumiere will distribute the film in Brazil.

Sands, Mentre and senior veep Stuart Ford negotiated the pact on behalf of Miramax. Mereilles and Hank Levine, both of 02, and Gotham-based attorney Andrew Hurwitz repped that company.