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TWC’s Latin Fund film to open Rio

'Elite Squad' to premiere on Sept. 20

The first production investment of the Weinstein Co. and Costantini Films Latin Film Fund, Jose Padilha’s “Tropa de Elite” (“Elite Squad”), will world preem Sept. 20 as the opener at the Rio Film Festival.

Padilha’s fiction debut is a co-production between the Fund, Brazil’s Zazen Prods., which brought the project to the Fund, and Universal Brasil.

The social issue actioner takes on the turf wars between Brazil’s BOPE police squad and the drug barons who have turned some of outlying Rio’s favela areas into no-go zones for law enforcement agencies.

Pirated versions of the still-to-be-finished film were flooding major cities this month, an indication of the high level of interest in the film.

The Fund managers invested in the film after being impressed by Padilha’s kidnap documentary, “Bus 174,” and the presence of Braulio Mantovani, who adapted “City of God” for the bigscreen, among “Squad’s” writers. Miramax distributed “City of God” in the U.S.

The Fund has worldwide rights on “Squad,” outside Latin America.

Costantini aims for the film to play at a major international festival. TWC will start the sales push at Berlin.

Universal will put the film out on 150 copies, a large spread for a Brazilian film. If the Brazilian avidness for pirating the unfinished movie is any indication, “Squad” could be one of Brazil’s few local hits this year.

The TWC-Costantini Latin Film Fund has made two acquisitions: U.S. and Spanish rights on Adrian Caetano’s Cannes 2006 competition player, “Chronicle of an Escape,” and Latin American rights to Stephen Frear’s “The Queen.”

“Chronicle” will be released in the U.S. in November via IFC/First Take.

The Rio fest shutters Oct. 4.

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