Celluloid expands with Brazil hub

Heitor Dhalia to direct CDB's first projects

Celluloid Dreams owner Hengameh Panahi has created its first branded overseas film production hub, Celluloid Dreams Brazil.

Heitor Dhalia (“Drained,” “Adrift”), one of Brazil’s hottest young directors, will direct CDB’s first two projects: “A Girl and a Gun” and “Serra Pelada” (Bald Mountain).

Brazilian industry players such as  Dhalia and Patrick Siaretta, head of Sao Paulo’s giant TeleImage post-production lab and a key Brazilian co-producer, are CDB partners along with producer Fernando Menocci and Tatiana Quintilla, creator of the Cultural Zone and Paulinia Film Festival — already a significant funding source in Brazil. CDB will make two to three films a year, Siaretta said. It is expected to soon tie down a Brazilian domestic distribution deal with a Hollywood studio.

Based in Sao Paulo’s modern Pinhiros district, CDB reps a reaction to tough market conditions and a continuation of Panahi’s career-long crusade to discover and nurture new talent.

CDB also plays off Panahi’s expertise and talent contacts worldwide, and the movie industry’s globalization.

“The challenge is to make a Brazilian movie as Brazilian as possible and yet international,” Panahi said.

“Brazilian films only have a 10% market share. We want to make Brazilian films which talk to Brazilian audiences and still travel abroad,” Siaretta added.

Described by Panahi as “a film noir racing a road movie,” “Gun” turns on an American girl who takes to the road in Buenos Aires, Patagonia-bound, running from her past and the mafia.

Screenplay was originally written by Dhalia. U.S. writer Brian Horiuchi was brought in for a rewrite. “Gun” will shoot in English and Spanish with an American, Brazilian and Spanish cast. Majority financing will come from Brazilian tax coin and sponsorship, reducing exposure to the international market, said Siaretta. Budget is contained at $5 million. Pic shoots in October.

Bald Mountain” is a tale of greed, which destroys a  friendship and the environment. Budgeted at $6 million, “Mountain” will shoot in Portuguese in 2010.

Celluloid Dreams handles international distribution on both films.

Dhalia will “godfather” features by three younger Brazilian filmmakers whose projects will be set up at CDB: Vera Egito, whose shorts “Air” and “Bond” screen during Critics’ Week; Luis Carone, twice-voted Brazil’s best musicvid director at its MTV Awards; and the multi-prized Esmir Filho, whose vid “Slap the Panther” had 10 million hits on YouTube.

CDB follows on Celluloid Dreams’ launch of offices in Germany and Japan, which will facilitate international co-productions, Panahi said.

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