Gullane, Eva off to ‘Amazonia’

Marescot to direct $16 million docu feature

Brazil’s Gullane and Germany’s Eva Group have boarded Luc Marescot’s docu feature “Amazonia, the Green Planet,” one of the most expensive films ever about the Amazon.

Gullane has licensed all rights to Latin America and Portugal to Warner Latin America.

Budgeted at E12 million ($16 million), “Amazonia” originated at Gallic documaker Gedeon Programmes, owned by Millimages, which produced the North Pole-set “The White Planet.” Thierry Ragobert, who helmed “Planet,” will co-direct with Marescot.

Lead producer on “Amazonia” is Biloba Films, which Gedeon set up in 2007 to create theatrical features, and Gullane. Paybox giant Canal Plus and France 2 Cinema provide additional French financing. International rights will be handled by the Eva Group’s Atlas Intl.

Reflecting the latest trends in documaking — a move away from academic voiceover to a more fictional storytelling style — “Amazonia” turns on the fictionalized odyssey of a Capuchin monkey, after a plane crash frees him from his cage in the heart of the Amazon forest.

A “fiction documentary,” in the words of Gedeon’s Jean-Pierre Saire, “Amazonia” begins shooting in February with multiple crews mixing 35mm and HD.

“For some things, it’s better to shoot in 35mm, for others in HD,” said Saire.

An area will be fenced off as a “set” and animals will be wrangled through the movie’s set pieces.

“We entered ‘Amazonia’ to move closer to the French documentary tradition represented by Gedeon, and help enroll key Brazilian talent in the project,” Gullane partner Fabiano Gullane said at Cannes.

Gullane has brought in Araquem Alcantara, known for his stunningly precise still photos of Amazon fauna, to advise on camerawork. Pascal Treguy, who handled animal training on “The Fox and the Child,” will be lead wrangler.

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