Fernando Meirelles (“Blindness”) and Brazilian shingle BossaNovaFilms are teaming with Andrew Eaton and Michael Winterbottom’s Revolution Films to produce “Tropicalia.”
Directed by Marcelo Machado (“Ginga: The Soul of Brazilian Football”), “Tropicalia” is a docu featuring the short-lived but influential late-’60s music and art movement, led by composers Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, mixing popular rhythms, political activism and international elements — rock and Portugal’s fado.
Many Tropicalia figures were forced into exile in 1968 by Brazil’s military dictatorship. Tropicalia influenced David Byrne, Beck and the Super Furry Animals, and a generation of young Brazilians.
“Their art had a big influence on me when I was a teenager,” Meirelles said. “Everything was very liberating.”
Docu “Tropicalia” was originated by Maurice James’ L.A.-based Mojo Pics, which took the project to Meirelles, who then brought in director Machado and Bossa Nova, one of Brazil’s biggest commercial, film and TV companies with a strong music bent.
BNF’s Paula Cosenza, who worked in London, then approached Andrew Eaton and Josh Hyams from London-based Revolution Films.
Revolution has a natural connection to documentaries and music-based films, said BNF founder Denise Gomes.
Meirelles is working on “Tropicalia” as an independent producer outside his own shingle, o2 Filmes, which doesn’t have a tradition in docu filmmaking, he said.
Both Meirelles and Winterbottom look likely to take exec producer credits.
Putting up minority financing, Revolution’s role will be to tap U.K. co-financing, including TV and DVD, said Revolution’s head of TV Josh Hyams.
“Straight away, Andrew was interested in the idea because he is a big music fan,” Hyams said. “Obviously we have kind of been there with ’24 Hour Party People.’ Michael [Winterbottom] is just finishing up ‘The Shock Doctrine,’ which deals in part with South America.”
“Tropicalia” will shoot in London and Brazil, and will feature an English-language narrator.
Calling for extensive pre-production, including the recovering of archive footage from Brazil’s TV Record, it will shoot later this year or early 2010, said Gomes.
“Tropicalia” has tapped 35% of funding from the Paulinia Festival, a further 15% from Sao Paulo municipal authorities. Both sources are tax-driven.