VENICE – Alice Braga, the most famous Brazilian actress of her generation, seen most recently opposite Matt Damon in “Elysium,” has moved into production, producing and starring in “Latitudes,” a pioneering multimedia production for Brazil which encompasses TV, Internet and theatrical distribution.
Written and directed by Rio-based Felipe Braga – no relation to Alice Braga – “Latitudes” will be Alice Braga’s first experience as a producer.
Felipe Braga’s credits include the screenplay for “Trash,” which is currently in production, set up at London’s Working Title, with Stephen Daldry (“Billy Elliot,” “The Hours”) helming.
Shot at seven luxury hotels around the world – including the Venice Danieli Hotel’s Doge Dandalo Suite, as well as London’s 45 Park Lane and Paris’ Mandarin Oriental – and tapping into branded-entertainment financing, the multimedia “Latitudes” also underscores how quickly Latin America’s newest creative generation is segueing from a concern for local social issues seen in movies just a few years back towards diverse-format narratives which pick up societal trends felt worldwide.
One drives “Latitudes.”
Braga plays a powerful fashion editor, who has an affair with Jose (Daniel de Oliveira, seen in “Cazuza: O Tempo Nao Para,” also a producer), a sought-after photographer constantly on international assignments. Their paths cross in hotels and hotel rooms in Latin America, Europe and Asia. But their globe shuttling doesn’t make their relationship any easier.
“Latitudes” is also produced by Rita Moraes at Alice Braga’s shingle Los Bragas and Marcos Brandao at House Ent.
“It’s a classic story, people fall in love, then the challenges come. ‘Latitudes’ features a Brazilian couple, but we don’t make them rich or poor. They just represent our generation,” said Alice Braga, who featured roles include Fernando Meirelles’ milestone debut “City of God” and “I Am Legend” while she stars in Pablo Fendrik’s upcoming “El Ardor,” opposite Gael Garcia Bernal.
After a Google Hangout on Monday, from Wednesday “Latitudes’” eight 11-minute segs begin bowing online on a channel co-created by YouTube.
“Latitudes” will debut on TNT Latin America next Monday, with the pan-regional cable channel airing 22-minute episodes, bmixing fiction and behind-the-scenes material. After each premiere, content will be available on demand on the project platform. A “Latitudes” Facebook fan page and Instagram accounts feature the main characters’ photos from their travels. Immediately after each seg preem, the actors take part in Google Hangouts with audiences.
“’Latitudes’ uses the world of fiction to explore contemporary experiences in the Internet platform”, said Felipe Braga.
He added: “The movies are meant to be part of a global innovation movement in content availability, breaking away from the usual distribution patterns and offering spectators a unique, individual and creative experience based on an original product.”
“Cinema-going can be very expensive in Brazil,” Alice Braga added. “Being able to offer something for free can be very exciting.”
Not that “Latitudes” lacks a business model, having tied down branded entertainment partnerships led by P &G, and featuring Heineken, Fiat, Quanta Studios, Quanta Post and Africa Entertainment.
For Alice Braga, “Latin American films are very interesting right now. We’re challenging ourselves. It makes me happy to see we’re believing in our cinema,” she said.
Braga said she certainly won’t be give up acting. “My biggest dream is to work all over the world, not just Brazil and the U.S.”
As a producer, Braga now aims to leverage her star presence or at least contacts to get more projects made.
That role has worked very well for Mexicans such as Guillermo del Toro, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, who have god-fathered or produced significant projects, from this year’s “Mama” to “The Well,” the awaited second film from Michael Rowe (“Leap Year”).
Brazil may now have just got its first and still young movie god-mother.