SITGES – Eli Roth’s Chile-based moviemaking partner Nicolas Lopez has tapped Netflix to co-produce “Worst Friends Forever,” the latest movie from his Chile-based shingle Sobras Intl. Pictures.
The pioneering move opens up an alternative business model for the production-distribution of movies from Latin America and, indeed, any low-budget moviemaking part of the globe.
The second part of Lopez’s 2004’s “Promedio rojo,” a breakout gross-out debut championed by Quentin Tarantino, the Lopez-helmed “Friends” is highly mainstream, which does not mean it does not have potential outside its Chilean domestic market.
It reprises, 10 years on, the original’s teen comedy characters: the nerd hero and his two doofus friends. They have matured below their age. When one, the most Forrest Gump-ish, is told he has two weeks to live, they resolve to live out a bucket-list, drawn up at high school, of things to do before they die.
Netflix also took a co-production credit on “Fuck My Family,” the third part of Lopez’s romantic comedy saga, which was released in Chile in January. Netflix appears as one of eight brand-sponsors in the credits of “Worst Friends,” along with Adidas, Canon Cinema EOS, Corona Extra, Chevrolet, Lenovo, Entel and BF Distribution, the movie’s distributor in Chile.
Brand usage rolls off product placement: In “Fuck My Family” the characters watch Netflix and produce an animation series for the VOD platform. In “Worst Friends,” the friends want to time travel, but can’t afford a DeLorean. Chevrolet provided a Chevrolet 73, repainted in a ghastly silver, which the friends pick up for a dubious bargain..
“The car might look shitty, but the important thing was for the brand to be cool,” Lopez said.
Budgeted at around $500,000, both pics are totally financed by product placement, he added.
“I wanted to use Netflix, so approached them and asked: ‘Why don’t you not only pre-buy my movie, but give me more money and it will have more product placement and I’ll make you a co-producer, and the movie will have a Netflix logo at the beginning?” Lopez recalled.
Netflix released “Fuck My Family” in all Latin America in June.
Ever a technological pacemaker – “Green Inferno” used Canon C300 and 5D cameras – Sobras is also ploughing into English-language production and more new technology.
Going into production Nov. 18, the English-language “Fourth Horseman,” – a vampire tale in the line of “Let the Right One In,” Lopez said – marks the directorial debut of Guillermo Amoedo, co-scribe with Roth and Lopez on “Aftershock” and “Green Inferno.” “Horseman” will be the first film in Latin America to shoot in 4K, Lopez said.
All Sobras’ 2014 productions will shoot in English.
“I want our films to be seen by the largest number of people possible and the easiest way to achieve that is to make them in English,” Lopez argued.
All the 400 vfx on “Green Inferno” and the rest of its post-production was carried out in Chile, where Lopez and producer partner Miguel Asensio have created vfx department, Sobras Digital.
Creating what Roth and Lopez dub “Chilewood,” Sobras co-produced and Lopez directed 2012’s earthquake horror movie “Aftershock,” produced by Dragonfly Entertainment and Vertebra Films and also co-produced by Cross Creek Pictures.
“Green Inferno” was produced and financed by Worldview Entertainment. Dragonfly Entertainment and Sobras also produced. Roth directed and produced with Worldview’s Christopher Woodrow and Molly Conners and Lopez and Asensio.
The picture’s partners will now re-team for “Beyond the Green Inferno,” which Lopez directs and goes into pre-production in March.