RIO DE JANEIRO — France’s Unlimited and Portugal’s Ukbar Filmes are set to co-produce “The Surge,” the first solo directorial outing from Brazilian helmer Daniela Thomas, a co-directed with Walter Salles’ on “Linha de passe” and “Foreign Land.”
Unlimited is owned by Philippe Avril, an assistant producer on Cannes Palme d’Or winner “4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days.”
“The Surge” is set up at Sara Silveira and Carlos Reichenbach’s Sao Paulo-based Dezenove Som e Imagens. It provides one of three highlights on its 2014 slate.
Also in the mix: Maternity thriller “Good Manners,” the second two-hander from Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra, directors of Cannes 2011 Un Certain Regard entry “Hard Labor,” and unusual youth-aud-targeted procedural “The Devil’s Scarab.”
All rolling April-November next year, the 2014 trio underscore the growing ambition of Latin America’s most go-ahead producers, their ever-growing desire to make a play for their home-markets and movies’ fluid use of genre pic tropes.
Budgeted at $3.5 million, “Surge” is set on a colonial mansion in the 1800s, before the abolition of slavery, in Minas Gerais’ barren Serra de Cipo.
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Co-produced by Beto Amaral’s Cisma Producoes, it stars Academy Award-nommed Fernanda Montenegro (“Central Station”), Leonardo Medeiros and Cannes Palme d’Or winner Sandra Corveloni (“Linha de passe”).
“Surge” charts the relationship between an uncultured slave drover, his wife, whom he marries when she is 12, and the property’s slaves.
Documented by Brazilian historian Mary Del Priore, it attempts to explore the origins of modern Brazil in “the ancestral meetings of diaspora in an immense landscape,” in Thomas’ words.
20% of “Surge’s” budget will be sourced from Europe, Silveira said at the Rio Festival. Pandora Cunha de Telles’ Ukbar will access extra funds from Angola. Dezenove also aims to tap coin from the Norwegian Film South Fund and Ibermedia, Ibero-America’s main pan-regional co-production kitty.
Brazilian funding is sourced to date from oil giant Petrobras, Minas Gerais utility Cemig, the federal state’s Audiovisual Sector Fund (FSA) and the states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais.
Big indie distrib Europa Filmes will handle Brazilian distribution. Dezenove is in negotiations with sales agents for world sales rights on “Surge,” Silveira added.
Put through Cannes’ Cinefondation Residence in Paris, Rojas and Dutra have delivered the screenplay for “Good Manners,” which Silveira dubs a Brazilian “Rosemary’s Baby.”
Tale turns on a maid who cares like a mother for her dead mistress’ child, a young werewolf.
Shooting April, “’Good Manners’ is about maternity, the relationship between women, it’s a feminine if not feminist film,” Silveirasaid in Rio.
Adapting a 1972 Brazilian children’s classic, Carlo Milani’s procedural-thriller “The Devil’s Scarab” is aimed at plugging the breach in Brazil for quality youth entertainment.
Set in a small university town in Brazil’s interior, it teams a 13-year-old boy and a police inspector in a race against time to halt a series of chilling murders.
Essential for marketing a big movie, Globo Filmes, the film arm of TV giant Globo, will co-produce. Paris Filmes, which has co-released many of Brazil’s recent blockbusters, will distribute.
“This is my play for mass audiences in Brazil,” Silveira said. In general, however, her priority market is international, rolling off reception at major festivals, she added.
Dezenove movies have seen 10 theatrical releases in Europe over the last 14 months. Yohann Cornu’s Damned Distribution opens “Moving Creatures” in France on Wednesday.