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U.K.’s F&ME Preps ‘Streetkids United II’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Daldry to godfather Brazil-set Street Child World Cup docu-feature

RIO DE JANEIRO — Three-time Academy Award-nominated U.K. director Stephen Daldry (“Billy Elliot,” “The Hours,” “The Reader”) will godfather “Streetkids United II – The Road to Rio.”

A chronicle of the second Street Child World Cup in Rio next year, “Streetkids United II” is set up at Mike Downey and Sam Taylor’s London-based Film and Music Ent. (F&ME).

A longtime F&ME chairman, Daldry will take an executive producer credit.

The second part in the series, it follows up “Streetkids United,” that screened in the 2011 Berlin Festival’s Generation sidebar, which targets kids and young teen auds.

Daldry’s godfathering “United II” looks a logical move. He is currently shooting the Brazil-set “Trash,” produced by Working Title and Fernando Meirelles O2 Filmes, which, adapting Andy Mulligan’s book, turns on street kids: Three boys who live on a rubbish dump in an unidentified emerging country. Daldry’s movie breakthrough, “Billy Elliot,” delivered an inspiring take on personal empowerment.

In Rio de Janeiro to structure the financing of “United II,” and as part of a seasoned 13-exec BFI-led U.K. delegation of producers, sales agents and distributors, Downey told Variety at the Rio Festival that “Streetkids II” would not only follow the Brazilian team as it bids for World Cup glory, but enroll some kids in the production process of the sequel.

“When we made the first film in the series, ‘Streetkids United,’ in Durban, we embedded ourselves in a street-kid organization and with the children on the streets,” Downey said.

Involving kids in production “can serve the purposes of the Street Child World Cup organization by empowering the kids a lot more,” he added, observing that, in order to be taken out to festivals and markets, the “Streetkids United” series had also to evolve, “presenting a brand new idea.”

Jamillah van der Hulst’s JaJa Film Productions, an Amsterdam production company, is co-producing “Streetkids United II.” It has also brought in equity partner Martien Witsenburg, of Witsenburg Natural Products.

The 2014 Street Child World Cup will be hosted by the Action for Brazil’s Children’s Trust, whose patrons including Pele, Jimmy Page, Brian May, Fernando Meirelles, Jeremy Irons and Juliette Lewis. Further supporters include David Beckham, Thandie Newton, Theo Walcott and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

In Rio, Downey will advance on “Streetkids II’s”Brazilian co-production structure and hold discussions with Brazilian pay TV networks. Local distribution is a must to court Brazilian institutional investment from such entities as Rio City investment fund RioFilme.

Pioneering co-production with Brazil, F&ME has successfully meshed strong European backing with Brazilian support on Julien Temple’s soon-to-be-completed “Children of the Revolution,” his latest “musical city” docu-feature.

Temple will complete the cut of “Revolution” in mid-October and then continue in post-production for a mid-November delivery.

“We’re at the stage of the production where we need some extra material to round out the overall canvas that Julien has created,” Downey said at the Rio Festival’s RioMarket.

“It’s great we have the possibility to have to extra touches, details and commentary before locking the picture in the next weeks.”
Produced by Downey and Taylor, “Revolution” is co-produced out of Brazil by Roberto Berliner and Rodrigo Letier’s TV Zero, the company behind “Bruna Surfistinha,” which grossed over $10 million at the Brazilian box office.

“Children of the Revolution” finance includes funding from the BBC, French pubcaster Arte, German state TV WDR, and Filmstiftung NRW, Germany’s biggest film board, German distributor Rapid Eye Movies and City of Rio RioFilme.

Will Machin’s Ealing Metro Intl. has acquired world sales Rights to “Revolution”; Brazil vet Christopher Pickard serves as associate producer.

Such powerful backing not only solves financing needs but also ensures significant distribution in significant foreign markets as Brazil moves front and center, thanks to the 2014 Rio World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

Tied-down oversees distribution can also prove a large sweetener when approaching Brazilian institutions to partner on a film.
Under Sergio Sa Leitao, Rio City culture secretary and RioFilme CEO, Rio cultural authorities are also placing a large emphasis on inclusive education.

As part of the Rio Festival outreach program, on Wednesday Daldry will present “Billy Elliot” at the Cine Carioca Nova Brasilia cinema theater in the heart of the Complexo do Alemao favela slums, once a notorious den of drug gangs.

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