Sao Paulo’s Elo Company – co-managed by music empresario Ruben Feffer and former Mckinsey consultant Sabrina Nudeliman – has recorded a 30% increase in sales turnover within the Brazilian market over the last 12 months, according to its TV Projects Manager, Andre Antunes.
Operating on multiple fronts – including theatrical distribution in Brazil, licensing, coproduction and international sales – Elo Company is riding the surge in Brazilian independent TV production, generated by the 2012 Law, the Fundo Sectorial de Audiovisual and local support mechanisms.
“As distributors, we sense a great change in the market, both in terms of demand from Brazilian broadcasters and the number and quality of independent productions that are coming to the market,” explains Antunes. “The main demand comes from pay-TV channels, but we’re also seeing rising demand from other channels, including VOD operators, such as Netflix, and in-flight programming.”
As the Brazilian independent production sector heats up, foreign sales assume increasing importance and Elo Company has been augmenting its portfolio and expanding sales, inclusively in markets that previously were of little importance, such as Africa.
One of the company’s priorities is animation projects, currently a booming sector in Brazil in terms of domestic audiences, foreign sales and festival kudos.
Elo Company’s line-up includes Ale Abreu’s hand-drawn dialogue-free animation feature, “The Boy and the World” which won the Crystal top prize and Audience award at Annecy in 2014 and has been acquired by GKids for North American distribution.
The company is also recording strong sales for documentary projects, including “BR 14 – Route to Immigration” from fledgling Sao Paulo production house, Duo2.
“BR 14” is a 32 x 13 minute documentary series about 32 immigrant communities living in Brazil, mirroring the 32 national teams selected for the FIFA World Cup, that was screened at Sunny Side of the Doc, 2014.
The series has been sold to the History channel in Brazil, other pay-TV channels in Latin America, Hispanic pay-TV channels in the US and to Korea.
“Duo2 is a very interesting example of the new creative energy emerging in Brazil,” suggests Antunes. “They were providing production services for MTV Brazil and decided to open their production company. They got financing and now have an international success”.
The FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics are evident marketing opportunities for Brazilian producers, and Elo Company is repping a documentary series linked to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games for which it has secured pre-sales, including inflight programming.
Another documentary project in the company’s line-up is feature film, “The Current: Marina Abramovic and Brazil,” currently in post-production, about the travels of artist Marina Abramovic in search of shamanism rituals in Brazil.
The project received a R$ 600,000 ($260,000) grant from the Fundo Setorial de Audiovisual in July.
Other projects from Elo Company that have benefited from FSA funding include mystery love story “Crime of Gavea” by Andre Warwar, with a $217,000 grant, and crime drama “Teeth,” by Julio Taubkin and Pedro Arantes, which received $260,000.
Elo Company is active in the field of co-production, and Antunes referred to 3 projects currently being developed with Argentina and a major coproduction between Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia.
Such projects often depend on coin from the Fundo Sectorial de Audiovisual, but Antunes complained that the selection process is sometimes too slow for the requirements of the other co-production partners.
In terms of live-action fiction, Elo Company has generated rising international sales from market niches.
A good example is the LGBT comedy “Pink Pact” – about Mauro, the apprentice Drag Queen – that has sold to 15 territories, including Germany, Austria, United States, United Kingdom, France and Poland.
Antunes also has high hopes for zombie thriller “Desalmadas,” directed by Armando Fonseca and Raphael Borghi, currently in post-production, that reflects the growing trend towards production of genre movies in Brazil and throughout Latin America.
“There’s growing demand for this segment and we need more projects to fill the demand,” he explains.
“In general market demand is high for Brazilian products at present, both domestically and abroad,” Antunes concludes. “The biggest challenge is to respond effectively to that demand. We have the creative talent and the support mechanisms, the industry now needs to fine-tune its offer to capitalize on the opportunities that are emerging.”