The number of hours of Brazilian independent productions shown on the country’s payTV channels has more than tripled since the enactment of the 2012 law that obliges channels to screen at least 3.5 hours of domestic independent productions per week.
Internationally-owned channels operating in Brazil have played a particularly important role in this context, not only in terms of production investment but also because they can facilitate circulation of programmes and formats throughout Latin America and potentially the rest of the world.
Fox was responsible for one third of the 30 most watched TV series on Brazilian Pay TV in 2013, including two domestic productions: “Contos do Edgar” and “If I Were You.”
The 13-episode comedy series, “If I Were You,” in which man and wife swap bodies, is based on Daniel Filho’s 2006 feature film – one of Brazil’s biggest blockbuster successes in recent years.
Fox owns all distribution rights to the series for Latin America and has just sold it to Mexico and Panama.
It is now prepping a second series in Brazil.
Elie Wahba, Senior Vice President for Latin America & Caribbean, is confident that it will be possible to sell “If I Were You” throughout Latin America, notwithstanding the fact that it’s a Portuguese language production – in the past often a major stumbling block for the circulation of Brazilian shows.
“Language is no longer a problem,” suggests Wahba. “There are now excellent dubbing services in Mexico and we’re confident that our shows can work successfully in other Latin American countries after being dubbed.”
Prior to the introduction of the 2012 law, Fox already invested in Brazilian productions, but has upped its commitment, not only due to quota requirements, but also given the strength of the new proposals on offer.
“There’s been a dramatic increase in production levels but also the quality of projects coming to us,” explains Wahba. “The level of production is definitely of very high standards. We’re now receiving very good series from independent producers.”
Fox Film do Brasil is also co-producing the documentary series “Morning Glory,” with Brazil’s Canal Azul, which specializes in environment-related themes, and French documentary shingle Bonne Pioche, that also co-produced Luc Jacquet’s “March of the Penguins,” “The Fox and the Child,” and “Once Upon a Forest.”
Fox’s National Geographic will broadcast the series in Brazil.
Directed by Lawrence Wahba, “Morning Glory” chronicles animals as they wake up in different parts of the world – including the Arctic and Amazon. The project is currently in production, and will be distributed in two formats – either as a 70-minute feature or as a 5×25 minute series, due for release in mid-2015.
Wahba believes that another area for potential export growth is formats, including fiction and non-fiction.
“We’re looking for new projects that can travel and that we can adapt to other territories, including the US,” explains Wahba.
“Fox has successfully exported formats from world regions such as Scandinavia, and we’re now looking for the right formats from Brazil,” he concludes.