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Argentina’s Cordoba, Brazil Team for ‘Public Relations’

More co-pros to come as public policy drive TV link-ups in both countries

Ally and conquer. As international co-production becomes paramount in allowing TV companies in Latin America to scale up on production, standing apart in a crowded field, Argentina’s Bonaparte Cine, Prisma Cine and Germina Films signed a deal Friday at the Rio Content Market to co-produce “Public Relations” with Brazil’s Plural Filmes.

Fruit of the film and TV production build in Cordoba, “Public Relations,” a genre-blending fiction riff on a “Big Brother”-style reality show, looks like just one of a clutch of TV co-productions between Argentina and Brazil rapidly coming to fruition.

Under Lucrecia Cardoso, Argentina’s INCAA film-TV federal agency has created a new public incentive for a 13-part one-hour TV series that has matched financing in international co-production coin, a subsidy tapped by “Public Relations.” Argentina also aims to broaden international TV co-production treaties to take in TV, allowing Argentine TV content to qualify for other-country quotas.

In Brazil, Canal Brasil, an enterprising cable channel looking for new ways to produce Brazilian content, has taken Brazilian broadcast rights to “Public Relations.” Single channel financing is not enough, however, on an ambitious series.

The “Public Relations” co-production deal will see the series move into production in the second half of the year, shooting in Argentina and Brazil.

Created by Claudio Rosa, Fernando Crisci and Pablo Brusa, “Relations” is immediately comprehensible in both countries. Combining crime, romance and a humorous riff on reality contests, it centers on Gaby, a 35-year-old kidult, a public relations exec at a local disco who is drowning in debt. Desperate, he turns to small-time drug dealing, witnesses a narcotics-related gang murder and takes refuge in a reality TV house, where his sudden appearance spikes ratings, soon turning him into a instant celeb.

Located by the narco gang and pressured by his debt collectors to win the show, Gaby falls for its beautiful contestant, Luz. But he could well be killed if he stays on the show and could well be killed if he leaves it. Meanwhile, the show’s ratings soar.

“Public Relations” producers out of Argentina are Prisma Cine’s Antonio Pita, Romina Savary at Bonaparte Cine and Paola Suarez at Germina Films. All three companies are from Cordoba, the biggest Argentine regional film-TV hub as regional production shapes up as one of Latin America’s film-TV drivers. Despite their corporate monikers, all three companies have extensive experience in TV, with Bonaparte Cine making docu series “Mediterranean Light” and “The Cordoban Che,” about Che Guevara in Cordoba. Germina Films has produced fiction series “Collage” and “Cordoba Casting.”

Cordoba’s filmmakers have always angled for more than a regional market. The pioneering agreement with Plural Filmes, which has ample experience in co-production with Germany and documentary production, is a natural move, opening up the doors to Latin America’s biggest TV market, which is in the throes of a feeding frenzy for local content. International co-production is one way to create it.

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