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‘Baby,’ ‘Matriarca,’ ‘Suria’ Join Brazilian Powerhouse 02 Filmes’ TV Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

Famed Brazilian producer preps powerful development slate, triumphs with ‘Felizes Para Sempre?’

Underscoring the rapid consolidation of top-echelon Brazilian producers as diversified multi-project film-TV production houses, Sao Paulo’s o2 Filmes, whose credits include Fernando Meirelles’ “City of God” and “The Constant Gardner” and Stephen Daldry’s “Trash,” has eight TV fiction dramas in development, including half hour comedy “The Friends of My Baby” and the corruption-themed “Matriarca.”

Meirelles began his career working in TV. But the size of O2 Filmes’ current development slate suggests that Brazil’s top companies are taking the opportunities for TV production based out of Brazil very seriously indeed.

In early development, “The Friends of My Baby” is a comedy about a single father and a baby. GNT, Brazil’s most prominent femme-targeting cable TV channel and one of the jewels in the crown of Globosat, Globo’s giant pay TV operator, has acquired Brazilian rights.

“Matriarca” is a “dark humored” fiction drama about Brazil’s political classes and corruption, said Andrea Barata Ribeiro, who heads up 02 Filmes with Meirelles and fellow director Paulo Morelli. O2 is also developing “Suria,” (a working title), a kids’ animation series, based on Suria, a little girl at a circus, who was the first black character in Brazilian cartoons.

O2 Filmes and GNT have re-upped for a second season of romantic comedy “Lili, a Ex,” about a jealous ex, who moves in next-door to her former beau, to keep him under her thumb. It is currently in production.

In April, O2 Filmes will shoot the third season of its “Destino…” an original mini-series produced by O2 Filmes for the Brazilian arm of HBO Latin America focusing on the joys, frustrations and culture shock of immigrants in Brazil, most characters being played by immigrants. “Destino: Salvador” is set in the Northeast city of Salvador da Bahia, the former colonial capital of Brazil. The first two seasons, each six segs long, were “Destino: Sao Paulo,” directed by Alex Gabassi and Fabio Mendonça, and the Mendonça-helmed “Destino: Rio de Janeiro.”

In movie production, which O2 Filmes most certainly has not abandoned, also in April Paulo Morelli (“City of Men,” “Entre Nos”) will go into production on “Pedro Malasartes,” a take on a traditional rogue figure of popular Spanish and Latin American culture, set in a contempo Brazil and a fantasy world of Greek myth. Two popular actors – Vera Holtz (“Avenida Brazil”) and Isis Valverde (“Amores Roubados”) – and famed comedian Leandro Hassum (“Till Luck Do Us Part”) form part of the main cast.

Pedro Morelli is meanwhile in post-production on feature “Zoom,” a multiple reality animation/live action movie starring Gael Garcia Bernal (“No,” “El Ardor”) and Alison Pill (“The Newsroom”). 02 Filmes produces with Toronto’s Rhombus Media, which already teamed on Fernando Meirelles’ Cannes Fest opener “Blindness.”

Early details of O2 Filmes’s new TV slate, one of the biggest at any Brazilian indie, are announced as Barata Ribeiro presents today Thursday at this week’s Rio Content Market the Rio 2016 Olympic Games-themed “A Vaga,” co-produced with HBO Latin America. A three-season series, “A Vaga” focuses on Brazilian athletes training for dreamed-for Olympic gold.

New TV development slate revelations also come just weeks after 02 Filmes’ 10-part fiction mini-series, “Felizes para Sempre?” (literally, “Happy Hereafter”?), bowed Jan. 26 to boffo ratings on Globo.

Directed by Fernando Meirelles, Paulo Morelli, Luciano Moura, whose “Father’s Chair” played 2012 Sundance, and Rodrigo Meirelles (“Som e furia”), “Felizes para Sempre?” boasts 02 Filmes hallmarks: A liberal take on contemporary society’s ills, made with an audience in mind; high production values, seen, for instance, in an establishing shot of capital Brasilia which glides out from inside one of its conceptual art statues then shimmies over roof tops to confirm the series’ modern milieu.

Multi-charactered, “Felizes?” skewers the disaffections of a family’s three generations of couples via their sexual imbroglios, sparked in part by a sexually freewheeling bisexual call-girl (played with gusto by Paola Oliveira), which sparks infidelity, blackmail, violence and murder.

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