Netflix has set a Nov. 25 global launch date for “3%,” its first Brazilian original production, directed by Cesar Charlone, Oscar-nominated for his “City of God” cinematography.
The U.S. streaming giant also unveiled new details Monday of the series’ storyline and its first ensemble image of characters.
Described as a futuristic thriller, the eight-part series is set in a dystopic near-future Brazil, divided between progress and devastation. Brazil’s surviving population live in a zone called Inland, which lacks energy, food or water. At the age of 20, everyone is given one chance, and one chance only, to apply for the Process, whose approved candidates get to live in Mar Alto, a world of abundance. But only 3% of applicants pass — hence the show’s title.
Netflix unveiled extended character details. Some of the candidates – Aline, a Process official, Michele, a young idealistic girl candidate – have hidden agendas. Adding another plotline, the head of the Process, the short-fused Ezequiel, is also undergoing an internal evaluation of his methods.
“Ultimately, the series questions the dynamics of society that imposes constant selection processes we all have to go through, whether we like it or not,” Charlone said, when the series was announced in August 2015.
“3%” also poses questions asked by younger generations around the world but which take on especial significance in Brazil: the social justice of established elites and the moral imperative of questioning authority. Brazil is one of the world’s most unequal societies.
The Process candidates in “3%” are defined in part by their attitude towards hierarchy and social collaboration: One, Rafael is a pure egotist; another, Marco, is a natural-born leader but turns nasty if his leadership is questioned; Joana grew up on Inland’s streets and believes in the survival of the fittest; wheelchair-bound Fernando believes blindly in the system.
Brazilians have played an important part in other Netflix series. “Narcos” Season 1’s first two episodes were directed by Jose Padilha (“Elite Squad,” “Robocop”), who served as an executive producer on the series; another Brazilian, Fernando Coimbra (“A Wolf at the Door”), directed two more first season segments; Brazilian actor Wagner Moura plays Escobar.
But “3%” is Netflix’s first original series completely shot, produced and acted by Brazilians. Created by Pedro Aguilera, who webbed an online pilot to attract financing, “3%” is set up at Sao Paolo’s Boutique Filmes, a company with experience in producing for U.S. companies Brazilian channels such as Discovery Kids, History Channel, and HBO Latin America. Boutique’s content head and “3%” exec producer Thiago Mello created the Emmy Kids-nominated “Julie and the Phantoms,” co-produced by Nickelodeon.
The cast includes Joao Miguel (“Xingu”), Bianca Comparator (“Avenida Brasil”) and Zeze Motta (“Chica da Silva”).
In April, Netflix announced Padilha will re-team with the U.S. streaming giant on a yet-to-be-titled Brazilian Netflix original series chronicling the Lava Jato (Car Wash) criminal corruption probe which has rocked Brazil’s political elite to its core.
“3%” is made for Netflix’s 83 million global subscribers, not just Brazil. That said, Netflix uptake in Brazil has been bullish, according to Ampere Analysis.
Brazil “is, by our estimates, in Netflix’s top 5 markets worldwide,” commented Ampere Analysis’ Richard Broughton. “So securing the company’s future in Brazil is important to the company, particularly as a relatively small amount of content in the market is currently originated locally – circa 1% of available hours, by our estimates.”