SAN SEBASTIAN — Brazil’s Aly Muritiba, one of its most sought-after young directors, is preparing a new feature film “Deserto Particular” (Private Desert) as his Grafo Audiovisual production company up its ante, expanding into international co-production and distribution in Brazil.
The multi-front expansive moves come as, making good on Muritiba’s promise, “Ferrugem” (Rust), his second feature as a director, cleaned up at San Sebastián’s Film in Progress, its Latin American pix-in-post showcase, taking all three prizes on offer. One of them, the Film Factory Award, sees Vicente Canales Barcelona-based sales company acquiring world sales rights to “Rust” outside Brazil and Spain, putting up a €30,000 ($35,700) minimum guarantee.
Set up at Grafo Audiovisual, produced by Antonio Junior, now written and 60% funded, “Private Desert” turns on a lonely 40-year-old cop in Brazil’s rich south whose Internet love interest lives in its poor North-East, in Bahia. One day she disappears from social networks. He goes to Bahía to look for her – to finally discover his e-girl friend is really a boy in the process of becoming a girl.
“Private Desert” is a love story and the first film I make that doesn’t have such a tough and difficult subject for audiences.” Curitiba said in San Sebastián.
He added he would shoot as his next film either “Private Desert” or “Blood-Drenched Beard,” “a classic thriller” about a man attempting to track down his grandfather’s murderer, set up at Rodrigo Teixeira’s RT Features and adapting Daniel Galera’s post-modern identity drama/mystery thriller.
After five years just producing Muritiba’s own films, Grafo Audiovisual, which Muritiba owns with Antonio Junior, is beginning to co-produce other filmmakers. First up is “Black Dog,” from Venezuela’s George Walker Torres (“Sin Vuelta”) set up at Walker Torres’ Cine Cercano and co-produced by Grafo Audiovisual and France’s JBA.
“A totally social film,” Muritiba said, “Black Dog” portrays a family in a rich Caracas neighborhood from the POV of its young son whose Colombia maid tells him stories about witchcraft. The child begins to haver nightmare and to fantasize which reflect the social reality of Venezuela. “It’s a highly interesting social metaphor,” Muritiba said.
Grafo Audiovisual is also teaming with Luis Galvao Teles’ Fado Filmes in Lisbon to co-produce “Grandmother Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret,” directed by Joao Nunes and a big screen makeover of Ondjaki’s novel of the same name, set in Angola’s Luanda after the country’s independence in 1975 as the country fell under Soviet influence. “A simple fun social comedy,” it turns on three kids who attempt to blow up the mausoleum of Angola’s founder.
“Since the films I make and those which interest us as producers are primarily social, having a presence in Africa is highly important to us,” Muritiba said.
In one market move, Grapo Audiovisual launched in 2012 a festival, the Olhar de Cinema Curitiba International Film, Festival, which celebrated its 6th edition over June 7-15,
Grafo Audiovisual has now launched a distribution operation, Olhar Distribuçoes, which bowed with Curitiba’s own 2013 docu-feature, the prison-set “C(Us)Todians,” launched at 18 locations in seven state capitals.
Grafo Audiovisual’s market moves plays off at least two factors: One is the market-sense of Muritiba’s generation, another the state of the market.
“Brazil produces some 200 films a year buy there are very few distributors for the films I’m interested in,” said Muritiba.
He added; “Brazil’s new generation of filmmakers have a larger consciousness of cinema and of its markets, are trying to reach out to audiences and to people in other countries to allow their films to travel more.”
Curitiba has a multi-screen arthouse and a cinematheque. But is it a generally well-healed city of three million inhabitants.
“Many have the disposable income to consume culture but they don’t have access to culture to consume,” said Leila Bourdoukan, Cinema do Brasil executive manager.
Olhar Distribuçoes plans to release just one film a month in Brazil, so as to be able to work a whole month on its opening.
A distribution business has become more viable given public-sector backing from Brazil’s Anica state agency, Muritiba said.