RIO DE JANEIRO — Despite the country’s recession, HBO Brasil has unveiled 14 shows for 2017, including fiction and non-fiction series, feature docs and its first talk show, the largest annual package since the company began to produce in the country in 2005.
The announcement was made at the Rio Content Market (RCM), Latin America’s biggest TV market. One of the highest-profile of the new shows, six-part drama series “Santos=Dumont” will feature the life of Brazilian aviation pioneer, inventor hero Alberto Santos Dumont, who flew his airplane 14 Bis around the Eiffel Tour in 1906. Lensing is scheduled for the second half of this year in Brazil and abroad. Estevao Ciavatta and Fernando Acquarone, of Pindorama, will produce and co-direct the Portuguese, French and English-language series.
“The series will depict in a non-chronological way Santos Dumont’s childhood, his inventor’s feats in Paris’ Belle Époque, and his last years in Petropolis, Brazil,” Ciavatta told Variety. “We are considering filming the Paris sequences in Buenos Aires,” he added.
Five-episode series “Slave Labor” has been directed by Oscar nominee Bruno Barreto (“Dona Flor And His Two Husbands”) and Marcelo Santiago, at Brazil’s longest-standing production company LC Barreto. It will be the first documentary from Bruno Barreto, who has a long career both in Brazil and Hollywood. Producers lensed all over Brazil, and the series will focus on 16 court cases in real and city parts of Brazil. The series is in post-production.
“We started our research based on the cases of Brazil’s labor prosecutors,” LC Barreto’s partner Lucy Barreto told Variety.
Another new HBO Brasil show, “Transamazonica – A Road to the Past” is a six-seg doc series directed by veteran helmer Jorge Bodansky. The series marks Bodansky’s return to the Amazon rainforest region after his 1975 classic feature “Iracema, uma Transa Amazônica,” considered one of Brazil’s most important films. It depicted during Brazil’s military dictatorship the social and environmental impact on the region of the construction of a road crossing the rainforest. The road was never fully constructed and the rainforest has engulfed parts of it.
10-part drama series “The Secret Life of Couples” (10×60’) is a thriller co-created and starring Bruna Lombardi, a sex symbol on Brazilian TV in the 1970s and 1980s. The series is in post-production and is due to open second-half 2017.
The still-untitled, half-hour weekly talk show of local comedian Gregorio Duvivier will air in May. Show’s concept is based on John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” and HBO Mexico’s Chumel Torres’ show. Duvivier is a star of local internet comedy phenomenon troupe Porta dos Fundos. He took a firm stand against the 2015 impeachment of Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff and is critical of her replacement, president Michel Temer. Roberto Rios, VP of HBO Latin America Corporate Productions, promised Duvivier “uncensored space.”
HBO Brasil’s lineup also includes the third season of drama “Psi;” the second season of drama “The Hypnotist;” 10-episode doc series “Out of the Closet;” four-episode doc series “Milton – around the World”, about singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento; and Oscar-nominee Fernando Meirelles’ (“City of God”) “Open Opera – The Pearl Fishermen,” a feature doc about the helmer’s process of producing an opera.
Rounding up the new roster is four-episode doc series “Her Name is Gal,” about singer Gal Costa; feature doc “First Dancer,” about Brazilian Thiago Soares’ dancing career at London’s Royal Ballet; the second season of martial arts doc series “The Great Fight;” and doc series “Other Times,” about growing old.