Ventana Sur: Gullane’s ‘Bingo’ Sells to U.S./U.K. as Brazilian Producer Advances on 14-Title Film-TV Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

Highlights include a film-tv-doc franchise with Globo and two series alliance with André Ristum

‘Bingo’ Sells to the U.S./U.K. as

BUENOS AIRES — Produced by Gullane, directed by Daniel Rezende and sold by Paris-based Loco Films, Brazil’s foreign-language Academy Award entry “Bingo: The King of the Mornings” has closed U.S. and U.K. rights with Empyrean Pictures.

Headed by Dan Klabin and Ariel Elia, the London and Brazil-based Empyrean, already a co-producer on “Bingo,” will directly distribute in the U.S. A U.K. release is scheduled for Dec. 15, Gullane’s Fabiano Gullane told Variety.

A rollicking tragicomic take on the cost of fame in the Brazilian TV world of the ‘80s which marks the feature debut of Rezende, editor of Terrence Malick’s’s “Tree of Life,” “Bingo” has just seen its international premiere at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.

Written by Luiz Bolognesi, whose screenwriting credits include 2017 Berlin Panorama hit “Just Like My Parents,” “Bingo” is also Brazil’s candidate for a Spanish Academy best Ibero-American Picture Goya, and has qualified to compete at the U.K. Bafta Awards. It segues from Tallinn to the Santa Barbara Festival, the first of at least two U.S. fest berths.

Inspired by the true-life story of Arlindo Barreto who played Bozo the Clown on Brazilian TV giant Globo in the early ‘80, the chronicle of the rise and fall of Augusto, Bingo the Clown, star of a children’s morning TV show, is one of Gullane’s flagship movie titles.

On another, “Noah’s Ark,” which Fabiano Gullane will talk up at a Ventana Sur animated feature pitching session on Thursday, Paris Filmes, Brazil’s biggest independent distributor, has boarded the project and will handle the movie’s theatrical release in Brazil.

Produced by Gullane and Walter Salles’ Videofilmes, with Salles serving as a producer and artistic supervisor, “Noah’s Ark” is co-produced by Globo Filmes, a partnership which will ensure it maximum visibility in Brazil. With scripts completed, Gullane is now taking to the market the musical adventure, about the escapades of two bohemian mice who manage to get onto Noah’s vessel, which is inspired by the songs of “The Girl from Ipanema” lyricist and composer, Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobin, dedicated to 20 different animals on the arc.

“Noah’s Ark” is budgeted at $7.5 million, enough to ensure a quality of production, but not so much as to create unrealistic market demands. Aiming to raise 60% from Brazil, Gullane is looking to tie down foreign co-producer, he said at Ventana Sur where he drilled down on a 14 title film-TV project that includes eight TV shows. That may be a sign of the times.

“For the first 15 years of Gullane, we did 100% movies. Now maybe half our projects are TV. To make a movie, I need to go all over the place, securing maybe 12 sources of financing. With TV, it’s just one negotiation and one cash flow,” Gullane said.

If Gullane’s TV partner taps into Brazilian TV incentives covering 50% of the cost of production, Gullane can retain rights to the show it produces, helping it to build its asset value as a company.

Among film and TV highlights:

*Paris Filmes has acquired Brazilian theatrical distribution rights to Gullane’s first English-language movie, Fernando Andrade Grostein’s Brooklyn dramedy “Abe,” starring “Stranger Things’” Noah Schnapp as the son of a Palestine Muslim father and Israeli Jewish mother who attempts to pacify his feuding in-laws with the help of a Brazilian chef.

*Gullane is entering franchise production. On “Noah’s Ark.” For instance, it is negotiating with Globo’s kids channel Gloob to create a TV series based on the property. On MipTV Screenings prized “Jailers,” a hard-hitting penitentiary drama-thriller whose first season Globo plans to air around next February, Globo and Gullane will produce a feature film spin-off, probably broadcast between Seasons 1 and 2 of the drama. Gullane is also producing a documentary on the real-life figures who inspired the TV series.

*Director of Annecy Cristal winner “Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury,” Luiz Bolognesi has directed doc-feature “Ex-Shaman,” about the Evangelical movement’s conversion of Amazonian indigenous communities, often living on mineral rich lands, to Christianity. In one case, which the film focuses on, this leaves a former Shaman working as doorman to the local church.

*Gullane is teaming with André Ristum’s Sombumbo Filmes on two TV series: “The Colony,” co-produced with TC Filmes and made for Canal Brasil, a 10-part half-hour drama-thriller with horror beats directed by Ristum and Marco Dutra and inspired by the real-life story of a Brazilian mental asylum which contributed to the death of 60,000 of its patients; and “Over My Dead Body,” a comedy written by Ristum and Stephanie de Jongh about a man who dies from a heart attack but can’t drag himself away from earth where, as a ghost, he seeks to prevent his wife from starting a new life.

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