The producer of hit Netflix original series “3%,” Sao Paulo’s Boutique Filmes, is teaming with Warner Channel Brasil to produce half-hour “Mal Me Quer” (Love Me Not), Warner Bros.’ first comedy original in Brazil.
Success in such a large TV market as Brazil is vital for any domestic TV series. But as Brazilian series score on Netflix, and win prizes at Cannes, such as a Mip Drama Screening’s Grand Jury Prize for Globo’s “Jailers,” the ambitions of Boutique Filmes and Warner Channel, who co-own overseas rights, run beyond the domestic TV scene. Boutiques Filmes’ Tiago Mello, “3%” producer and executive producer on “Love Me Not” will attend Mipcom to explore format remakes.
That ambition goes with a series set in Brazil’s middle class and turning on the lengths a couple will go to keep their house, even if it means officially ending their marriage. Felipe Abib, who broke out with movie “Western,” then co-starred in comedy blockbuster “Vai que Dá Certo 2,” playing a dippy husband, Marcel, whose travel agency goes bankrupt, due to his business partner. Played by Julia Rabello, star of major Globo series “Rock Story,” Olivia, Marcel’s hard-working dentist wife, does have her head on her shoulders. Together, they decide that the only way to protect their properties from bankruptcy proceedings is to file for divorce. But nobody can discover their rift is fake, so they bring in lawyers and begin to discover real good reasons for getting divorced and the upside of their new official freedom.
It’s only the couple’s youngest child, Bruna, who has a real perspective on the situation, seeing that, in order to keep their house, her parents are risking their once rock-solid love for each other.
“We have a joke in Brazil that when you’re married, you want to divorce, and when you’re divorced, you want to get married. But what’s good about the series is that it’s really about love and marriage,” said Mello.
As a slew of Netflix original series orders and the drive into upscale short-format series by established players such as Globo have created a feeding fever for top talent in Brazil, Boutique and WB have tied down a top creative package for “Love Me Not.”
The six-part series is directed by screenwriter-director Ian SBF, co-founder of cult Brazilian online comedy group Porta dos Fundos, now co-owned by Viacom.
“The idea is to match top-of-their class writers with a director who has a great sense of comic timing,” said Mello.
“Love Me Not” has been penned by Ana Reber, a writer on the Brazilian reversion of “In Treatment” and new movie comedy “Uma Quase Dupla,” and Rodrigo Castilho, co-creator of “The Business,” which has just bowed out after its fourth and final season, rating as one of HBO Latin America’s biggest hits in Brazil.
“Working with dynamic local production companies to create compelling new Brazilian content is very important to Warner Channel. We are very excited to share ‘Love Me Not’ with Brazilian audiences and hope that they enjoy the show as much as we do,” said Mike Shackleton, Warner Bros. TV vice president, marketing, Canada, APAC & LATAM.
“Right now, we’re producing just six episodes to test the waters. But the idea is that we can jump really fast to more episodes,” Mello said.
He added: Boutique and Warners “aim to continue producing in Portuguese but explore foreign format adaptation once they have episodes to show the international market. It’s a subject everybody can relate to.”
“Love Me Not” comes as Brazil’s most internationally ambitious producers such as Boutique Filmes are moving from upscale drama with foreign-market upside to shows conceived from their very origin, and often developed with overseas partners, as international productions. Here Boutique is also one of the market leaders with multiple series in development including “The Chase,” about Nazi hunters in Latin America, co-produced with Canada’s Cineflix, where the partners are developing a pilot script.
Brazil’s dramatic diversification in TV production rolls off more factors than Netflix. 2013 legislation obliges broadcasters to screen 3.5 hours of original Brazilian primetime content every week. Series such as “Love Me Not” have backing from Brazil’s governmental Ancine film-TV agency.
Also, said Mello, “there’s been a change in audience behavior. There are more mobile phones than people in Brazil, because people love to watch content on cell phones and broadband delivery has improved significantly. In the past, people watched just one or two channels. Now they’re watching multiple channels.”