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Portugal’s O Som e A Furia’s 2019 Slate: ‘Patrick,’ ‘Technoboss,’ ‘Frankie,’ ‘Pedro’

Founded in 1998, O Som e a Furia is one of Portugal’s leading production companies, and has produced works by Portuguese auteurs such as Miguel Gomes, Ivo Ferreira, Sandro Aguilar, and João Nicolau.

Owned by Luís Urbano and Sandro Aguilar, the company has developed a clear editorial line dedicated to Portuguese and foreign auteurs who develop films with crossover potential that can succeed on the international festival circuit.

Over the past two decades the company has worked with a consistent group of directors and has developed a network of regular co-production partners, in particular in France, Germany, Brazil and Switzerland.

Urbano says that one of his key contributions is at a curatorial level: “We aim to work with directors who have a distinctive point of view and to evolve with them over their careers. In the case of a new director, I can help them create a distinctive mark.”

In 2019 the company will release four films– two majority co-productions: João Nicolau’s musical “Technoboss,” and Gonçalo Waddington’s debut feature “Patrick,” both repped by The Match Factory; and two minority co-productions: Ira Sachs’ “Frankie,” and Laís Bodanzky’s “Pedro.”

“Frankie” and “Technoboss” were included by French magazine, Cahiers du Cinema, amongst its top 13 most awaited films in 2019.

Urbano believes that the projects releasing in 2019 will consolidate the company’s positioning as an important international producer of auteur films with cross-over potential.

“Patrick” has aroused significant interest for a debut feature. It was selected for the Berlinale co-production market in early 2016, and then took part in the Sundance Mediterranean Screenwriters Workshop, where the makers were mentored by Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari, which made it possible to put together a €2 million ($2,4 million) budget.

41-year old helmer Waddington is an acclaimed playwright, stage director and actor, having starred in films such as Miguel Gomes’ “Arabian Nights.”

“Unlike most of our other films, the script plays a decisive role in ‘Patrick’,” says Urbano. “It has a strong narrative structure and is very script-orientated. What you read in the script is closely aligned with what we see in the film.”

“Patrick” recounts the story of an 8-year old Portuguese boy, Mario, who is rediscovered years later after being imprisoned in a Parisian jail, aged 20, now called Patrick. It is loosely inspired by the true-life story of an 11-year old child called Rui Pedro who was abducted in Portugal in 1998 and never found.

Patrick has become a borderline criminal who lives with a 45-year old artist in Paris, having been involved in child pornography since his abduction. He must choose between a lengthy prison sentence or returning to his family in Portugal where, because of his abduction, he would be given a much softer sentence

Lead actor, Hugo Fernandes, is a French actor of Portuguese origin, who previously starred in Danièle Thompson’s “Cezanne and Me.”

It’s a Portuguese-German co-production between O Som e a Fúria and Augenschein Filmproduktion, run by Jonas Katzenstein and Maximilian Leo. It also involves German and Portuguese pubcasters ZDF/Arte and RTP, and has support from the Portuguese Film and Audiovisual Institute, ICA, the Portuguese cash-rebate scheme, Eurimages, NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia), DFFF (German Federal Film Fund) and Creative Europe. France’s 10:15 Productions was also involved in the project.

Urbano says that the involvement of ZDF in the project was crucial to bring the other partners on board. The exteriors and interiors in Paris were mainly filmed in Cologne, with two scenes shot in Paris.

“Technoboss” by João Nicolau (“John From,” “The Sword and the Rose”), stars renowned 71-year old Portuguese cultural manager Miguel Lobo Antunes who plays an eccentric sales manager about to retire who reignites a passion with an old flame, Lucinda.

Nicolau, trained as a visual anthropologist, is also a musician, member of the bands München and Silence is a Boy, and coordinator of the artistic musical project, Secret Museum of Mankind. He says that “Technoboss” is a film spent on the road without being a road movie and is filled with songs without being a musical.

Co-produced with France’s Shellac Sud – one of Urbano’s key coproduction partners – the pic is backed by ICA, RTP and France’s CNC.

Ira Sachs’ “Frankie,” starring Isabelle Huppert and Marisa Tomei, is majority co-produced by France’s Said Ben Said.  It’s about a family in crisis during a day spent on vacation in Sintra, near Lisbon.

The $2.4 million pic is Ira Sachs’ first non-US project, and was completely lensed in Sintra, with an entirely Portuguese crew and benefited from Portugal’s new cash-rebate scheme.

18th century historic drama “Pedro” by Brazilian helmer Laís Bodanzky (“Brainstorm”) follows Pedro who, after renouncing his position as Emperor of Brazil, sails to the Azores archipelago, on his way back to Portugal to fight for the throne.

The $3 million pic is co-produced with Brazil’s Biônica Filmes, Buriti and Globo, and stars famous Brazilian actor, Cauã Reymond, as Pedro. It has support from Portugal’s ICA, Brazil’s ANCINE, and the Luso-Brazilian Fund and Ibermedia.

Urbano’s upcoming projects include Miguel Gomes’ next feature, Selvajaria (Savagery), which will shoot in 2020 in Bahia, Brazil. It’s a free adaptation of “Os Sertões”, by Euclides da Cunha, a seminal work in Brazilian literature.

“Projeto Global”, by Ivo M. Ferreira, who directed “Letters from War” (2016) and has just completed crime drama series “South,” is about the far-left terrorist group, FP 25 de Abril, which operated in Portugal during the first half of the 1980s. João Nicolau is prepping a documentary about the John Frum ritual in Vanuatu, Melanesia, South Pacific, having previously explored this ritual in his 2015 feature film, “John From.”

Urbano is also planning the debut feature of visual artist Salomé Lamas titled “Gold and Ashes,” following her shorts, “No Man’s Land” and “Eldorado XXI,” which screened in the Berlinale Forum in 2013 and 2016, and “Coup de Grâce” which screened in official competition in 2017.

Urbano concludes by explaining his modus operandi as a producer: “My creative intervention is inevitably subtle. It’s related to the challenges and restrictions that arise and how to overcome them without sacrificing the director’s vision. I tend to say that I have a certain schizophrenia, with one foot in reality and the other in the reality of cinema.”

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