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Globo, Sony Pictures TV Seal Milestone English-Language Series Alliance

Brazil’s Grupo Globo and Sony Pictures Television have closed a milestone multi-title production-distribution alliance to co-develop and co-produce two English-language scripted dramas, with a third project forthcoming, all aimed squarely at global markets.

The pioneering alliance was announced Friday at this year’s LA Screenings.

Brazil-based and SPT-backed Floresta, is set to co-produce the ambitious new drama series with Globo Studios. SPT will have global distribution rights outside of Brazil.SPT will most probably mix own distribution on Sony channels and sales to third party networks.  “We are blessed with some great networks and I’m sure some of them will be excited by these projects, but in other territories we’ll also be looking outside of the Sony networks,” said Wayne Garvie, president international production, Sony Pictures Television.

Globo plans to broadcast the dramas on its free-to-air channel in primetime and on Grupo Globo’s platforms.

At Globo, both productions will be overseen by Monica Albuquerque, head of development, and Silvio de Abreu, head of drama. Executive production is by Floresta’s Elisabetta Zenatti and Globo Studios’ Ricardo Waddington.

The partnership marks Globo’s – and indeed Floresta’s – entry into high-end international English-language series production.

First up in productions are, appropriately, two true Brazilian stories that highlight the country’s impact on the world stage, be it through heroism or scandal.

A limited historical series with, the partners promise in a statement Friday, “lavish production”, is “The Angel of Hamburg” inspired by the extraordinary life of Aracy de Carvalho, a Brazilian clerk at the Brazilian Consulate in Hamburg married to the acclaimed writer João Guimarães Rosa, who secretly helped hundreds of Jews escape to Brazil during the Nazi regime in Germany.

The eight one-hour episode series is written by Mario Teixeira (“Crashing into the Future,” “Lady Revolution”) and Rachel Anthony (“Ransom,” ”Mistresses”),who will fine-tune the writing for the Anglo-American market, Albuquerque said. “The Angel of Hamburg” will be directed by Jayme Monjardim (“The Clone2) will direct. It will feature an international cast including Brazilian talents, said Abreu.

“The Angel of Hamburg” is “a powerful real life story, full of action and heroism, about a great love born amid the horrors and misery of the Third Reich,”Abreu said.

He added: “The story sheds light on the bravery of a Brazilian woman who disobeyed orders of her own government and risked her own life to help hundreds of Jews from ending up in concentration camps.”

“Rio Connection” tells the real-life story of European gangsters who established Brazil as the single most important organized crime hub for trafficking heroin into the U.S. in the 1970s.

“The ongoing collaboration between Sony and Globo to create premium English-language series from Brazil, a real first for both of us, has been a terrific meeting of creative minds, and we look forward to the production phase later this year,” said Garvie, calling the two series “the latest examples of our commitment to tell compelling, locally relevant stories that have universal appeal and can resonate with audiences around the world.”

“The production of ‘The Angel of Hamburg’ and ‘Rio Connection’ is one more step Globo has taken in its pursuit of becoming an international player in the production of high-end drama and short-format content. We believe in the universal appeal of these stories and in the power they have to move audiences on a global scale,” added Globo CEO Carlos Henrique Schroeder.

“Besides our national talents, Globo Studios offers a robust production structure, with innovative infrastructure and investments in technology, which enable us to turn ideas – ours and those of our partners— into high quality reality,” he added.

Co-productions allow partners to achieve a scale in production to compete with global rivals. In the case of Globo, the Sony deal is about much more, however. It is also understood that Globo is in talks to broach production partnership with other partners.

“This is a very important partnership which will bring us enormous learning opportunities and, without a doubt, will not be the last one,” Schroeder said.

The deal rolls off a thoroughgoing overhaul of Globo’s development proceses. That includes, under Albuquerque, the creation of two Screenwriters Houses, eight lines of series development and in-house training for writers in the art of creating returning series.

“All the initiatives to review our processes and place artistic development center stage to the creative process have this objective: To lead us down new paths, identify the best projects and work with potentially great ideas and talents that are capable of appealing to people irrespective of where they are,” Albuquerque commented.

The deal is also an important development for Sony as well.

“The Angel of Hamburg” is certainly one of our biggest productions in Latin America, and it’s certainly the biggest co-production we have undertaken in Brazil,” Garvie commented.

“That’s why this feels like an important milestone for the development of our Brazilian production company, Floresta.”

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