Italy’s Vivo Film Boards ‘Technically Sweet,’ Produced by Brazil’s Gullane, Based on a Michelangelo Antonioni Script (EXCLUSIVE) 

Italian indie producer Vivo Film (“Le Quattro Volte,” “Miss Marx”) has boarded André Ristum’s action drama “Tecnicamente Dolce” (“Technically Sweet”), based on a screenplay by Italian legend Michelangelo Antonioni, teaming with Gullane Filmes, Brazil’s biggest independent film production house.

The news comes as “Carnival Is Over,” the awaited thriller drama by “Narcos” director Fernando Coimbra, whose “A Wolf at the Door” was one of the standout Brazilian feature debuts of the last decade, has now entered post-production, shaping up as one of the big arthouse titles to hit festivals from Brazil next year.

Featuring Leandra Leal (“A Wolf at the Door”), Pêpê Rapazote (“Narcos”) and Irandhir Santos (“Tropa de Elite 2”), “Carnival” is a Brazilian-Portuguese co-production that teams Gullane with Fado Filmes, Videodrome, Globo Filmes and Telecine, in association with TC Filmes. France’s Playtime has started to pre-sell the film.

“This movie is our main title for next year. This is the new auteur movie from Fernando [Coimbra] because he did a lot for Netflix and other players, but his own artistic style is here,” Fabiano Gullane told Variety.

“Carnival Is Over” will be Gullane main focus for the international market at least in the next year’s first half. “We are expecting a good performance in both festivals and sales,” Gullane said.

In Brazil, the film will be distributed by Paris Filmes.  

Set in Sardinia and the Amazon jungle and co-produced by André Ristum’s Sombumbo Filmes, “Technically Sweet” was written when Antonioni was at the height of his powers and he planned to shoot it between “Zabriskie Point” and “The Passenger.”

Turning on a journalist who suffers an existential crisis on a sudden holiday, Antonioni finally gave up on shooting “Technically Sweet” in the 1980s, entrusting it to his A.D., Jirges Ristum, who died at an early age before shooting the film. It will now be directed by Ristum’s son, André Ristum (“My Country,” “The Other Side of Paradise”). 

Rome-based Vivo Film will now co-produce the title.

“As Vivo film we are very thrilled to be part of this wonderful project, and to be able to give a new life to an extraordinary script by Michelangelo Antonioni,” said producer Marta Doncelli, Vivo co-founder.

“We are also very happy to share this adventure with such fantastic partners as André, Caio and Fabiano, we will work together to realize and adapt to today’s age this amazing Antonioni’s heritage in the best possible way,” added Doncelli, whose credits also take in Abel Ferrara’s “Siberia” 

The film is scheduled to enter production by 2024, with an estimated delivery for 2025.

Sao Paulo-based Helen Beltrame Linné is collaborating on the Michelangelo Antonioni script. 

“Now we are much more confident on the project because for us it was crucial to have an Italian producer alongside us. And we have discussed with a lot of the Italian companies, and at the end of the day Vivo was someone that really wanted to make this movie first,” Gullane said.

“It’s impressive how Antonioni in the ‘60s could anticipate some issues that are really important nowadays. Like gender respect, ecological concerns, and protecting Sardinia against real estate speculation. All those subjects that nowadays are hot button issues, he was thinking and talking about that in 1965-67. He was really ahead his time,” Gullane added.

Gullane has partnered with Caos Produçoes to produce “School Without Walls,” the new film by Cao Hamburger, director of “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation,” which was Oscar shortlisted and played Berlin main competition.

Co-produced by Globo Filmes, the project, currently in development, is planned for a 2025 delivery.

In post-production, “Portrait of a Certain Orient,” the new film by Marcelo Gomes, marks the latest from the director of 2017 Berlinale competitor “Joaquim” and “Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures.”

A standout in 2005 Cannes’ Un Certain Regard.

A tale about religious intolerance, “Portrait of a Certain Orient” is a Brazilian-Italian-Lebanese production set up at Rio de Janeiro’s Matizar Filmes, in co-production with Kavac Film, Gullane, Misti Filmes, Muraiquita Filmes, Globo Filmes and Canal Brasil, with Orjuane Productions, Bubble Projects and Videofilmes as associated producers. 

Gullane was founded in Sao Paulo in 1996 by Caio and Fabiano Gullane, having produced since then more than 50 very often prominent features and 30 TV series released in Brazil and abroad. 

Gullane’s highlights take in “The Traitor,” a 2019 Cannes competition player; “The Second Mother,” selected for Sundance and a winner of the Berlinale Panorama sidebar in 2015; “A Wolf at the Door,” a TIFF player and San Sebastian Horizontes Latinos winner in 2013; Berlinale 2012 competitor “Tabu” and “The Year My Parents Went On Vacation,” and Hector Babenco’s “Carandiru,” which sold 4.5 million admissions in Brazil and was a Sony Pictures Classics U.S. pickup. 

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