Brazil’s entertainment industry is the envy of Latin America, boasting eight years of box office growth. Movies produced in Brazil accounted for 18.6 percent of the total film market in Brazil last year, thanks to strong government support. So it makes sense that São Paulo-based brothers Fabiano and Caio Gullane, who have built one of the best reputations in the Brazilian film industry, are poised to take their production house, Gullane Filmes, to greater heights.
The brothers started their film production business out of a van nearly 20 years ago. Now, they frequently produce films in Brazil with the backing of Hollywood studios, and in turn, US major studios often pick up their movies for distribution. The Gullanes also have increased their output of projects for TV, and they’ve launched their own distribution arm.
Gullane Filmes is moving forward with a 14-title movie-development/production plan, unthinkable in Brazil just a few years ago. However, thanks to a R$1.2 billion (U$480 million) package of public-sector incentives for film and TV production and distribution, unveiled in July by the Brazilian government, companies like the Gullane’s can expand. Only France boasts stronger state support.
Highlights of upcoming films from the Gullane brothers include the comedy Till Luck Do Us Part 3; new movies by Lais Bodansky, Luiz Bolognesi, and Fernando Coimbra, all of whom have had success with the Gullane brothers in the past; the Fox co-produced and distributed Heliopolis, a favela tale about students in a music class; and the animated Noah’s Ark, co-produced with Walter Salles’s VideoFilmes. Noah’s Ark uses songs of the late Vinicius de Moraes, who wrote the lyrics to The Girl From Ipanema.
The Gullane brothers’ working relationship uses a classic division of labor. “Caio focuses on talent relationships and the films’ physical production, and I head up film financing, co-production, distribution, strategy, festivals, and international sales,” Fabiano Gullane says.
Their plan is three-pronged, he adds: They develop local commercial movies, art house films, and that elusive Holy Grail of Latin American movie production — crossover projects they hope will click in Brazil and abroad.
Gullane teamed with Disney’s Buena Vista International on its latest film, Tomas Portella’s romantic comedy Love Stories, which stars husband-and-wife team Gregorio Duvivier and Clarice Falcão of the Porta dos Fundos comedy troupe, whose weekly YouTube shorts command more than 10 million hits.
One potential crossover title, Gullane says, is Anna Muylaert’s Where Is She? a standout at Locarno’s Carte Blanche pics-in-post showcase. The film follows a live-in domestic who horrifies her middle-class bosses when her daughter passes the first round of exams for São Paulo’s elite architectural school.
Gullane Filmes now has three business lines, adds Caio Gullane: movie production, TV production, and distribution. Its distribution arm released Miguel Gomes’ cult art house title Tabu, another Gullane international co-production.
The brothers grew the television side of the company to take advantage of 2012 regulations that boost local production by obliging pay TV operators to air 3½ hours of primetime Brazilian content per week.
They just wrapped The Man of Your Dreams, a remake of Juan Jose Campanella’s Argentine original for HBO, and are developing a medical series Basic Unit with Brazil’s Universal Channel. Indeed, premium TV productions, made with strict budgets, look to be a way forward for Gullane and for Brazil’s production sector in general.
Gullane launched its film business in 1999, starting production on Bodansky’s Brainstorm, which marked the first major role for Rodrigo Santoro. Its two-picture comedy franchise Till Luck Do Us Part (Até que a sorte nos separe) gave it the biggest local movie hit in Brazil in 2012 and 2014, grossing a combined U$36.1 million.
The 3-D Amazonia, a jungle-set family adventure, and one of its international co-productions, closed the Venice Film Festival in 2013. Bolognesi’s animated film, Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury, took the top prize at France’s 2013 Annecy Festival, while Coimbra’s A Wolf at the Door won kudos at several fests.
Clearly the Gullanes’ schedule is full. “In terms of production,” says Fabiano, “Brazil is living a special moment.”
[This article was written by John Hopewell and appeared on the Variety website. It was edited by CIE.]