Pictures in Paradise seals massive co-pro deal

By Simon de Bruyn

The Queensland based production company behind The Propostion, Daybreakers and the recently shot psychological thriller Triangle, has signed a joint venture deal with Italy’s Barbablu Films, to produce six pictures together over the next five years.

Pictures in Paradise founder Chris Brown, and his Italian-Australian partner Diana Le Dean Brown, sealed the deal with Barbablu at Cannes this year – which they’ve billed as the first time the co-production treaty forged between Australia and Italy in 1993 has been put into use.

Chris Brown told INSIDEFILM the deal is a financial as well as creative partnership, as Barbablu Films houses a financing entity called MGLab – an investment company and Italian branch of the Swiss MBVentures – who will make gap financing available for up to 20 per cent of each project’s budget.

The Italian company is also financially supported by the Piedmont Regional Government’s Film Department, which includes the Piedmont Film Commission who are directly involved with all productions filmed in the area.

Brown said the deal would also give Pictures in Paradise a stronger position in the European film markets, not only in terms of distributing films but also exporting creative talent from Australia into Europe.

“We’ve built really strong relationships with the UK and US and we wanted to expand in Europe. By going into Italy we will have a springboard into Spain, Germany, France and the rest of Europe. We will be able to do business on a more advanced footing and have the ability to sell Australian acting and creative talent into Europe as opposed to the talent drain to the US,” he said.

The first film produced under the co-production agreement will be Dark Door, to be directed by Italian/Australian director Eros Puglielli, which will commence principal photography on Queensland’s Gold Coast in the first quarter of next year.

Brown said 70% of Dark Door will be filmed at Warner Roadshow Studios in Queensland while the remaining 30% would be shot in Turin, Italy.