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City of Men Going Digital

Fernando Meirelles' shingle O2 Filmes is prepping interactive animated content for cell phones and the Internet, reports VARIETY.

It's dedicated new-media department, O2 Digital that was launched in mid-2005, is prepping computer-animated episodes based on CITY OF MEN, the TV series spin-off of Meirelles' breakout film, CITY OF GOD.

A pilot episode will be ready by mid-June, said O2 development exec Thiago Dottori. The stories will run 45 seconds to five minutes, depending on users' selection of options. The series' lead actors will provide their voices to the animated series, Meirelles said.

O2 has a production deal with TV Globo, which will screen the animated series on its website, Globo.com, and on cell phones, possibly through a pact with giant carrier Vivo. At last count, Brazil had an estimated 5,000 3G cell phone and 13.4 million web users.

Airing on Brazil's No. 1 broadcaster, TV Globo, 15 minutes of the finale of CITY OF MEN series was animated. The series finished in December in Brazil debuted in the U.S. on the Sundance Channel in April. Palm Pictures has all North American rights to the skein.

Shooting starts May 31 on the CITY OF MEN feature film based on the TV skein. Meirelles will produce, with Paolo Morelli, who directed several of the TV episodes, to helm.

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