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Aiming For a Dream, Producer Angel Cassani Strikes it Hot in Hollywood with the UFC

Producer Angel Cassani
Producer Angel Cassani

“While working in financing I dreamt of myself one day working in films in the famous Hollywood, California,” says Angel Diego Cassani, a Latin American expert financier who is conquering Hollywood today.

Angel is a veteran financier with more than 15 years in the field of financing and filmmaking. He started Global Capital Markets Group in Chile, Colombia and Peru, a big multi-national client portfolio including BellSouth, Motorola, Avon, and more. He has now brought his expertise in financing to his true passion – film making.

The film business operates in the creative sphere, but first and foremost it is a business. So, in 2008 Angel Cassani, who understands both entertainment and financing, came up with a brilliant idea to capitalize on the tremendous popularity of the UFC at that time. The UFC was and is still today, the highest growing sport in the world, and was featured that year on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Prize fighters and show business have been drawn to each other through history. Jack Dempsey, a heavyweight champion during the movie explosion of the roaring 20’s did not defend his title for 3 years, instead he headed to Hollywood with his actress wife Estelle Taylor, and made a dozen films while the leading contenders kicked their heels. In 1952, Sugar Ray Robinson retired from boxing after unsuccessfully challenging for the light heavyweight title, the great fighter put his skills to good use and went on tour as a dancer, earning $15,000 a week at that time. Robinson had parts in movies alongside, Frank Sinatra, and Marlon Brando, and many others.

Angel had the brilliant idea of using the popularity of the UFC and began approaching heavy-hitters, and Hollywood players, as well as the studio Lionsgate, which immediately jumped at Angel’s out-of-the box creativity of and signed a six picture deal with him and his partner Hector Echavarria, a famous world martial arts champion, and film and television star from Argentina.

There are clear parallels between the life of an actor and the life of a prize fighter. The structure of the two industries is almost identical at the top of the tree.

“An elite few are well rewarded,” says Angel. The titles that Angel was crucial in closing these deals with the famous Hollywood studio. This joint venture led to pictures like “Confessions of a Pit Fighter” with famous movie star Armand Assante, as well as “Death Warrior,” “Unrivaled,” “Never Surrender,” and “Chavez Cage of Glory.”

Film Poster for "Never Surrender"

These films not only started the cinematic career of UFC prize fighters Quinton Jackson and Georges St-Pierre, aka GSP, who would both later on be cast in giant Hollywood projects like the remake of “The A-Team,” and the “Captain America” series, but also generate millions in profits for Lionsgate who invested a small amount in the pictures that yielded a tenfold return on investment.

That is when Angel Cassani began to dream even bigger. Other Hollywood studios approached him to do the same deal with Lionsgate but Angel turned them down and decided to move on and produce big Hollywood pictures. Angel and his partner, Hector Echavarria, then teamed up with iconic Hollywood legend, Ronald Shusett, whose movies, which include titles such as “Alien,” “Total Recall,” and other hits grossed over 1.5 billion at the box office.

Over the years of acting as a financial manager, Angel managed a number of due diligence engagements, such as acquisitions, disposals and debt restructuring projects and was often involved in assisting foreign investors in identifying and understanding the differences between Argentine GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), IAS (Internal Accounting Standards) and U.S. GAAP depending on the origination of a target business. Angel also manages acquisitions, merger, sales, debt rescheduling for companies like Super Canal, Grupo Uno and Multimedios in Latin America. All of these companies related to the entertainment industry.

“It was there that I realized that my dreams one day may be a reality,” says Angel.

Now Angel is working with other A-list Hollywood directors and actors and is ready to launch his own Hollywood studio. Angel is currently producing three Hollywood films including “Last Tango,” “Hit man’s Funeral” and “Hunter.” “Last Tango” will be directed by Steven Campanelli who was the cameraman for Clint Eastwood for more than 20 years on films like “Million Dollar Baby,” “Sully,” “Grand Torino,” etc. Campanelli also directed “Momentum” with Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman. “Hit Man’s Funeral” was written by TJ Mancini who also wrote “Find me Guilty” for Vin Diesel and produced films like “Riddick” and the Sundance Film Festival nominated film, “Stray.”

“Hit Man’s Funeral” is an Irish gangster story– think “The Usual Suspects” meets “Reservoir Dogs,” offering a peek inside the gritty world of dangerous hitmen, where no one can be trusted and everyone’s a suspect.

“My goal in film is to work with the best people in the industry and create a piece of work I can truly be honored by, which is incredibly difficult but it’s the challenge and risk that makes it so exciting,” says Angel.

Producer Angel Cassani has secured himself as a top producer in the international entertainment industry; and the formation of his new Hollywood film studio has brought the attention of the Hollywood elite to him. Angel is one of the few people in the world that can say that he did everything he dreamt of doing in his life and being part of the Hollywood history is one of his biggest accomplishments.

Production Coordinator Victoria Marino Makes Shooting in Brazil Easy for Foreign Productions

Production Coordinator Victoria Marino
Production Coordinator Victoria Marino

Whether it be from Hollywood or any other country for that matter, when a production decides to shoot in a foreign country it’s imperative to have a strong production coordinator on the ground who’s familiar with the country they’re on location in to make things flow as seamlessly as possible. That’s where Brazilian production coordinator Victoria Marino comes in.

For several years now she’s been the production coordinator for high profile foreign productions who’ve gone on location throughout Brazil, including the Discovery Channel’s new series “The Wheel” and the network’s upcoming series “72 Dangerous Animals: Latin America” produced by the Australian production company Showrunner Productions Inc., the popular “UFC Embedded: Vlog Series” and “Road to the Octagon 24,” season two of the MTV series “Catfish: The TV Show Brazil” and more.

Over the years Victoria has accrued extensive experience in the film and television industry taking on practically every behind the scenes role imaginable, including working as a producer on the film “Goodnight Willy,” which screened at the Cannes Film Festival’s Court Metrage, and many others as an assistant director, production manager and assistant editor. The wide scope of her work and inside knowledge of how each department functions best, combined with her expansive contact list, are a few of the reasons that she’s become such a sought after production coordinator.

Last year Victoria was tapped to come on board as the lead production coordinator at Figura Media aka Brazilian Production Services, whose clients include industry giants such as Netflix, Disney, Marvel, Google, Fox, UFC, MTV and Discovery Channel.

About what drew her to join Figura Media, Victoria explains, “Being a Brazilian living in the United States, I was happy to find a production services company that specializes in providing production infrastructure to foreign clients filming projects in Brazil. This was the perfect position for me, because it gave me the chance to use my cultural Brazilian background combined with my production experience and knowledge of American client-handling.”

Her key role at the company has placed her in the lead as the coordinator on a long list of film and television shoots, as well as branded content, such as a recent project for the Wallpaper* Magazine and Pullman Hotels Global Nomad series, a series of films aimed at helping the sophisticated world explorer navigate the planet’s hottest cities.

As the production coordinator for the second edition of the series, which focused on São Paulo, Brazil, Victoria led the film crew around the city and ensured that the production ran smooth and nailed the client’s desires.

“For this project, our client had high ambitions in terms of the artistic look of the project, but a limited budget to accomplish it, so one of the main aspects of the production was to find creative solutions to make a beautiful film within the budget that we had,” explains Victoria.

“We were shooting at several different locations in São Paulo, so I personally negotiated location fees for each of them. I also had to find a crew that was ideal for the project, and coordinate all the other aspects of the production. At the end of the day, our client was really satisfied with the final project, and I was really proud of pulling off that production within the constraints that we had.”

Another project where Victoria’s skill and Brazilian familiarity proved her to be an invaluable asset as the production coordinator was on the docuseries “72 Dangerous Animals Latin America” produced by Showrunner Productions. The second edition in the “72 Dangerous Animals” series, the first of which aired on Netflix, the Latin American edition brings viewers up close and personal with the continent’s most deadly creatures.

Considering that many of those animals live in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, having someone who not only knows the local film crews and culture, but also the often treacherous terrain was imperative to a successful shoot.  

Carolyn Bertram, Senior Producer at Showrunner Productions, says, “In the production of a 12 episodes of a 1 hour international broadcast series, Victoria helped me navigate a minefield of challenging situations, and extreme locations… the guidance, help and expertise she added to our production, has enabled us achieve a much higher standard of content than we had dared hope for.”

Leading the way as a top production coordinator in Brazil, it will come as no surprise that more and more productions specifically request her to join their team on location in South America. Next up, Victoria Marino will be production coordinating the upcoming MMA documentary “Fightworld” for Netflix starring Frank Grillo, as well as an episode of NBC’s “The Voyager with Josh Garcia” in Rio de Janeiro.