Mart participants see need for partners

EuroForum producers gather to tout projects

LAS PALMAS, Canary Islands — With TV coin so tight over much of continental Europe, co-production is more necessary than ever.

That seemed a general verdict at the first EuroForum 2003 Audiovisual Co-Production Market, April 3-5.

Meet saw producers from Europe roll in to the sub-tropical city of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands to talk-up some 40 projects, all at script-stage, to a bevy of potential co-producers, sales agents and distribbers, many from the home territory Spain.

Standout projects, per the events’ organizers, included the World War II thriller “Fuerteventura” (Italy),” child abduction drama “The Mexican Girl” (Germany), six-part urban comedy “Los caminos del deseo” (Spain), and bank robber drama “Who the Hell is Bonnie And Clyde” (Hungary). Other buzz productions include allegorical love tale “You Am I” (Hungary), classical music competition thriller “El gran silencio” (Spain), slaughterhouse love triangle “Hielo rojo” (Spain), the Cyprus-set drama “The Coat” (Turkey), immigrant docu “Aguaviva” (Spain) and supernatural horror film “Hangman” (U.K.).

Talks on many of these projects look likely to be picked up at the Cannes fest. Though EuroForum was put together in a couple of months, it offered producers face-to-face access to key — and sometimes new — sources of Spanish and other-European project financing and distribution.

Execs attending from Spain included Warner Bros. Production Spain’s Ana Amigo, Columbia Films Producciones Espanolas’ Jordi Gasull, DeAPlaneta’s Adolfo Blanco and producer Mate Cantero.

“It was a bit like a smaller and more intimate Rotterdam CineMart co-production market that allowed you to get to know potential partners pretty well,” said producer Stuart Sutherland of the U.K.’s Celtic Films.

Many news announcements turned on co-production:

  • Former sales exec and consultant Peter Andermatt has created Arena Audiovisual, teaming with script consultant Javier Pereira and analyst Fernando Labrada. Madrid-based Arena aims to offer services from script-editing to venture capital capture to a select roster of clients targeting Spain and Latin America or to companies based out of these territories aiming to broaden their international contacts, Andermatt said.

  • EuroForum director Teo Rios and Ana Belen Buendia of the Sociedad Digital de Autores y Editores presented CREANet, an Internet platform for producers and distributors to promote or access film projects.

  • Albert Sagales, development manager at Barcelona-based Diagonal TV’s, announced production on two TV movies with Galicia’s Continental: Enric Alberich’s “Mar rojo” and “Mas que hermanos.”

EuroForum added a significant industry presence to the ambitious Las Palmas Intl. Film Festival whose fourth edition ran March 28 to April 5.

Indian Aparna Sen’s bus-ride drama “Mr & Mrs Iyer” took the best film Lady Harimaguada prize, Helvecio Ratton’s community radio tale “Uma onda no ar” from Brazil a silver award and audience prize and Diego Lerman’s edgy Locarno hit “Tan de repente” won new director.

EuroForum director Rios suggested that the forum would now become a regular fixture in Spain’s burgeoning mini-mart calendar.

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