'Santo,' 'Reggaeton' among films in Buena Onda deal

Donald Ranvaud’s shingle Buena Onda is in talks to make Puerto Rican films with the island’s film fund managed by Luis Riefkohl.

First pic to fall under the deal would be the $1.5 million surfing pic “Santo e Palo” (“Saint and Stick”). Puerto Rican newcomer Christian Suau will direct pic about a poor Puerto Rican boy who finds fame and fortune through surfing.

Another pic to fall under deal is “Reggaeton,” based on the new dance music craze which combines hip-hop and reggae. Pic will feature top reggaeton artists.

The film fund finances up to 80% of a pic’s budget with a ceiling of $1.5 million. Buena Onda is to put in the remaining equity and conduct pre-sales on pics as well as allot for the P&A budget.

Buena Onda also aims to engineer film packages, Ranvaud said.

“We can help them find co-producers and sales agents for their projects,” said Ranvaud, who plans to set up an office in Puerto Rico. “I see Puerto Rico as the diamond head of the strategy we have for Latin America.”

The 3-year-old film fund has backed various projects, including a docu, TV movie, two Puerto Rican features “Cayo” and “Cimarron,” as well as Spanish co-pro “Bajo las Piedras” (“Underneath the Rocks”).

Puerto Rico offers a raft of incentives to attract filmmakers to Puerto Rico. A film law created in 1999 provides a 40% rebate in the form of a tax credit on budget expenditures paid to Puerto Rican residents. To qualify, at least half of a pic’s principal photography must take place in Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Rican Film Commission is lobbying to lower the required percent to 30.

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