Huelva mart ends on upbeat note

Standouts included 'La Mula' and 'Fans War'

HUELVA, Spain — Optimism and new ambition reigned at Huelva’s 7th Ibero-American Co-Production Forum, which wrapped Tuesday.

Running Nov. 19-21, the mini-mart showcased 35 projects from 13 countries.

Standouts, according to organizers and attending producers, included Argentinean “Dormir al sol,” a black comedy set in a small labyrinthine working-class barrio of Buenos Aires; the pacifist “La Mula,” a Spanish Civil War romcom with Michael Radford attached to helm; and a second project from Spain, “Fans War,” a frantic, savage satire turning on a 2014 talent show.

Other projects sparking a good buzz included Colombian “El Arriero,” a romantic meller turning on a drug courier organizer, Brazilian criss-crossing drama “Estranhos,” and “Un Enemigo escondido,” a conglom-set romantic thriller from Argentina.

The Huelva Co-Production Forum is mostly used by Latin American producers to pitch for Spanish co-production coin, or interest from Spanish broadcasters, on projects with Latin American helmers attached. This is not a pipe dream.

More than half Spain’s 53 co-productions last year were with Latin America, according to figures from Fapae, the Spanish producers org.

“The mix of Spanish co-production coin and Latin American creative elements can produce highly interesting films with overseas market potential,” said Spanish producer Jose Maria Morales. Hence the relatively upbeat mood among many project pitchers in the Andalusian town.

But projects at the 7th Huelva meet suggested a marked uptick in budgets and ambitions: beyond “La Mula,” with a $12.35 million tag, eight projects presented weighed in at north of $1.5 million, and three were budgeted at $2 million upwards.

“Contrasting with the past, Latin American producers at Huelva aren’t just coming with low-budget downbeat social-issue dramas. There are now a significant number of comedies in the mix, even from smaller countries such as Colombia,” said Spanish producer Mate Cantero.

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