Org to open cinemas in Spain, Mexico

Powerful Spanish authors rights collection entity the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE) has launched the Bunuel Institute, a promotion org for Spanish and Latin American films. Its first president is Spanish film director Manuel Gutierrez Aragon (“Habla mudita,” “Camada negra”). The institute falls under the aegis of SGAE’s Fundacion Autor. Its director is Sydney Borjas.

The Bunuel Institute’s launch reflects consolidating industrial and market realities in Spain and Latin America.

Given the high number of Spanish-Latin American co-productions, plus the immigration of Latin American filmmakers to Spain, “Nearly all Cuban directors and screenwriters, many Mexicans and quite a lot of Argentinians are SGAE members,” Gutierrez Aragon said.

Whatever their word of mouth, most Latin American and Spanish films suffer from increasingly short cinema theater runs in Spain, thanks to the escalating number of firstrun releases and massive frontloading of Hollywood blockbusters.

As a first phase initiative, SGAE has bought Madrid’s central Cine California. Rebaptized the Sala Berlanga, after Spanish director Luis Garcia Berlanga, the cinema will reopen around March, programming Spanish, Latin American and independent pics from other countries, including the U.S.

The Sala will use digital projection systems. Programming will include early theatrical second runs for recent releases and screen time for unreleased pics and film seasons, Gutierrez Aragon told Daily Variety.

SGAE has also bought a building in Mexico City’s Zocalo district and Buenos Aires’ Metropolitan Theater, which will offer Spanish and Latin American films and theater.

The institute will also house SGAE’s La Central Digital, a B2B content management system offering some 800 European and Latin American film titles for video-on-demand and pay TV.

The institute will promote seasons stocked by La Central Digital’s pics, Gutierrez Aragon added.

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