Buena Onda preps ambitious slate

New U.S. based Latino company readies films

Buena Onda Americas, the new U.S.-based Latino-focused production shingle, is rapidly raising its ante, launching three ambitious productions: “Anarcomarca,” (Pink Cocaine) “Morro velho” (The Old Mountain) and “Capitaes de areas” (Captains of the Sands).

BOA’s sister shingle, sales outfit Ondamax, has sold English-language remake rights to gay family comedy “Lokas” to Lucky Monkey Pictures in New York.

BOA and Ondamax, which both launched at Cannes, are from Latin American cinema vets. BOA teams Donald Ranvaud, Silvio Sardi Communications and Max Pictures. Ondamax is owned by Eric Mathis and Ranvaud.

The “Lokas” deal and BOA’s burgeoning slate underscore the escalating U.S. interest in fresh ideas from Latin America.

Mexican Juan Carlos Valdivia is attached to direct “Cocaine,” a violent three-story human drama, based on real events, turning on the U.S.’ drug war in Bolivia. Pic is skedded for a 2008 shoot.

Valdivia previously helmed the Ondamax-sold “American Visa,” which won Kate Del Castillo the actress nod at Mexico’s Ariel awards.

Set in the epic highland of Minas in central Brazil, “Old Mountain” is billed as a Brazilian “Novecento,” charting the childhood friendship and adult-life confrontation of a rich landowner’s son and the son of his humble black foreman.

Rodrigo Santoro is in advanced talks to play the heir. Clara Bellar will play the love interest.

Also in Portuguese, and produced by Bruno Stroppiana, “Captains,” adapts a novel by Jorge Amado about ’50s Salvador de Bahia streetkids.

Buena Onda Americas is a unique case of a U.S.-based company that has grass-roots contacts in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina and also Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Chile.

Ranvaud was in at the beginning of the new wave of Brazilian cinema kickstarted by Walter Salles’ “Central Station,” on which he had an exec producer credit. Mathis lived for 17 years in Brazil.

Another BOA production, also sold at the AFM by Ondamax, is “Gasolina.” The pic, described as a Guatemalan “Clerks” from first-timer Julio Hernandez Colon, won three of the six prizes at San Sebastian’s Films in Progress event in September.

“Our policy and passion is to help directors not when they’re famous but when they’re beginning,” says Mathis.

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