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Germany takes Uruguayan pic

ZDF/Arte prebuys 'Gigante'

BARCELONA — Top Uruguayan production shingle Control Z Films has pre-sold Adrian Biniez’s “Gigante” to Germany’s ZDF/Arte.

Sale reps almost a quarter of pic’s $700,000 production budget, said Control Z partner Fernando Epstein.

Pic pulled down coin aid last week from Ibermedia, the pan-regional film fund for Spain, Portugal and Latin America.

“Gigante” turns on a solitary hypermarket security guard who falls in love with a cleaning woman, spying her via the surveillance cameras.

Argentina’s Rizoma and Morocha Films, Spain’s Wanda Films, Germany’s Pandora and the Netherlands’ Motel Films are co-producing “Gigante.”

Control Z has Federico Veiroj’s “Acne” in post. Coming-of-ager chronicles the story of a long-wished-for first kiss.

“Acne” is also co-produced by Morocha and Rizoma, as well as Mexico’s Goliat Films, and Spain’s Avalon Productions. The adolescent drama will be ready for delivery in February.

A top Latin American production house, Control Z has produced recent arthouse hits “25 Watts” and “Whisky,” both helmed by Pablo Stoll and Juan Pablo Rebella. A third production was Manuel Nieto’s Rotterdam Tiger winner “The Dog Pound.”

“Gigante” marks Control Z’s move into slate production.

“Up to now, we didn’t begin a new movie until the previous one was completed; from now on our aim is to develop several projects in parallel,” Control Z partner Fernando Epstein said.

“We want to attract foreign investors interested in our portfolio, not just specific projects,” Epstein told Daily Variety.

Epstein hopes that Uruguay’s new patronage law, which should be up-and-running next year — will create substantial new tax-driven funding for film.

Three Uruguayan fiction features a year pull down tax-driven FONA levies on TV channels, paid through TV film buys.

International co-productions can also benefit from Montevideo Socio Audiovisual levies on cinema admissions.

A new film law, which could be approved by next April, should create a further $1 million for film funding.

Other Control Z projects include adolescent drama “Tanta agua” (“So Much Water”), to be helmed by first-timers Leticia Jorge and Ana Guevara. In addition, Pablo Stoll is working on a screenplay that he began to write with Juan Pablo Rebella, who died last year.

Epstein’s production house has grown by launching the careers of new Uruguayan auteurs.

“When we complete these six projects, we’ll have made five first features and one second feature,” Epstein said.

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