Venezuelan filmmakers urge actor to pass
Venezuelan filmmakers have written a letter to Danny Glover asking that he reconsider using their country’s funds for his film.The thesp-activist received an $18 million commitment from the Venezuelan state for his biopic “Toussaint.” “With all due respect, we feel that you are taking part in an unethical venture,” the letter reads. The filmmakers go on to say that $18 million could easily finance 36 Venezuelan pics. They point out that the proceeds, which the Venezuelan congress said came from a recent bond sale with Argentina, were assigned to Glover’s project and others without the benefit of any competition. “What does this say to our young filmmakers, who may conclude that they don’t have to compete because it is far easier to curry favor with politicians in order to make their films?” the letter continues. It also reminded Glover that the U.S. and Venezuela have no co-production pact. Glover is a regular visitor to Venezuela. He is among a number of high-profile U.S. supporters of Chavez who include crooner Harry Belafonte and Princeton U. scholar Cornel West. Thesp was unavailable for comment, and his producing partner at Louverture Films, Joslyn Barnes, declined to comment. His reps were unsure whether Glover has seen, much less read, the letter. Budgeted at $30 million, “Toussaint” tracks the life of iconic leader Toussaint Louverture, who led an 18th century slave uprising in Haiti. State funding will help cover pic’s “scripts, production costs, wardrobe, lighting, transport, makeup and the creation of the whole creative and administrative platform,” according to a document from the congressional finance commission. Louverture Films is seeking other producing partners. Glover and his team have been location scouting outside of Caracas. Venezuela now boasts Villa del Cine, a $13 million studio complex that includes film and TV soundstages, post production facilities and Dolby sound labs. The year-old studio is in production on “Miranda Regresa,” a biopic on Venezuelan revolutionary Francisco de Miranda. It is also developing a feature film and miniseries on 19th century peasant leader Ezequiel Zamora.