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Duo make deal for ‘Artista’

Costa, Istituto Luce seal co-production pact

Unveiling an Italy-Argentina co-production axis, Eduardo Costantini’s Costa Films has sealed a co-production deal with Italy’s Istituto Luce on Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat’s “El artista” (The Artist).

The art-world satire is the first film announced in a series of Argentine co-productions backed by the Italo state film entity.

In 2007, Istituto Luce inked with Argentina’s Incaa Film Institute to jointly support film, animation and documentary co-productions between the two countries, which have strong historical ties.

Costa Films already partners with the Weinstein Co. on joint production-distribution venture the Latin American Film Co.

“We hope that the deal with Istituto Luce will be the first of other productions, opening up a second strategic production front for us,” Costantini told Daily Variety.

He added that he has “a gentleman’s agreement” to show any Istituto Luce co-production he makes to Harvey Weinstein for possible international distribution.

“Incaa submitted 100 projects to us. This is the first of three we are going to co-produce,” said Luce topper Luciano Sovena. “Argentina has nine films in Cannes, so it’s clear they are a cinematic hotbed right now.”

On the Argentine side, Costa Films will team with Fernando Sokolowicz’s Aleph Media for production duties on “Artist.” Italian producers are Istituto Luce and Barter Films. Film’s main action takes place in Buenos Aires, but key scenes will be shot in Italy. Shooting will start next month.

“Artist” turns on a male nurse at a retirement home who discovers an aging autistic genius and claims to be the artist behind the old man’s masterpieces.

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