Company teams with Pandora on 'Sidewalls'

BUENOS AIRES — Rizoma Films, behind the Cannes entries “Acne” and “Salamandra,” is tightening its focus on higher quality projects with an audience reach.

The Buenos Aires shop has teamed with Germany’s Pandora Filmproduktion on “Medianeras” (Sidewalls), a $1.5 million freshman feature by Gustavo Taretto about two urban neighbors who cross paths but never meet.

Rizoma is scouting for a foreign star and shooting is slated for later this year.

“We are changing our (production) model,” said Hernan Musaluppi, head of Rizoma. “We are trying to film less and make films that are unique, and to be stricter in the selection process. First, we have to like them. And then we will look at what elements the films have for reaching an audience.”

The company has produced commercial hits like “Quien dice que es facil” (Who Says It’s Easy) and fest faves like Berlin- and Sundance-laurelled “El custodio.”

The model is different from the director-driven productions common in Argentina and it aims to get better play and profits for films. Argentina produces 60 to 70 features a year but few break even.

“We want to bring together the auteur and the commercial,” Musaluppi said.

The company is also prepping an undisclosed project with Rodrigo Moreno (“El custodio”) and is in post on “Amorosa soledad” (Lovely Loneliness), a romantic comedy about a neurotic girl who makes a vow of solitude after getting dumped.

The $620,000 comedy, set for release in October, stars Ines Efron (“XXY”).

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