Menemsha nabs ‘Nora’s Will’ in U.S.

HBO Latino has pay TV rights Stateside

Menemsha Films has taken U.S. theatrical and DVD rights on “Nora’s Will,” which is repped by Mexico-based sales company Latinofusion.

The deal follows a Stateside pay TV pact with HBO Latino.

Menemsha looks set to bow “Will” — also known as “5 Days Without Nora” — in a clutch of cinemas in L.A. and New York, plus other large U.S. cities.

Pic can look forward to a strong Jewish festival run in the U.S.

Its DVD release is timed for mid-2010.

“The filmmaker has a unique voice. The film is a story of a Jewish family from Guadalajara, an oddity unto itself,” said Menemsha Films prexy Neil Friedman.

“At the same time, it is a universal family story told with great humor,” Friedman added, saying Menemsha has distributed many Latin and many Jewish-themed films so “Will” is perfect for the company.

“Will” has already sold to key Euro territories such as France and Belgium (Carlotta Films/Bodega Films), as well as Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland (Trigon Films).

Latin American films often find Latin America a hard market to crack. But two key regional distributors — Cineplex and Primer Plano — have snatched Colombia and Central America, and Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, respectively.

Brazil’s Estacao Films has Brazilian theatrical rights, which Globosat’s Telecine picked up pay TV.

Escalon Films has Ecuador, Centro Cultural de la PUC Peru and ICAIC Cuba. Lap TV has bought Latin American premium pay TV.

Written and directed by Mexican first-timer Mariana Chenillo, “Will” turns on a Jewish woman’s suicide just before Passover. Mexico’s Cacerola Films produced.

The double U.S. and Euro deals underscore Mexican films’ key dual foreign markets.

“Mexican cinema logically has a space in the U.S. market,” said Latinofusion CEO Alfredo Calvino.

There are 11 million-12 million Mexicans in the U.S. A new entrepreneurial class is emerging, including companies specializing in Mexican films.

Most film directors dream of the red carpet at Cannes or Berlin, Calvino added. “Will” took a different festival route,

“Nora” world preemed at Mexico’s Morelia fest in September 2008. It took audience awards at Morelia, Miami and Austin, director kudo at Moscow and the top prize at Biarritz this September, before winning Mar del Plata earlier this month.

The importance of the audience awards was that they proved that while Jewish-themed, “Will” has a universal reach, Calvino argued.

At Ventana Sur, which opens this Friday, Latinofusion will also be screening Miguel Littin’s prison camp set “Dawson, Isla 10,” and will have the market premiere of Hilda Hidalgo’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez adaptation, “Of Love and Other Demons.”

Latinofusion has Latin American rights on “Love,” Spain’s Latido Films the rest of the world.

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