Castillo preps ‘Notebooks’

Chilean miners' projects at Doc BsAs/Latin Side of the Doc

MADRID — Chile-born Carmen Castillo (“Santa Fe Street”) is attached to direct “Underground Notebooks, Copiapo 2010.”

“Notebooks” adds to a wash of movies’ and TV series based around October’s Chilean miners rescue. It is likely to prove, however, one of the most sensitive, and least hurried of treatments.

Playing Cannes’ 2007 Un Certain Regard, and sold by Wild Bunch, “Santa Fe Street” portrayed, in a personal but multi POV manner, the emotional legacy of anti-Pinochet resistance. Docu feature had fest audiences in tears worldwide.

“Notebooks,” another docu-feature, will likewise plumb the miners’ sentiments when trapped underground, then faced by the aftermath of rescue: sudden fame, promises of fortunes, and then the return to normality.

Set up at France’s Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA), “Notebooks” will be co-directed by Sylvie Blum, a producer on “Street.”

Featuring in a Dec. 3 pitching session, “Notebooks” is one potential highlight at Latin Side of the Doc/Doc BsAs, which unspools Nov. 30- Dec. 3 in Buenos Aires, on the eve of Latin American mega mart Ventana Sur.

Other higher-profile LSD/DBA projects range from “L’Election d’un pape,” from “Waltz With Bashir” producers Les Films d’Ici, about the ritual papal election process, to “Normal School,” a look at Argentine high-school life by up-and-coming Celina Murga (“A Week Alone”). “Alone” co-screenwriter Juan Villegas produces for Tresmilmundos Cine.

From France, Flach Film Productions’ Jean-Francois Lepetit will present “Inside Al Qaeda,” an insider’s revelation of Al Qaeda’s workings based on interviews with Nasser al-Bahri, a former Osama bin Laden bodyguard.

Only in its second edition, LSD/DBA looks established as one of Latin America’s premier docu events. Its organizers had expected around 50 decision-makers — TV commissioning editors, sales agents and theatrical distributors.

But 70, half from Europe and North America, have now signed up, said Yves Jeanneau, general commissioner of Sunny Side of the Doc, which organizes the event with Doc Buenos Aires, drawing on backing from the EU’s Media Intl., France’s CNC and Argentina’s Incaa film board.

Event will see a strong Mexican presence, he added.

An upbeat reading of attendance, Jeanneau said, is that, as in fiction features, “Latin America appeals to broadcasters as a place where very good projects are emerging.”

Also, “everyone is expecting Latin American will start to be a place where some money can be made on production.”

A flipside interpretation, Jeanneau added, is that “Maybe people in Europe and Latin America are short on fresh ideas.”

LSD/DBA climaxes with a screening of the completed “Agnus Dei: Lamb of God” from “Lower Juarez” director Alejandra Sanchez, about one victim of Catholic Church pedophilia and a Vatican hushup.

Sold by CAT & Docs, “Dei” has been one of the most screened pics at this week’s Docs for Sale mart at Amsterdam’s Intl. Documentary Festival, CAT & Docs’ Maelle Guenegues said from IDFA.

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