Insurance company organizes five-city event

SAN SEBASTIAN — Spain’s Mapfre is launching the first Mapfre Foundation 4 + 1 Film Festival, to simulscreen in Buenos Aires, Bogota, Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Madrid.

The art-film showcase will run Nov. 11-14.

As foreign-language art films increasingly encounter difficulties bowing in many territories worldwide, 4 + 1 suggests at least one future for film festivals and specialty film distribution.

Mapfre, one of Spain’s biggest insurance companies with a 40-country presence, is not a sponsor but rather the fest’s originator and main financier.

Also backed by Eduardo Costantini’s Buenos Aires-based Costa Films, fest’s main opening ceremony will take place at the chic MALBA-Fundacion Costantini Buenos Aires Latin American Museum of Art, which is also a festival partner.

Fest is financed through a mixture of public and private sector sources, which is becoming a fest norm these days. Other investors include the Brazil/Sao Paulo, Bogota and Mexican National Cinematheques.

Another ground-breaking aspect is that 4 + 1 will not only screen art films but buy distribution rights to them in its five respective territories, hoping to snag a distributor for some of the movies, Mapfre’s Pablo Jimenez Burillo, Mapfre Foundation Culture Institute director general, said at San Sebastian.

First edition titles in a 12-pic competition include major fest movies, such as Mia Hansen-Love’s 2009 Cannes Un Certain Regard Special Prize winner, “The Father of My Children,” Rithy Panh’s Toronto-player “The Sea Wall” and Agnes Varda’s Venice screener “The Beaches of Agnes.”

Also showcased are Kim So-Yong’s “Treeless Mountain,” about two little sisters abandoned with their alcoholic aunt, Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Fernandez Almendras’ family saga “Huacho” and “8,” an eight-part take on poverty worldwide from helmers including Gael Garcia Bernal, Gaspar Noe, Jane Campion and Wim Wenders.

“I’ve always been struck by how some films play to acclaim at festivals and then disappear from the map,” said Spanish director Jose Luis Borau, a 4 + 1 Fest advisor.

4 + 1 suggests one solution: In order to try to snag distribution for major fest titles, create another festival.

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