'Throw' screens at Ventana Sur
BUENOS AIRES — On the eve of Ventana Sur, Eric Mathis’ Ondamax Films has made a preemptive strike, taking sales rights to Sebastian Hiriart’s “A Stone’s Throw Away.”Pic looked set to enter Ventana Sur as one of the highest-profile screeners with no sales agent attached. No more: Ondamax has acquired world sales on “Throw,” as well as a second title, “Habana Eva,” Venezuelan Fina Torres’ multi-prized follow-up to Penelope Cruz starrer “Woman on Top.” Hiriart’s debut, “Throw” melds a migrant’s tale and ironic magic realism, toplining boxer-nosed Gabino Rodriguez — an ingratiating presence in Ventana Sur Primer Corte and now Sundance player “The Cinema Hold Up,” and fast becoming one of the best-known faces in Mexican indie cinema — as a goat-herd who embarks on a semi-mystical journey to Oregon. Pic is unusual for Mexican indie fare in its use of foreign locations, such as San Francisco’s Chinatown, and its willingness to play with genre. The pic screened as part of a strong San Sebastian Films in Progress lineup last year. Re-cut and completed, it played at Mexico’s Morelia fest this October, and will screen at Ventana Sur Saturday. Shaping up as an arthouse crowd-pleaser — given its plaudits and reviews — “Eva” stars newbie Prakriti Maduro as a entrepreneurial seamstress courted by a foreign suitor, a capitalist with a new-found conscience, and her formerly laid-back Cuban boyfriend, suddenly committed to some much-needed modernization. An obvious, but flamboyant allegory for Cuba’s future options, this August “Eva” won both the international feature prize at the New York Latino Film Festival, and first prize for feature at the Los Angeles Latino Film Festival. Meanwhile, Ondamax is settling into its new role as a U.S. indie distributor. At November’s American Film Market, Ondamax announced the creation of Ondamax Films Home Ent., a theatrical, DVD and VOD label releasing distinguished Latin American and Latino films in the U.S. and Canada. Ondamax has an exclusive deal for all DVD and VOD releases with Kino Lorber. Distribution slate already includes Jorge Duran’s “Forbidden to Forbid” and the Carlos Reygadas co-produced “The Tree.” According to Ondamax founder and CEO Mathis, Ondamax is now negotiating four to five titles for the U.S. Ondamax has closed financing on Cecilia Amado’s “Captain of the Sands,” based on Jorge Amado’s celebrated novel about homeless kids on the streets of Salvador de Bahia, thanks to a Reais 1.5 million ($880,000) subsidy from Brazil’s Sectorial Fund, Mathis said. “Sands” should be ready for delivery by February. Ondamax-sold toon feature “Fugue in D Minor,” directed by Otto Guerra, has also received substantial Sectorial Fund coin. Ondamax has international sales rights to both titles. It will bring a four-exec team to Ventana Sur.