First private equity film in country set up

A group of Chilean filmmakers and investors are pooling resources to create the country’s first private equity film fund.

The $6 million fund is set up under the aegis of Southern Lights Entertainment, a new company.

“Our focus is on stories that cross borders and celebrate a common heritage, while avoiding the social and local issues that saturate the market,” said James Katz, helmer and co-founder of Southern Lights.

Pics will be budgeted between $1.5 million and $3.5 million.

Furthest along on the Southern Lights slate is “Moni,” a $2.25 million crime thriller due to shoot in Mexico in July. Southern Lights co-founder Igal Weitzman makes a directorial debut; cast is led by Chile’s Leonor Varela and Carolina Parsons, Spain’s Fele Martinez, Mexico’s Alfonso Herrera, Jose Maria de Tavira and Rodrigo Corea.

Heist pic tracks robbers who clash with an Acapulco cartel that is trying to ambush the same armored car.

In November, Katz will helm $1.5 million horror pic “La vina” (The Vineyard) in Chile. Pic follows two American tourists who discover the dark secrets of a vineyard they are visiting.

Southern Lights partner Oscar Torres, scribe-producer of Luis Mandoki’s “Innocent Voices,” co-wrote the pic. He serves as a script consultant and exec producer on all Southern Lights projects.

Fourth partner Rodrigo Diaz is a Chilean ad and features producer whose credits include the Chilean shoot of “Quantum of Solace” and the HBO skein “Profugos.”

Other projects in development include crime thriller “Cayo en Mayo,” based in Argentina; “The Bandit,” a Western to be shot in Mexico and the U.S.; Chilean psycho thriller “Dreamer in the Closet”; and comedy “Christmas in Colombia.” George Von Knorring will helm “Too Much,” a $1.2 million dark comedy, in the second quarter of 2012. Story revolves around four Latinos whose lives intersect in Madrid.

Fund is endorsed by the Chilean government, film commissioner Alberto Chagneau and culture minister Luciano Cruz-Coke.

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