Argentine shop teams with Urca on 'Happy Hour'

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina’s Haddock Films, which co-produced “The Secret in Their Eyes,” is partnering with Brazil’s Urca Films on the comedy “Happy Hour,” the latest tie-up in the region.

Brazilians Eduardo Albergaria and Carlos Thire are penning the script with Argentina’s Ana Cohan, who co-wrote “No Return” and collaborated on Viggo Mortensen starrer “Everybody Has a Plan.” Pic is adapted from Thire’s legiter of the same name.

Albergaria will direct the $2.5 million production, with shooting set to start next September in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.

“Happy Hour” is a tangled love story about an Argentine lit professor whose unexpected rise in popularity threatens to thwart his wife’s chances of becoming Rio de Janeiro’s mayor.

Haddock is turning to Brazil for coin as 20% annual inflation has jacked up costs in Argentina.

“The state subsides no longer cover the costs of films” in Argentina, Haddock topper Vanessa Ragone said. “The costs have gone up but not the subsidies.”

With Europe hit by an economic slowdown, Argentina is looking within Latin America, where growth has been more robust and governments have stepped up funding, including allowing companies to underwrite films as a tax break.

Argentina is drawing attention for the scripts being writing there, Ragone said. The country has one of the busiest production markets in Latin America, with 100 features produced a year.

“There is money and a willingness to do things together in Latin America,” she said.

Ragone’s other shingle, Zona Audiovisual, is partnering with Sao Paulo-based Fulano Films to produce a TV miniseries next year. “Organ y co,” about trafficking in body parts.

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