UDI closes five-pic deal with HBO Latin America

BUENOS AIRES — Specialty distrib Icarus has clinched U.S. rights on “108: Cuchillo de palo,” Renate Costa’s account of her late gay uncle’s troubled life under Paraguay’s dictatorship.

Produced by Barcelona’s Estudi Playtime and Catalan pubcaster TV3, the Costa-written “Cuchillo,” just nommed for best documentary at New York’s 2nd Cinema Tropical Awards, will see a limited U.S. theatrical release.

“Cuchillo’s” sales agent Urban Distribution Intl. has also closed a five-movie deal with HBO Latin America, as pan-Latin American feevee pacts hit ever higher levels in value.

The deal takes in Pablo Giorgelli’s “Las Acacias,” which won the Camera d’Or in Cannes, Paula Markovitch’s Berlin Silver Bear winner “The Prize,” Cannes Un Certain Regard player “Hard Labor” and “Swirl,” which played in Venice, Toronto and San Sebastian.

As paybox competition has risen in Latin America, so have prices paid.

For Latin American films, “the number one market could now be pay TV for Latin America,” said Eric Schnedecker, UDI head of international sales.

“Theatrical distribution in the world for arthouse films is very difficult, especially in Latin America where local product doesn’t travel much.”

Latin American pay TV deals for Latin American films can be worth as much as sales to France or Germany, Schnedecker added.

Produced by Veronica Cura’s Utopica Films, “Las Acacias,” which has closed a U.S. pay TV deal, is consolidating as one of Latin America’s sales hits of the year, having closed 16 territory deals, including France, Spain and the U.K.

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