Torres Leiva's feature plays Venice Horizons

In the run-up to next week’s Venice Film Festival, Berlin-based M-Appeal has nabbed worldwide rights to Chilean helmer Jose Luis Torres Leiva’s “Verano.”

Torres Leiva’s second fiction-feature world preems in Venice’s Horizons sidebar. His 2008 debut “The Sky, the Earth and the Rain” won the Fipresci international critics’ prize at Rotterdam Film Fest.

“Verano,” written by Torres Leiva and shot at Chile’s Cauquenes thermal baths, is a choral drama unfolding over one day and centering on two parallel stories: A couple want to have a child; meanwhile, an Argentine tourist (singer Rosario Blefari) discovers she’s pregnant.

Torres Leiva said he attempted to capture the warm grainy home-movie tonality of his memories of childhood vacations spent in Cauquenes with his grandparents. He and cinematographer Inti Briones, who was responsible for “Sky’s” painterly images, shot in Handycam H18, then reshot the digital images projected against different backgrounds.The vidcam lensing allowed for far greater improvisation with actors than in “Sky,” according to Torres Leiva, who says “Verano” is about “landscapes of characters.” M-Appeal sales manager Anne Wiedlack called the pic a sunny and contemplative.

“Verano” is the second Chilean pick-up from M-Appeal, following Julio Jorquera’s “My Last Round.”

“Over the last years, there’s been (an influx of) new Chilean films from a fresh, new generation that is not afraid to experiment, Wiedlack said. “There’s still a lot of talent to be discovered.”

“Verano” is exec produced by Chilean director Alicia Scherson (“Play” “Tourists”), who is shooting “The Future” with Rutger Hauer.

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