Miami networking event highlights six films in progress

MADRID — “Pescador” and “Dust,” the latest films from up-and-coming Latin American directors Sebastian Cordero and Juan Hernandez Cordon, will be presented at the Miami Intl. Film Festival’s Encuentros.

MIFF’s major industry event, “Encuentros” is a networking forum for films in progress from Latin America, Spain or Portugal. It runs March 9-11.

Both featuring 30-year-old protagonists, “Pescador” and “Dust” plumb the central conflict of many Encuentros 2011 titles: The search for identity or liberation from the past.

A low-budget, free-wheeling road movie, “Pescador” is produced by Ecuador’s CineKilotoa and Colombian Alejandro Arango’s burgeoning genre powerhouse Contento Films.

It tracks a man’s bid for freedom and a sense of himself as he abandons his Ecuadorian fishing village, heading for Colombia’s Guayaquil with a Colombian woman in tow.

Cordero’s 2009 chamber piece “Rabia” “was about claustrophobia and control,” he said. “Here we were looking for freedom.”

“Dust,” for Hernandez Colon (“Marimbas from Hell”), is a “naturalistic, contemplative personal film about the family.”

Set in a Guatemala scarred by its 1960-1996 civil war, it turns on two docu filmmakers recording indigenous women’s search for family members’ remains while one of the subjects’ sons dreams of revenge against the man who turned in his father. “Dust” is in post, like “Pescador.”

Encuentros normally features films from either an experienced director or experienced producer, said its director Diana Sanchez, who also programs Ibero-American films for Toronto.

Many titles have been put through a prestige development program or bear the industry seal of approval of a sales agent’s pickup.

“180 Seconds” is set up at Colombia’s 64 A Films whose Diego Ramirez produced Carlos Moreno’s “Dog Eat Dog” and Sundance 2011 player “All Your Dead Ones.”

Alexander Giraldo’s fiction feature debut “Seconds” is a “low budget, humor-laced romantic thriller,” said Ramirez. It centers on a criminal gang’s attempt to pull off a three-minute heist, which may well be the last 180 seconds of its members’ lives.

A coming-of-age comedy set in ’80s Miami Little Havana, “Sweet 15″ is directed by Anna Margarita Albelo, whose short “Hooters!” won the Centerpiece Award at Harlem’s QBC Film Festival.

“15” is produced by Worldview Ent.’s Jamin O’Brien, who co-produced Susan Seidelman’s admired “Boynton Beach Bereavement Club” and produced Morgan J. Freeman’s “Just Like the Son.”

Lead-produced by Adrian Solar at Chile’s Ceneca, Fernando Guzzoni’s “Dog Flesh” was developed at the latest Cannes Cinefondation Residence. It chronicles one week in the life of a former torturer under Augusto Pinochet.

At December’s Ventana Sur, L.A.-based Figa Films acquired worldwide rights, including North America, to “Resurgence,” from Brazil’s Vinicius Reis (“Praca Saens Pena”). Recording a couple’s attempt to overcome the death of their five-year-old son in a fire, “Resurgence” is set up at Rio de Janeiro-based El Desierto Filmes, founded by director-producer Jorge Duran (“Forbidden to Forbid”) and son Gabriel Duran. It marks the shingle’s first production not directed by Jorge Duran himself.

Half of Encuentros’ titles have female producers: Lisandra Rivera, Fernanda del Nido and Gisela Camara on “Pescador,” “Dust” and “Resurgence” respectively.

“There are a lot of female producers in Latin America now,” Sanchez said.

Companies meeting titles’ producers at Encuentros include 20th Century Fox, Aeroplano, Canana, Dynamo Capital, FiGa, Latido, Latino Public Broadcasting, Magnolia, Maya Releasing and Ondamax.

Paradigm, Paramount Pictures, Shoreline, Strand Releasing, Tornasol, Venevision Intl., VisitFilms and WME have also signed on.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more