Benjamin Avila debut, sold by Pyramide, raises sales bar

SAN SEBASTIAN — Opening San Sebastian’s Horizontes Latinos Friday, Benjamin Avila’s “Clandestine Childhood” has achieved one of the biggest goals for any Latin American film: Sales to most of Latin America.

Film Movement acquired U.S. rights to “Clandestine” in late August for a likely late 2012 release.

Repped by European arthouse label Pyramide Intl., “Clandestine” closed Colombia, Ecuador and Central America with Babilla Cine, while K Films took Quebec in deals at Toronto.

Pyramide has licensed pan-Latin America pay TV rights to Lap TV. In deals struck by the film’s producers — Luis Puenzo’s Buenos Aires-based Historias Cinematograficas, Sao Paulo’s Academia de Filmes — Imovision will bow “Clandestine” in Brazil early 2013.

Bernardo Zupnik’s Distribution Co., Argentina’s top indie distributor, opened “Clandestine” Thursday in Argentina.

Based on Avila’s personal memories, “Clandestine” delivers an original take on Argentina’s 1976-1983 Dirty War, portraying the family life of two resistance fighters, seen by their 12-year-old son.

Sharing honors at 2011′s San Sebastian’s Films in Progress, “Clandestine” proved the most sought-after title at December’s Ventana Sur, and was a Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight standout.

In all, “Clandestine” has now sold 25 territories, not counting its Lap TV deal, said Pyramide Intl. sales head Lucero Garzon.

Pyramide Distribution releases in France, Good Films in Italy, and Wanda Films in Spain, where it opens Dec. 5.

“‘Clandestine Childhood’ is very emotive: Speaking of family ties that go beyond any particular political context, it creates a sense of identification in audiences even in countries where there haven’t been dictatorships,” Garzon said.

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