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Latido Builds in Europe

Recent pick-ups: ‘Honeymoon,” ‘Ignasi M.’

MADRID — Having carved a market niche selling Spanish and Latin American fare, Madrid-based sales consortium Latido Films is spreading its net, also acquiring worldwide sales rights to a building bevy of prized and buzzed-up titles outside Spain in the rest of Europe.

Underscoring its wider remit, recent Latido acquisitions include both 2013 Karlovy Vary director winner “Honeymoon” and “Ignasi M.,” from Ventura Pons, the most resilient of Barcelona-based filmmakers.

“Honeymoon” is helmed by Jan Hrebejk, one of the Czech Republic’s most prominent now-mid-career helmers who broke through just after the fall of the Soviet Bloc with “Big Beat” and “Pelinski,” movies that reflect the weight of the past on the present.

Following his admired “Kawasaki’s Rose,” a Czech Oscar submission, and “Innocence,” he returns to this theme with the wedding-set meller “Honeymoon,” whose celebrations and aftermath are marred by building revelations about the groom’s disturbingly violent and homophobic past.

The latest film from Pons, a Barcelona-based director who has made 25 features through thick-and-thin over 37 years, “Ignasi M.” harks back in many ways to his first, also a docu-feature, 1976’s “Ocana: An Intermittent Portrait.”

In “Ignasi M,” Pons delivers a warm-humored portrait of another robust maverick, a renowned museologist, who is gay and HIV positive, and a victim of Spain’s crisis.

“This is a film about brave people, not just him, but also all those who accompany him, where no one is afraid to tell the truth,” Pons has said.

“Ignasi M.” highlights “The tremendous situation of society in the second decade of the 21st century, immersed in a profound crisis with its terrible backdrop, which is both moving and frightening,” he added.

Both “Honeymoon” and “Ignasi M.” will screen at Toronto. Latido has also acquired “Puppy Love,” the buzzed-up first feature from Belgium’s Delphine Lehericey, which world premieres at the San Sebastian Festival later this month.

Latido’s broadening vistas opens up new export possibilities for companies in regions of the world with building production levels but few local sales companies to serve their production interests.

“We have entered Europe, but without abandoning Latin America,” said Silvia Iturbe, Latido Films managing director.

Having handled world sales rights on hits such as Andres Wood’s “Machuca” and Ricardo Darin-starrers “Chinese Take-Away” and “Thesis on a Homicide,” the latter also in Latido’s Toronto line-up, Latido is in negotiations to handle world sales on new Latin American titles.

Given increased competition for key titles, Latido is increasingly tracking projects from near inception, Iturbe said.

Another diversification driver is Spain’s crisis. The number of films going into production in Spain through June 12 this year plunged 26% to 43 vs. same period 2012.  Production of sizeable movies that make up most of Spain’s exports looks to have dropped even more.

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