Latin American Film Market Ventana Sur

Bowing Tuesday, mart sees growth on multiple fronts

BUENOS AIRES — Pre-mart biz, attendance, sections, panels, events: the 5th Ventana Sur, Latin America’s biggest mart-meet, a joint venture of the Cannes Market and Argentina’s INCAA Film Institute, drops the flag Tuesday on a fifth edition which is sizeably bigger on pretty well every front, as the market begins to extend its roots throughout Latin America.

Through Saturday, one work day out from next Tuesday’s get-go, total accreditations were running at 1,948, 5% up vs. same time 2012, said Ventana Sur co-director Jerome Paillard. Around 455 international participants will attend -  315 from Europe, 107 from North America, 42 from Asia – another all-time high.

Several factors are at play.

Ventana Sur remains a bell-weather for Latin America’s market at large.

Public-sector movie funding has ramped up over Latin America. Per Paulo Sergio Almeida at Filme B, Brazil’s leading source of statistical analysis, Brazilian state film/TV funding now stands at an annual R$ 850 million ($379.5 million).

The market has stepped up a notch too. Latin America ranks with China, Russia and Turkey as one of the few genuine growth market for films sales in the world, thanks not only to theatrical – where Brazil and Mexico will rank 10th and 11thin world markets by 2017.

Bowing streaming content services in Latin America in September 2011, Netflix, for example, has revolutionized the pay TV business there, spiking prices paid for feevee content, and cuming 1.6 million clients in the region by year-end 2012, per Media & Technology Digest estimates.

This mix of money, markets adds to a sense of national film industries which are creatively on the rise: “Latin American films score more and more key slots at film festivals, which are still potent platforms for their promotion,” observed Vicente Canales at Barcelona-based Film Factory, which is adding ever more Latin American films to its slate slate.

130 fest execs and 246 international buyers, no less, will head into Buenos Aires this year, per Paillard.

If Ventana Sur didn’t exist, a lot of the world’s indie industry would want to invent it: Latin America is too important to ignore, but too difficult and costly to work country by country every quarter.

“Ventana Sur is very important. In five days, you can meet almost all the Latin American industry and leave with at least an approximate idea of upcoming films for the next year,” said San Sebastian Fest director José Luis Rebordinos.

Market trends help re-enforce Ventana Sur attendance. For Paillard, “Sales agents used to pick up titles earlier. Now they don’t, but still want to be aware in advance of everything, so that, if necessary, they can move fast on titles.”

Some sales agents won’t wait. Seven pick-ups from different sales agents from six countries look to be announced shortly, or have just been unveiled, on Ventana Sur titles or titles by directors who have films here. One is a first pick-up on a Primer Corte title- Ecuador’s “Feriado” (Holiday) – by Germany’s M-Appeal (see separate story).

The significant step-up in panels and events –led by Ventana Sur’s new genre market, Blood Window, but also taking in a Argentina-Brazil-Uruguay co-production meeting and an Argentine-Italian script development workshop – also reflects a reaction to changing markets and the very nature of Ventana Sur itself.

Blood Window launches as genre production builds over all of Latin America with Argentina and Mexico rating as its two main hubs.

“The role of Argentina’s INCAA Film Institute is to support audiovisual production in all its forms. Latin American genre is increasingly important. So INCAA is paying attention to genre,” said Ventana Sur, co-director Bernardo Bergeret.

Launched in 2009 as a pure-play sales market, Ventana Sur soon attracted, however, a welling flood of often starting-out producers from in and outside Argentina – whose access was facilitated by national public agencies – seeking not only international distribution or a commercial release in Latin America but co-production equity.

Growth at Ventana Sur is “organic,” said Jerome Paillard. “We really never aimed to be a co-production market. But the concentration of so many people at one time at Ventana Sur creates the context and conditions where producers think they can really find partners,” he added.

A Ventana Sur Producers Network launched in 2011 to channel the influx of producers, allowing them visibility and networking opportunities, said Cannes Producers Network organizer Julie Bergeron.

This year, with around 220 producers, Producer Network will run 10 tables vs. 2012’s eight, she added.

Ventana Sur is also extending its partnerships throughout Latin America and beyond, linking to other initiatives and regional hubs to both filter and channel producer presence, inviting six European producers from September’s San Sebastian’s Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum, and linking to Sao Paulo’s Filmcup Brazil-France co-production initiative. Producers Network will welcome a 20-strong delegation from Uruguay, half from Puentes, the other 14 Puentes Uruaguay producers.

It is also sourcing two producers – Tatiana Leite, with “Benzinho,” Manuel Costa, with “Paterno” – from the 4th Brazil CineMundi International Co-production Meeting in Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s third biggest city.

Ventana Sur, Cannes’ Producers Network and San Sebastian’s Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum have draw a “road map” for Latin America producers seeking international partners, said Paillard.

“We’d like more producers to join the road,” he added.

Ever more events most certainly are.

SELECT EVENTS, VENTANA SUR, 2013

MONDAY, DEC. 2

7:00 pm: Opening Ventana Sur cocktail

TUESDAY, DEC. 3

10 am: Ventana Sur screenings begin for completed films, plus Primer Corte, Bloody Work in Progress, and invitation-only events at the River Plate-side Cinemark Puerto Madero. Screenings include multiple market premieres and new outing for movies such as Aaron Fernandez’s “The Empty Hours.”

10:45 am: Cine Cruzando Frontera Co-production Workshop, organized by Spain’s Fundacion SGAE.

3 pm: Rio Content Market presentation by Brazilian Independent TV Producers Assn. prexy Marco Altberg

5 pm: Sitges’ Angel Sala, Bafici’s Marcelo Panozzo, Locarno’s Nadia Dresti and Austin Fantastic Fest’s Rodney Perkins come up with answers on the panel: What Are Festivals For?

6:45 pm: Cocktail and screening of Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Adele: Chapters 1 & 2” bows Ventana Sur’s 5th European Film Week.

WEDNESDAY DEC. 4

9:40 am Beyond the Window Encounters – genre pic project pitching begins with “The Wolf’s Breath.”

10 am: Variety’s Latin America: Up Next! presents five of this year’s 10 to watch: Mexico’s Edher Campos, Brazil’s Fernando Coimbra, Argentina’s Agustina Llambi Campbell and Ramiro Garcia Bogliano, and Uruguay’s German Teijeira.

12:30 pm: Producers Network lunches begin, running Dec. 4-6.

5 pm: Producer Thierry Lenouvel, distributor Paul Hudson and festhead Jose Luis Rebordinos confess in “What Do I Like About Latin American Cinema?”

THURSDAY, DEC. 5

10 am: Brazil-Argentina-Uruguay Co-production Meeting between about 100 producers, rolling off Brazil’s co-production funds with both Argentina and Uruguay.

12 noon: ANCINE’s Manoel Rangel and INCAA’s Liliana Mazure unveil new Brazil-Argentina joint film funds

1 pm: In Darkness To the World, panelists such as XYZ Films’ Nate Bolotin and Raven Banner Ent.’s Andrew Hunt analyze current fantastic film production and distribution.

2 pm: Doc Buenos Aires pitching sessions.

8:30 pm: Garabato de pajaro, a tribute to L.A-based FiGa Films kicks off with a screening of the FiGa-sold “Bad Hair,” San Sebastian’s Golden Shell winner.

SATURDAY, DEC. 7

One day after Ventana Sur, Italian Screenings at the Cinemark Puerto Madero organized by the Istituto Luce Cinecitta – FilmItalia.

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