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M-Appeal Takes ‘Holiday’ (EXCLUSIVE)

First pick-up on Ventana Sur Primer Corte title

MADRID –Revving up for business at Ventana Sur, Berlin-based sales company M-Appeal has acquired world sales rights to coming-of-age tale “Feriado” (Holiday), the feature debut of Ecuador’s Diego Araujo.

Ventana Sur announced earlier this week that “Holiday” will be one of six titles in Primer Corte, its pix-in-post competition and traditionally one of its major industry draws. It is the first sales agent deal to be announced on a Primer Corte title.

Also written by Araujo and set in Ecuador in 1999, “Holiday” turns on Juan Pablo, a 16-year-old, who falls in love with Juanjo on a family trip to the Ecuatorian Andes for the carnival. Juan Pablo begins to experience the pleasure of new liberating realities while his country, assailed by a banking crisis, and his family, embroiled in a corruption scandal, appear to be going to ruin. As friendship turns to a fragile romance, Juan Pablo is forced to define himself in terms of his sexuality and as a person.

“Holiday” is produced by Luna Films and Abaca Films, two young Ecuatorian shingles whose numbers are multiplying fast as production builds beyond established name directors such as Sebastian Cordero (“Europa Report”) and Tania Hermida (“How Much Further”).  Andres Longares’ Buenos Aires-based Cepa Audiovisual – whose recent credits include Ricardo Darin and Belen Rueda starrer “The 7th Floor,” – co-produces.

“Politics provides a context in ‘Holiday’ but the film’s center is a sensitive, intimate portrayal of the boys’ universe, the dynamics between the two boys, one from a bourgeois family, another from a very different class, who find something in each other,“ said Maren Kroymann, M-Appeal CEO.

“We’re also very excited to have a film from Ecuador which has in the past not made many films, but now things are really beginning to move on its production scene,” she added.

“Holiday” was put through multiple labs and pitching sessions in development, including the 2010 co-production forum at Spain’s Huelva Festival, the 2010 AustraLab at Chile’s Valdivia Festival, the 2011 Oaxaca Screenwriting Lab in Mexico, and, in the same year, Puentes, the E.U. Media Program-backed development and networking initiative.

Backed by The Latin American Media Arts Fund of the Tribeca Film Institute, “Holiday” received its 2012 Heineken Voces Award. It has also sourced a seed grant from the 2011 Latino Film Fund, and coin from the Ibermedia fund and Ecuador’s Consejo Nacional de Cinematografia (CNC) national film board.

“Holiday” could play well to LGBT, Latino and arthouse demos. But a character-driven drama, with a political background, is only one of a large range of Latin American films that M-Appeal sells.

A mood genre auteur piece, combining virus and Sapphic narratives, the M-Appeal-sold “Darkness by Day,” from Argentina’s Martin Desalvo, has its international premieres at this year’s Havana’s New Latin American Cinema Festival, which unspools Dec. 5-15, as does Chilean Alan Fischer’s semi-fantasy drama, “Son of Trauco” which is also on M-Appeal’s sales slate.

Anna Marie de la Fuente contributed to this report

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