Outsider Takes U.S. on ‘Heli’ (EXCLUSIVE)

‘All About the Feathers,’ ‘Flying Fish’ Also in Buys as Outsider Launches VOD Service

BUENOS AIRES – Paul Hudson’s L.A.-based Outsider Pictures has acquired North American rights to “Heli,” Amat Escalante’s third feature which won best director at Cannes from a Steven Spielberg-headed jury and has gone on to be chosen as Mexico’s foreign-language Oscar entry.

Outsider has also picked up North American rights to Neto Villalobos’ “All About the Feathers, ” Marcela Said’s “The Summer of Flying Fish” and Miguel Courtois’ “Operation E” as it trial-launches Todo Cine Latino (TCL) a pioneering transactional VOD streaming service for Latino films that is a notable digital play for North America’s underserved art pic audiences, often living many miles from the nearest arthouse.

Produced by Mexico’s Mantarraya Films, which has backed all Carlos Reygadas’ movies, most lately “Post Tenebras Lux,” another Cannes director winner, Escalante’s  chronicle of the impact on a family of Mexico gang violence shocked some critics at Cannes with its brutal realism.

It has recently sold to New Moon for Italy in the latest of major territory distrib deals that also include Russia/CIS, with Maywin, France with Jean-Labadie’s Le Pacte and now the U.S. Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Greece and Taiwan have also been licensed.

A movie about a bored security guard’s budding bromance with his rooster, which he trains as a gamecock, Villalobos’ debut, a feel-good dramedy sold to Outsider by UDI’s Eric Schnedecker, will have its official US premiere at the 2014 Miami International Film Festival, in Competition, in March.

One of Latin America’s most notable distaff debuts of 2013, Said’s “Flying Fish” was acquired by AMC/Sundance Channel Global for its new Latin American Sundance Channel in one of the highest-profile deals announced at Ventana Sur.

Co-produced by “Colombiana” exec producer Ariel Zeitoun, and sold by DeAPlaneta, Miguel Courtois Paternina’s Colombia civil conflict set “Operation E” stars Luis Tosar (“Miami Vice”).

“Heli,” “Feathers” and “Fish” are among the most talked-about 2013 arthouse titles coming out of Latin America this year. That sense of curation, plus the visibility and accessibility of titles, is essential to Todo Cine Latino, Hudson said at Ventana Sur, where he was negotiating the announcement of another North American deal on a multi-award winning Latin American title as the market closed Friday.

TCL houses 20-25 titles, no more, with a Film of the Month – currently, “Jose and Pilar,” a touching, intimate portrayal of Nobel prizewinner Jose Saramago – plus Festival Hits and Documentary sections.

Hits are sorted by year, with IMBD ratings, plus major festplay. (Highest-rated is “Mundo Alas,” an inspirational documentary about Argentine singer-songwriter Leon Gieco on the road with a troupe of disabled musicians).

Users can stream, download to own, or buy the DVD, if it’s available.

Outsider will look to give pick-ups prior limited theatrical release – in New York and L.A. for example – and acquire all U.S. rights.

Aimed at “people who like quality art films,” TCL has “no hidden costs, fees or aggregators. It’s a 35/65 split in favor of the producer. It’s very transparent and, at the same time, a home for Latin cinema where it doesn’t get lost, as on other digital platforms,” Hudson said.

There is no subscription firewall. “I think people are fed up with subscription. On TCL, anyone can log on and rent or buy a movie.”

Above all, “I don’t need quantity, I need quality,” Hudson argued.

“By curating and trying to have really good quality films. I hope people will learn about TCL being the place to be.”

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