'Breath,’ ‘Kimuru’ and ‘Mundial’ Set MEETS

Panama Fest’s first Latin America Co-Production Market unveils projects, participants

MIAMI – Alfonso Alcosta’s “The Wolf’s Breath,” Aldo Valderrama’s “Kimuru” and Carlos Morelli’s “Mi mundial” feature among a first 11 projects announced for the Panama Film Festival’s inaugural MEETS Latin American Film Market.

Unspooling April 7- during the 3rd edition of the Panama Fest, MEETS reps a pioneering attempt to begin building more of a regional industry in Central America.

“We looked at best practices at other Festivals which could work very well in Panama,” said Gabriel Padilla, Intl. Project Manager at the Panama Film Commission.

“The main purpose of MEETS is to bring experienced international producers, film financiers and film distributors, as well as representatives from funding bodies, sales companies, film festivals and TV channels, together to look at 12 projects selected from over 128 submitted for consideration,” said MEETS industry advisor Tom Davia.

He added: “Invited industry guests comprise a big mix of producers, sales agents, financiers, festival programmers and distributors from North and Latin America and Europe… your typical international film market motley crew.”

Among North American attendees confirmed to date: Senator Entertainment, Strand Releasing, Participant Media, UTA, Mundial, Artsploitation, Outsider Pictures, Locarno Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Fox International Channels/LAPTV, XYZ Films, Shoreline Entertainment, FiGa Films, TLA Releasing, and Visit Films.

The MEETS Film market offers a $25,000 cash-prize to its winner.

Helmed by Colombia’s Acosta, whose debut “The Crack,” a grieving family drama, was picked up by eOne Intl.. “Breath” was a higher-profile project last December at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window. “Cold, quiet, brutal,” in Acosta’s own words, it turns on a woman’s return to the village where she was born – a place horrified by legends of femme shape-shifters who seduce and kill men- just as she’s begins to regress to the state of a she-wolf.

A redemption tale set in the violent world of Panama’s illegal mixed martial arts cage fights, “Kimuru” is one of four projects that have recently pulled down coin from Panama’s Fondocine film fund. Recipients can benefit from a 25% tax rebate that has made film financing very attractive for broadcasters, among others.

Produced by Fariba Hawkins, it turns on a former fighter who agrees to a final fight – against his brother – to pay off the debt his ex-girlfriend’s father has run up with a local mobster.

Set up as a Uruguay-Brazil co-pro, “Mi Mundial” adapts the novel of the same title about a 13-year-old soccer star that learns that money is not the only name of the game.

“Kimuru” is one of five Panamanian projects at MEETS, a sign of how fast Central America industries – at least in Panama and nearby Costa Rica – are beginning to grow.

Of local movies, Frank Spano’s “Gauguin and the Canal” is a big-screen makeover of his award-winning theater play, an ironic account of the French impressionist painter’s sojourn in “savage” Panama.

The fiction feature debut of former London Film School student Annie-Marie Canavaggio (“Offside”) whose docu “Breaking the Wave” world preems at the Panama Fest, “Buscando el indio conejo” turns on Costa Rica’s Naso natives’ desperate attempts to thwart hydro-electric power plant construction. Completing the Panamanian project presence are femme friendship tale “Piedra roja,” from Alberto Serra, and “Sonar con la ciudad,” from Aldo Rey Valderrama, about a mother’s attempt to rescue her daughter from big city human trafficking;

Among two foreign docu-features, Violeta Ayala’s docu pic “The Bolivian Case” teases out the racism in Norwegian press coverage of one of the biggest narcotics case is Norwegian history; Dominican Priscilla Frias Vizcaino will present “El marco de la cara,” about Dominican women’s attempts to straighten out their Afro hair.

Back in his native Puerto Rico after a long stay in Guatemala, scribe-helmer Ray Figueroa (“La casa de enfrente,” La bodega,” “Toque de queda”) will talk up “Once Upon a Time in the Caribbean,” a Latino samurai revenge actioner set in Puerto Rico; Colombia’s Ricardo Coral-Dorado will unveil “Dr. Fe,” about a man who sets up a Ponzi scheme in southern Colombia.

To date, MEETS has also attracted a bevy of the most active sales agents, producers and distributors in Latin America: NDM/Mantarraya, Primer Plano, FilmSharks, Bananeira Filmes, Patagonik, Urca Filmes, Imovision, Mutante Cine, Jirafa Cine, Filmadora Nacional.

The 12th MEETS project to compete for its cash prize will be chosen from projects at Guadalajara’s 10th Ibero-American Co-Production Meeting as part of a special co-operation agreement between the Mexican fest and MEETS. Eight other Latin American projects will participate at MEETS playing out of- competition.

1ST MEETS LATN-AMERICAN CO-PRODUCTION MARKET,

PANAMA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

“Dr. Fe,” (Ricardo Coral-Dorado, Colombia)

“The Wolf’s Breath,” (Alfonso Acosta, Colombia)

“The Bolivian Case,” (Violeta Ayala, Bolivia)

“El marco de la cara,” (Priscilla Frias Vizcaíno, Dominican Republic)

“Erase una vez en el Caribe,” (Ray Figueroa, Puerto Rico)

“Mi mundial,” (Carlos Morelli, Uruguay, Brazil)

“Buscando al indio conejo (Anne Marie Canavaggio, Panama)

“Gauguin and the Canal,” (Frank Spano, Panama)

“Kimura,” (Aldo Valderrama, Panama)

“Piedra roja,” (Alberto Serra, Panama)

“Sonar con la ciudad,” (Aldo Rey Valderrama, Panama)

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