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Carlos Martinez’s ‘Pajaros Rojos’ Takes Flight

KWA Picks up int’l sales rights

BUENOS AIRES — Kevin Williams of KWA Spain is snagging worldwide sales rights to “Pajaros Rojos” (Red Birds), the upcoming pic by Argentine helmer-scribe Carlos Martinez.

KWA has also been handling sales of Martinez’s 2013 drama “Condenados” (“Sentenced”), which Williams sold to the Sundance Channel Latin America, marking one of the first regional film pickups by the nascent channel. Sales efforts have continued at Ventana Sur, said Williams.

Martinez has drawn on his personal experience as a former guerrilla, and as a 7-year political prisoner during the brutal military regime of Argentina’s General Rafael Videla in the ’70s to inform his body of work. Aside from features, these include docus, shorts and TV series.

While “Condenados” dwells on the time Videla’s regime imprisoned thousands of political opponents –- real and imagined — and executed many without a trial in the infamous 9th Unit jail, “Pajaros Rojos” is a simpler but equally disturbing true story about budding poet Graciela Pernas Martino, who was abducted along with her husband and became the first of thousands who vanished during the dictatorship.

Her mother, Alba Martino, who was among the Madres de Plaza de Mayo who gathered weekly at the Buenos Aires square to clamor for their vanished relatives, found a collection of her daughter’s poems. They were soon published to great acclaim.

Musician-composer Hector “Flecha” Vilche, one of the former prisoners in the 9th unit’s two “Pabellones de la Muerte” (wards of death) described in “Condenados,” put music to her poems. A concert was first held three years ago and a second last Saturday (Nov. 29), according to Martinez. “Shooting began that night, as this concert will figure in the last scene of ‘Pajaros,’” said Martinez who expects to shoot the bulk of principal photography early next year and have the pic ready by mid-2015.

“Pajaros” is Martinez’s third fiction feature, which he has co-penned with Raul Argemi. “I prefer the fiction format because I can’t interview those who died, but I can have them represented by actors,” he said.

“More than 30 years since they killed Graciela, her story and her poetry continue to move and provoke the conscience of many.”

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