IM Global’s David Jourdan: ‘TV Is an Area with Strong Growth Potential for Latin American Production’

Jourdan counsels producers on how to make the best use of sales agents and market trends in Latin America

One of the biggest Latin American film deals of 2014 was the output relationship inked by Stuart Ford’s IM Global and Alex Garcia’s AG Studios and Itaca, announced at the American Film Market.

IM Global teamed two years ago to the day almost with Mexico’s Canana to launch a joint sales venture, Mundial, based out of Mexico City.

These strategic deals, with two of Latin America’s most energetic players, affords IM Global, one of Hollywood’s preeminent sales-financing-distribution companies, an exciting panoply of relationships and regional know-how and puts IM Global in a privileged position to leverage its strength to help drive growth in the Latin American industry.

In a guest column, IM Global’s senior VP of international business development and operations, David Jourdan, at Variety’s request, gives succinct but important advice to budding Latin American producers, who are at this week’s Ventana Sur in their hundreds, set against key market trends and appetites in building Latin American markets, and beyond.

-Latin American films are talent driven, so in order to build profile for a project, target a strong director.

-Budget the film with a maximum of soft money available to offset the lack of market share Latin American films currently have: Less capital, more soft money.

-Use international festivals as launch pads to build international awareness around the films.

-Target a sales company with a broad international reach and that has experience selling Latin American films.

-Engage with a sales company prior to initial festival launch.

International box office for Spanish-language films is talent driven, so only films with internationally renowned Latin American directors and cast stand a chance to achieve strong box office overseas, and the list of such talent is very limited. However, films with strong direction and unique voices will stand a greater chance to achieve international sales in territories where there is an arthouse audience. Focusing on script and execution is key to increasing the odds of securing a festival launch, where the film will get reviewed by top international trade press. Buyers of arthouse films use accolades and good reviews to market the film in their territory. Choosing the right platform for a film’s world premiere and aiming for high-profile festivals where the film will play only in competition are a must.

With the rapidly growing appetite for television series internationally, we believe TV is an area with strong growth potential for Latin American production, where concept and execution are perhaps more important than name recognition. Governments in Latin America are now allocating media funds to TV, and this is a vast space for directors to craft their talent before making first, second or third features.

The U.S. Hispanic market is craving Spanish-language content, both in film and TV, so it’s important to look at trends outside of Latin America when deciding what type of film to produce.

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