Meikincine Deal Makin’

Start-up Argentine sales company builds first sales slate

GUADALAJARA — On the cusp of closing her first high-profile pick-up from Mexico, after negotiations in Guadalajara, Lucia Meik’s start-up sales agency Meikincine Entertainment has acquired “El Grillo” (The Cricket) while firming up a string of airline sales.

Just a couple of years ago, airline deals weren’t even mentioned in sales announcements. As prices plunge on traditional all-rights sales for foreign-language fare, deals are creeping on the radar.

Argentine first-timer Matias Herrera Cordoba’s “The Cricket,” set in Cordoba in Argentina’s north-west, turns on two women – a veteran theater actress and a widow – who start to live together in a house during a hot, wet summer. Their only visitor is a lover that helps take care of the garden.

In airline deals, Meikincine has licensed Gonzalo Diaz’s “I Am from Chile,” a dramatic comedy toplining Paulina Garcia (“Gloria”), to Airfrance, Iberia and Fly Emirates.

More airlines are eager to program Latin American films, sometimes even without subtitles, Meik said. That seems a sign that Latin Americans now travel more.

Prices paid are modest — i.e., Avianca and Iberia pay $4,000-$8,000 for a non-exclusive deal – but prices paid for once-major territories are now modest too. $10,000 for Spain, for example, is now not an unusual minimum guarantee.

A former sales exec at Pascual Condito’s Primer Plano, Meik has rapidly run up her first sales slate. Further titles include Chilean actor Diego Ruiz’s helming debut “Igloo,” Gladys Lizarazu’s romancer “Amor, etc,” currently in post, plus Ionathan Klajman and Sebastian Dietsch’s “Mar del Plata,” a comedy on the romantic road-bumps of two Argentine friends on vacation.

“Igloo,” a young gay man drama, has been acquired by Poland’s Tongariro Releasing.

Lucia Meik has designed her sales outfit as a boutique enterprise. “I don’t want to handle many movies a year. The idea is to take three-to-four Latin American titles per year,” she said. “In Guadalajara I have been looking for Mexican films.”

Almost all the films in Meikincine’s catalogue are first or second features; the main part of pics’ producers are newcomers.

“I have affinity with this kind of producer, we share a generational connection and the synergy of saying: ‘We are all starting, but going strongly.’”

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