U.S indie distributor adds to Latin American arthouse treasure chest
BUENOS AIRES – Paul Hudson’s L.A-based Outsider Pictures, both a U.S. distribution and international sales house, has acquired North American distribution rights to a trio of Latin American titles from UDI – “Natural Sciences,” “El Mudo” and “Roa” – plus “Voiceover,” from its Chilean producer, Jirafa Films.
Adding to Outsider’s pick-up on David Trueba’s “Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed,” Spain’s Oscar entry, the most recent Outsider distribution pick-ups confirm Outsider as one of the most consistent buyers of Spanish-language films for the U.S. market.
Ventana Sur’s 2013 Primer Corte winner, which was picked up by UDI at the Buenos Aires market last year, Matias Lucchesi’s “Natural Sciences” – a deft mix of a road movie and character-driven drama, turning on a daughter’s search for her estranged father – went on to world premiere at Berlin’s Generation, racking up multiple territory sales.
“El Mudo,” Daniel and Diego Vega’s follow-up to “October,” and a tragic-comic putdown of a corruption-sodden Peru, has swept multiple awards, including best director at Bafici and actor for lead Fernando Bacilio at Locarno, Cartagena and for his perf as a first-instance magistrate, an honest man in a dishonest country. Or so “El Mudo” suggests.
Produced by Colombia’s Dynamo, and directed by Andres Baiz, “Roa,” like “JFK,” pinpoints a seminal moment in Colombia’s history: the assassination of presidential candidate Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, a charismatic liberal, in 1948. But, written by Baiz and Patricia Castaneda, it turns on the alleged killer, Juan Roa, a 26-year-old loser with delusions of grandeur.
A San Sebastian Competition player, “Voiceover” marks a big step up in ambition for Cristian Jimenez (“Bonsai”), a portrait of a family and its myriad multifarious members, their contradictions, hypocrisies, secrets, rivalries, constant impositions, discombobulating rites and rules: Without which, however, its members’ lives would make even less sense.
The sale of the UDI trio was negotiated between UDI’s Eric Schnedecker and Hudson and Jirafa Films’ Augusto Matte and Hudson, who is negotiating further titles at Ventana Sur.
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 before bowing the titles on 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.
Said Hudson: “Natural Sciences’ and ‘Voiceover’ have been successful festival films, and both will have limited theatrical releases next year through our new distribution label TCL – Todo Cine Latino.”
He added: “I think makes more sense given how many Latin films we are now acquiring, and should also widen the brand recognition of our streaming site, as all the films will then be exploited on TCL on VOD in late 2015.”
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.
TCL houses 20-25 titles, no more.
Above all, “I don’t need quantity, I need quality,” Hudson argued.