Buzzed-up ‘Darkness’ and ‘Operation Baby’ Among

Winning projects ranging from Guatemala to Argentina, a testament to burgeoning production across Latin America

GUADALAJARA — The Guadalajara 10th Ibero-American Co-Production Meeting ended Tuesday with the awarding of four prizes. Mexico’s Churubusco Studios awarded Mexican-Salvadorean helmer Jose Luis Valle’s “Operation Baby,” about one of the largest manhunts in the Americas, with studio services valued at 1.5 million pesos ($114,000) and its commitment to co-produce pic. “Operation Baby,” developed at the Berlinale Residency, would be Valle’s third fiction feature after “Workers” and “Las busquedas.”

Guatemalan project “Gunpowder in the Heart,” one of the few pics emerging from this tiny Central American country where production output can swing from 10 in 2012 to just three last year, won the LCI Seguro prize which consists of a $200,000 insurance policy towards the shoot. This is helmer/scribe Camila Urrutia’s feature debut. She describes it as a coming-of- age story about a young girl who is torn between her desire to leave Guatemala for a better life, or staying with her beloved grandfather.

“This will definitely help us a lot,” said Urrutia. Pic’s budget is a mere $200,000 but government support is non-existent in Guatemala.

New Art Lab bestowed its award, which extends complete post-production services through to a DCP copy, to Argentine helmer Emiliano Torres’ “The Winter,” a generational conflict drama set on a Patagonian estate where an ageing foreman resents the arrival of a younger rival. “I would describe it as a rural drama with thriller elements,” said producer Ezequiel Borovinsky.

Daniel Castro Zimbron’s fantasy psychological thriller from Mexico, “Las Tinieblas” (The Darkness) won the Panama Meets prize – an invitation to participate in the Panama Int’l Film Festival’s inaugural co-production forum, Meets, running April 6-9. First presented at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, project has been selected by the Cannes Festival’s Atelier workshop in May.

Guadalajara’s Co-production Meeting ran from March 23-25 in conjunction with the fest, which runs March 21-30. More than two dozen projects were in competition.

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