Sandra Gómez
Courtesy of Sandra Gómez

Targeting distribution, marketing and exhibition, Industry Academy unspools Oct. 23-27

BARCELONA — Carlos Gutiérrez, at non-profit Latino distribution outfit Cinema Tropical, Berlinale programmer Paz Lázaro, and Cannes Directors’ Fortnight head Edouard Waintrop are some of the tutors and panelists participating at Morelia’s 2nd Industry Academy, the Mexico fest’s main training facility, targeting distribution, sales and exhibition.

They will be joined as tutors by Toronto programmer Diana Sánchez and Cannes Critics’ Week artistic director Charles Tesson.

Running in partnership with the Locarno Industry Academy International, and directed by project manager Marion Klotz, the Industry Academy event has fair exploded onto the seen, spawning editions at The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s New York Film Festival, Cinema do Brasil’s Boutique Cinema mini-mart and, shortly, at Greece’s  Thessaloniki Festival.

Running Oct. 23 -27, the Industry Academy event in Morelia is directed by Sandra Gómez, at distribution-production house Interior 13 Cine, whose production credits include Nicolás Pereda’s “Minotaur” and Julio Hernández Cordón’s “I Promise You Anarchy.”

Participants at the Industry Academy are young execs chosen from distribution and exhibition outfits and festivals mainly based in México: Mantarraya, La Casa del Cine, Artegios Distribución, Sala Nueve, Cinepolis Klic, and Cine Tonalá). Others attend from Argentina (Kino Bureau), and Colombia (Fahrenheit Distribución and Barranquilla-based Ficbaq Fstival.

Founded by Gutiérrez and Monika Wagenberg in 2001, New York-based Cinema Tropical is a media arts org. devoted to the promotion, programming and distribution of Latin American cinema in the U.S., that arranged first U.S. audience screenings of Latin American hits such as Alfonso Cuarón’s “Y tu mamá también” or Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s debut “Amores Perros.”

Gutiérrez will sum up Cinema Tropical’s experience in order to establish concrete strategies for independent Latin American cinema to reach audiences in the U.S.

“Our main goal is to think and exchange experiences and the know-how of the different processes that can help a film to reach its audiences, in the frame of the always changing industry,” Gómez told Variety.

She added: “Our guidelines are a reflection on contemporary challenges for distribution and exhibition of independent cinema, especially the Mexican.

Leonardo Cordero, — one of Mexico’s most prestigious arthouse distribution execs who is now at Cinepolis Distribution but was a former head of distribution at ND Mantarraya, — and Pierre Menahem, co-founder alongside Juliette Lepoutre of Paris-based production and sales company Still Moving– will reflect about new marketing strategies at a practical work session.

“Our aim is to generate a permanent debate and creative exchange around promotion and marketing strategies to maximize the global impact of our releases,” Gómez added.

In another session, Lázaro, Waintrop, Sánchez and Tesson will debate on programming dynamics at A festivals. Session will be moderated by José María Riba — a founder of San Sebastian’s Films in Progress Latin American showcase and now a driving force at festival-industry hub Espagnolas en París.

Other key industry tutors or people participating at debates are: Paula Amor, the outreach and institutional relations coordinator of  Morelia’s Festival, Interior 13 Cine co-director Maximiliano Cruz, Nueva Era distributor Leopoldo Jiménez, Tom Davia of Miami-based consultancy Cinemaven and Argentine critic Diego Lerner.

Other tutors are producer Ozcar Ramírez at Arte Mecánica, Gabor Greiner at Films Boutique, Eric Schnedecker of Urban Distribution International and Pablo Zimbrón Alves at Varios Lobos, among many.

“A main feature in Latin America independent industry is that it’s driving force is young promotors. They can be businessmen, programmers, distributors or producers. Most of the times, there’s no road map to achieve concrete goals,” Gómez explained, suggesting that the creative boom that Latin America is living through needs an organized structure to take advantage of  new digital prospects for the industry.

“It’s worth the effort to support the training of enterprising young execs and companies from countries all over the world, helping them to face new challenges in the industry and the market,” Gómez said. In this sense, “collaborating with festivals is one key strategy,” she concluded.

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