Acquisitive Minds: Ernesto Munoz De Cote

Acquisitions manager, LAPTV, Latin America

Recent purchases: “Dancer in the Dark,” “3000 Miles to Graceland,” “Small Time Crooks”

What prior job or experience best prepared you for film acquisitions?

“I have been in the TV industry and specifically in the pay TV industry for over 12 years now. Knowing deeply the television habits and preferences of the Latin American public has allowed me to understand how they are going to react to specific products.”

How would you rate the acquisitions climate?

“We have not perceived a major change on the acquisition climate in the past months, at least not in our territory.”

What’s your advice to filmmakers vying for your attention?

“It is very common, especially in Latin America, to find filmmakers that compromise their distribution in stages as early as the pre-production of the film. A particular film may be promised to a free TV station as soon as it comes out of theaters, just because that TV station provided some financial relief during the shooting. The best advice we can give filmmakers is to approach serious distribution companies that will allow them to find the best way to finance and distribute their product without minimizing its commercial potential.”

What’s your favorite place to screen a film?

“Festivals are of course the best way to screen films, as the market activities are much more reduced; however, the genre of the films is not necessarily commercial enough for us. One example of a perfect combination of screening and meeting opportunities is the Unifrance French Film Festival in Mexico.”

Which film do you wish you had picked up but didn’t?

“We have found some movies in pre- or post-production with a lot of potential and we have made offers. However, it is in the best interest of the distributor to have a major studio come in and buy all rights for the film. When that happens, our offers are too small and imply a lot of extra work for the sales people so they always choose to go to the major. We have lost several titles that way.”