Duo try to spice Chile’s production

Arraya's 'Azul y Blanco' to be partners' first joint effort

MIAMI Two Chilean companies have joined forces to help co-produce local films — by stepping in as investors with post-production services and distribution and marketing muscle.

Chilefilms, which owns the Chilean exhib chain Cinemundo, a regional film lab and a regional post house, and Santiago-headquartered distrib Phoenix World Investments (PWI) announced their accord, with one project already in hand, Sebastian Arraya’s “Azul y Blanco” (Blue and White).

The partners said they will consider projects at various stages of development, from script to already-in-post, and invited Chilean producers and directors to submit theirs.

In most of Latin America, filmmakers may be able to put together enough funds to shoot but often run out of money before they can complete final work.

Such was the case with “Azul y Blanco,” a drama exploring the violent culture of “barrabravas” — rabid, hooliganlike soccer fans who can be willing to die for their favorite club.

Pic marks the film debut of Ivan Zamorano, arguably Chile’s biggest soccer idol, who was a star player for Real Madrid in Spain and Milan in Italy in the 1990s. Arraya lensed the pic last year. It will now go into post next week, with its theatrical launch skedded for Dec. 25.

PWI is planning to go out on 35 screens with “Azul y Blanco,” a fairly large release for Chile, where “Finding Nemo” bowed on 45 screens. In addition to its distribution business in Chile and the rest of Latin America (it had regional rights to Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist”), PWI has created a U.S./Canadian distrib, PWI USA.

PWI USA, headed by prexy — and L.A.-based producer — Lawrence Mortorff, is starting up with Gonzalo Justiniano’s “B-Happy,” which will preem at Toronto. PWI also has a U.S. video/DVD subsid under the name Veracruz; the first catalog features classics of Mexican cinema, which will go on sale Sept. 1.

Chilefilms owns the film lab Cinecolor Lab, which has facilities in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. It also operates the post-production centers Cinecolor Post in Chile and in Argentina and Brazil’s Megacolor.