Oxxo, Venus form distrib’n alliance

Companies to focus on classics, family-oriented fare

MIAMI — L.A.-based distribs Oxxo Films and Venus Pictures have formed a strategic alliance to distribute Spanish-lingo cinema in the U.S. in all distribution channels.

The companies say their alliance forms one of the largest collections of Spanish-lingo films.

In a statement, Oxxo said it began distributing films in 1997 from Mexico’s Televicine (the film arm of Mexico’s Televisa, which has since renamed the division Televisa Cine), and has brought in films produced under the auspices of the Mexican national film institute, Imcine. Oxxo is currently co-producing in Mexico a 12-volume series based on the lives of Mexican women.

Its partner Venus has a relationship with Alameda Films, the shingle of veteran Mexican producer Alfredo Ripstein with grandson Daniel Birman. Venus also has plans to produce films targeting Hispanic teens and children.

The companies said they will focus their distribution efforts on classics and contemporary family-oriented titles.

They face competition in the bid to reach the growing, but diverse, U.S. Hispanic market.

In December 2001, vid distrib Maverick Entertainment, which focuses on niche ethnic and urban titles, created Maverick Latino to tap into the Latino market, emphasizing U.S. Hispanic original titles and recent releases from Latin America.

It was followed by vet distribution exec Peter Marai, who announced a new shingle, Cinemateca, for the DVD and occasional theatrical distribution of Spanish-lingo arthouse and classic fare.

And then Televisa Cine formed a strategic alliance with Plural Entertainment (a division of Spanish media conglom Prisa) and Latino World Entertainment to distribute current and upcoming films theatrically in the U.S.

Separately, Televisa announced in 2003 that it would roll out its home entertainment label in the U.S. market, with current and catalog film titles from the Televisa Cine division and products based on Televisa TV programming. Televisa’s Miami-based distribution arm, Televisa Intl., is overseeing the effort and inked a U.S. distribution accord with Santa Monica-based Xenon Pictures, which specializes in urban and ethnic films.

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