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Argentine distributor beefs up slate

Distribution Co. adds trio of pics from Euro sales agents

BUENOS AIRES — Distribution Co., Argentina’s top indie distrib, has added a trio of pickups from European sales agents to its ample and eclectic slate.

Headed by vet Bernardo Zupnik, Distribution Co. has acquired David Lynch’s “Inland Empire,” sold by France’s StudioCanal, Sarah Polley’s directorial debut “Away from Her,” from London’s HanWay, and John Cameron Mitchell’s “Shortbus,” purchased from the London division of Fortissimo.

Buys join other recent acquisitions “The Magic Flute” and ” Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.”

Distrib Co. had a 11% market share through Nov. 30, just besting Warner Bros. (9.6%) and almost on a par with Columbia TriStar (11.6%).

Distribution Co. has an output deal with New Line and taps multiple Weinstein Co. titles on a film-by-film basis either directly from the Weinstein Co. or via the pan-Latin America buys of Mexico’s Gussi.

Pics accessed from Gussi include Ang Lee’s upcoming “Lust, Caution,” set up at Focus Features and Nicolas Cage-starrer “Bangkok Dangerous.”

Facing rampant piracy and a 65% devaluation of the Argentine peso in 2002, Distribution Co. has reacted with various strategies, said Zupnik. These have included a variegated distribution lineup; distribution of top local pics such as “Family Law”; renegotiation of distribution deals; strict control of P&A; and the creation of a film consortium, Cine.ar, to produce low-budget market-driven genre pics. First two titles on Cine.ar’s slate will be announced around March, Zupnik added.