Chilechita, Avalon co-produce ‘Diary’

Stahl, Gazzara to star in film

Chile’s Chilechita has inked with Germany’s Avalon Ent. to co-produce Gustavo Graef-Marino’s “Diary of an Old Man” toplining Armin Mueller Stahl and Ben Gazzara.

Produced by Chilechita’s Diego Izquierdo and Avalon’s Volker Maria Arend and to shoot in Punta Arenas, southern Chile, pic marks a pioneering entry into English-language filmmaking for Chile.

One of Latin America’s burgeoning national cinemas, Chile has discovered its own market. “King of Fools,” also produced by Chilechita, sold 320,000 admissions, for example. A delegation of 40 film professionals has come to Cannes.

More to the point, Chile’s pushing out piecemeal production and sales deals abroad.

In recent moves, Luis Angel Ramirez’s ImVal Producciones and Jose Nolla’s Iconica, two Spanish production houses, have taken co-prod equity in “Circo,” produced by Luigi Araneda’s El Asombro. Director Orlando Lubbert, who won San Sebastian’s Concha de Oro with “Taxi for Three,” is penning the screenplay.

Pic looks likely to be structured as a Chile-Spain-France-Germany co-pro, Araneda said.

Don Ranvaud and Eric Mathis’ Cannes-launched sales boutique Ondamax has taken international rights outside Mexico to son-gay father re-encounter “Locas.” Pic is produced by Daniel de la Vega’s Sahara Films and Mexico’s Monica Lozano and starring Mexico’s Rodrigo Murray (“Amores perros”).

And the London-based Maria Teresa Arida inked at Cannes to take “Locas” English-language remake rights.

Chile is building. Several forces are at work. The government has upped subsidy coin. After a Audiovisual Law in 2005, Chile’s Audiovisual Fund stumps up $5 million a year, said its exec secretary Carole Leiva. Other government sources contribute $3 million more.

Led by Nicolas Lopez’s sci-fi romancer “Santos,” directors are exploring genre.

Chile has signed co-prod treaties with France, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.

“We are a in a moment of dramatic growth. Before, Chile made one or no films a year. Now the average is around 10,” said vet director-producer Silvio Caiozzi (“Coronation”).

But, as more money enters the industry, and prices increase, companies are looking abroad to structure bigger-budgeted films.

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