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Dynamo plans Latin American production fund

Private equity will support new film, TV, animation

BERLIN — Colombia’s Dynamo Capital is looking to create a $150 million-$200 million private equity fund to invest in Latin American film, TV and animation companies.

The move points to escalating investment opportunities in Latin America, where economies are ramping up and production companies have promising potential.

It comes as DC announces key new projects: Andi Baiz’s “Roa” and Carlos Moreno’s “Que viva la musica!”

Dynamo Capital, launched in January 2008, has quickly become the leading private-sector film financing force in Colombia.

Managing a film fund of nearly $10 million that expires Jan. 2, it’s invested in two Spanish-language thrillers being shopped at Berlin: Baiz’s “Bunker,” a hot-selling thriller produced with Sanford Panitch’s Fox Intl. Prods. and Spain’s Cactus Flower and Avalon, and sold by FIP and Elle Driver; and serial killer thriller “Blind Alley,” produced by Dynamo, Spain’s Roxbury Pictures and Antena 3 Films, from scribe-turned-director Antonio Trashorras (“The Devil’s Backbone”).

Meetings are already taking place, research is being performed and materials are being distributed to create the new fund, which targets institutional investors in emerging markets, said Cristian Conti, Dynamo senior fund manager. Although the fund-raising climate is challenging, $150 million is not a very large sum in the private equity world, he added.

DC is working with Boston Consulting Group and headhunters Korn/Ferry to develop the new, larger fund’s operating structure.

DC will continue backing Ibero-American co-productions, Conti said.

“Investing in content first, then flipping that investment into equity shares is a sensible strategy because it provides in-depth due diligence for the investor,” Conti added.

DC would aim to own key film, TV and animation companies across Latin America, creating what Conti called a “ministudio.”

Its gameplan reflects market realities including exploiting opportunities for synergies, the financial world’s new enthusiasm for emerging markets, Latin American companies’ lack of business experience and an appetite for content.

“In an emerging market environment, where more channel licenses are being given, content’s always required,” Conti said.

As for its new new projects, “Que viva la musica!” is an adaptation of Andres Caicedo’s 1976 novel.

The pic, “a Colombian kind of ‘Trainspotting,’ and an upside-down coming of age story,” according to Conti, charts an upper-class Cali girl’s joyous descent into drugs, sex, nightlife, excess and salsa.

Dynamo is courting potential partners for the pic in Venezuela, Argentina and Spain. Ana de Armas (“Sex, Party and Lies”) is in talks to star, with a shoot scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter.

“Roa,” said Conti, is “a Colombian ‘JFK,’ ” pinpointing a seminal moment in Colombia’s history: the assassination of presidential candidate Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, a charismatic liberal, in 1948.

The pic, written by Baiz and Patricia Castaneda, centers on the alleged killer, Juan Roa, a 26-year-old loser with delusions of grandeur.

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