Argentina, Venezuela prep film fund

Venture to produce six to eight features a year

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina and Venezuela are creating a fund to co-produce six to eight features a year, a latest effort to broaden partnerships and distribution in Latin America.

A final agreement is to be signed in June, said Ignacio Rey, an Argentine producer working on the venture.

He said it will make it possible for Argentina, the busiest market in Latin America with 100 features produced per year, to tap new financing, while Venezuela will gain experience and expand the use of Villa del Cine, the five-year-old state-run studio near Caracas.

Villa del Cine, which provides sets and services, will co-produce films as part of the venture. Founded in 2006, it produced romantic drama “La Clase” by Venezuelan Jose Antonio Varela, now the studio’s head. It recently wrapped Luis Alberto Lamata’s slave drama “Azu.”

“Villa del Cine has everything to start and finish a film,” said Rey, who produced fest fave “La Tigra, chaco” at his Sudestada Cine in Buenos Aires.

Latin American producers are looking within their own region for coin as European funding becomes harder to tap and limits projects to social realism that can be harder to sell for commercial release, Rey said.

Spain recently jacked up the minimum budget for co-productions with Latin America to €1.5 million ($2.2 million), out of reach for most films in Argentina, where budgets run between $500,000 and $1.3 million, he said.

This is making Latin America more attractive, especially now as countries like Chile, Colombia and Venezuela create state funding systems that are spawning new financing sources as well as directors and producers.

Rey said regional tie-ups widen state funding and distribution opportunities in Latin America, where few regional films get play.

Indeed, Colombian producer Diana Bustamante is traveling more within the region to raise funds because her country can now put in a share.

“There is more money in each country,” said the topper of Burning Blue and Ciudad Lunar in Bogota. “Now Colombia can put money in, and this helps piece together funds for a complete package.”