As the Guadalajara Intl. Film Festival unspools, two sidebar incubator programs are increasingly hot tickets for industry.
With three of last year’s Guadalajara Construye (GC) projects — “The Cinema Hold Up,” “Summer of Goliath” and “A Ticket to Paradise” — on the festival circuit, GC and the Ibero-American Coproduction Meeting are gaining more attention.
The programs are becoming increasingly competitive and, for producers and other industryites in attendance, represent an opportunity to find not only great projects but emerging talent.
“It’s the people behind the projects,” said producer Leonardo Zimbron, a former Warner Bros. exec. “When I worked for Warner, it was interesting not only for the products but for the people, because we were looking for good directors and writers.”
Running concurrently with the March 25-31 film market, both programs represent selected projects from open calls for entries for films in two different stages of development.
Focusing on films at the script phase, this year’s Coproduction Meeting runs March 27-29 and brought industry and talent together to review 30 projects from 11 countries, whittled down from 200 entries by a blue-ribbon industry committee, across Latin American and Spain. Previous projects in that category include festival laureates like “Nora’s Will,” “Bad Day to Go Fishing” and “Cold Water of the Sea.”
Noting how the Coproduction Meeting complements other market events like the pitching market, Zimbron said, “With so many industry people around, it’s possible to do a complete (deal) … There is less risk to buy a script.”
For many working in developing areas of the region, the possibility of winning the Churubusco Prize worth between $40,000 and $120,000, given to the winning script, is their only shot in realizing their project.
While festival industry director Andrea Stavenhagen added that making it into the Coproduction Meeting is no guarantee of getting into the coveted GC program; however, “We keep an eye on the work (coming out of the meeting).”
Three projects made it into GC this year from the Coproduction Meeting: Mexico’s “La cebra,” directed by Jose Fernando Javier Leon; Colombia’s “La Sargento Matacho,” directed by Willian Gonzalez Zafra; and Guatemala’s “Polvo,” helmed by Julio Hernandez Cordon.
This year, the programs’ director noted how the growth of Ventana Sur has resulted in a shift in the projects’ origins.
“We have a ton from Colombia, and are seeing so many more from Central America — projects of all kinds. There are genre pics, portraits of Latin American life, other more personal projects, or even international projects. There is no recipe or profile,” said Stavenhagen.
Launched in 2007, GC takes only six films from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (including Colombia) that have completed principal photography. Stavenhagen noted the steady growth of competition for GC with entries rising to 35 this year.
While GC also boasts many post-production prizes, including one tied to pick-up by Latinofusion, it offers an opportunity to see talent in the raw.
Zimbron’s own Filmadora, which he runs with Marco Polo Constanze and Abelino Rodriguez, offers its own prize with GC.
“It is still interesting to see who is behind these films for finding good directors and good writers. You see the training of the director and the writers, because you see it naked in this form with almost no treatment,” said Zimbron.
While “it’s also important to have projects that are at zero, as with the meeting, it is necessary to have both (it and GC),” said Zimbron.
“If there were only Guadalajara Construye, it wouldn’t have the same potential.”
According to Stavenhagen, the personal touch with which they handle the projects is the key to success for both the Coproduction meeting and GC.
Looking back, “It’s become so hard to be so hands on with the project leaders … but this isn’t Berlin. This is personalized. We have to be careful, one of our hardest criticisms is when we fail to do this. Ultimately, we want (the filmmakers) to be at home and want to return.”