Latin docu co-pros on the rise

Euro crisis hits Latin Side attendance

BUENOS AIRES — “Alma’s Tears,” “Benghazi, Beyond the Front Line” and “Jorge Sanjines, the Courage of a Cinema Alongside the People” will be pitched at the 3rd Latin Side of the Doc/Doc Buenos Aires.

A three-day docu co-production forum, LSD/DBsAs, Latin America’s premier docu event, runs Dec. 6-8 in the Argentine capital.

Its projects underscore Latin America’s rapidly building expertise at structuring international documentaries.

One of their increasing challenges, however, may well be the crisis-pummelled European market.

Set up at France’s Upian, and co-produced by Arte France, like “Les Rebelles du foot,” another LSD project, the 75-minute “Tears” points to Arte France’s plunge into multi-platform docu distribution: Viewers are offered Alma’s “interactive” confession of why she joined and then left Guatemala’s violent Mara gangs; they can navigate online through her recollections.

Helmed by young Colombian Nathalia Orozco, “Benghazi” delivers a fresh view on the recent Libyan war, covering the expectations of Libyans rather than front-line conflict.

France’s Neotactica, Argentina’s 996 Films and Colombia’s Surdico produce “Benghazi.” Likewise, Alejandro Zarate’s “Sanjines,” a portrait of the veteran Bolivian filmmaker, is a Colombia-Bolivia-Mexico co-prod.

“A feature of Latin Side this year is that we have more and more projects which are supported by at least two, sometimes three, countries,” said LSD head Yves Jeanneau.

“Europeans have understood that to get answers from Latin America, they have to have key talent from Latin America,” he added.

As Spanish immigration to Latin America grows, Spanish broadcasters are increasingly interested in Latin American documentaries, Jeanneau said.

Otherwise, when it comes to docu buys, European commissioning editors are focusing more on programs on Asia, especially China.

Europe’s crisis has also put broadcasters’ budgets under ever more pressure. Tracking at 265 on Nov. 24, LSD/DBA European attendance looks “slightly down,” particularly from Spain, Jeanneau said.

Execs attending will be pitched a range of projects, which include some strong human interest dramas.

Among buzzed-about titles are Colombian Pablo Alvarez-Mesa’s “When the Trumpet Sounds,” about a 16-year-old wannabe bullfighter, and Dane Andreas Dalsgaard’s “The Element of Trust,” about a 24-year-old Colombian who hits the presidential campaign trail, supporting philosopher Antanas Mockus.

Also buzzed, “Buenos Aires — Year Zero,” from Andres Jarach (“Smoking Kills”), tells the life-stories of two prostitutes and two writers in 1900s Buenos Aires; Norwegian Fredrik Horn Akselsen’s “The Exorcist” tracks a Vatican-approved exorcist as he travels around the world.