×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

France Honors Zupnik

Vet Argentine distributor named a French Chevalier

MADRID – Argentina’s Bernardo Zupnik, one of Latin America’s best-known and longest-standing film distributors, has been named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres — a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters — by French culture and communication minister Aurelie Filippetti.

Zupnik will receive the Order’s insignia — an eight-point asterisk medallion on a green-with-white-bars ribbon — at a ceremony that will take place in September or October in Buenos Aires.

Awarded to French citizens and foreigners for their contribution to or promotion of the arts and literature, the distinction goes to one of Latin America’s iconic figures in the distribution landscape who has battled since he entered the sector in 1968 to carve out a space for independent films from France, Argentina, the U.S. and beyond.

Zupnik has seen spectacular results in some recent years. His company, Distribution Co., which he runs with daughter Paula Zupnik, was the top-ranking indie in Argentina in 2009, thanks to Oscar winner “The Secret in Their Eyes,” which grossed $9.3 million on home-turf Argentina.

But indie distribution in Argentina isn’t getting any easier.

Now a patrician figure on the festival circuit, Zupnik can access top-notch French titles. He is currently scouring for sufficient screens to open Gaumont’s “The Chef,” with Jean Reno, has released “The Intouchables,” Francois Ozon’s “The Refuge” and “In the House,” and multiple titles from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. He bought Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Blue Is the Warmest Color.”

The Dardenne brothers’ “The Kid with the Bike” punched $90,000. That, these days, is upbeat for straight-arrow arthouse in Argentina.

Argentina frames a paradox. Total Argentinean box office spiked 27% to Pesos1.2 billion ($234.2 million) in 2012, per IHS Electronics & Media (formerly IHS Screen Digest). That’s one of the biggest hikes of any larger territory in the world.

But Argentina’s paltry total screen count — 800 screens and languishing, year-end 2011 — pales before Brazil’s (2,373) and especially Mexico’s (5,166). Prime screen play-dates are pretty well covered by studio blockbusters.

There’s little sign, moreover, of Argentina’s exhibition sector growing much in the near future, either, Zupnik said. “Unlike in Chile or many parts of Latin America, there’s little investment in new shopping malls,” he added.

The French honor is “a source of immense satisfaction,” Zupnik enthused. It will also be some source of consolation as Distribution Co. seeks to continue in, for indies, one of the toughest markets in Latin America.

More Film

  • BRAZILIAN FLAGFRENCH OPEN TENNIS, PARIS, FRANCE

    Brazil’s Ancine Freezes Incentives, Threatening Film-TV Industry Paralysis

    Brazil’s Ancine agency, its foremost public-sector source of film funding, has frozen all of its incentive programs, potentially near paralyzing new production in Latin America’s biggest film-TV industry. The dramatic decision, which has left Brazil’s industry is a state of shock and intense fear for its future, comes as it has taken further hits. In [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez Reteams With STXfilms on Romantic-Comedy Co-Starring Owen Wilson

    Jennifer Lopez is reteaming with STXfilms on the upcoming romantic-comedy “Marry Me.” Kat Coiro is directing the film and Owen Wilson is in final negotiations to join the pic, which will likely shoot this fall. The script was written by John Rogers and Tami Sagher, with a rewrite by Harper Dill. Lopez and Wilson both [...]

  • Steve Golin The Revenant Spotlight Producer

    Steve Golin, Prolific Producer and Founder of Anonymous Content, Dies at 64

    Steve Golin, an Oscar-winning producer who was founder and CEO of Anonymous Content, has died of cancer. He was 64. Golin was a pioneer in blending the business of talent management with production. Anonymous Content, which Golin founded in 1999, worked with a stable of big name artists such as Steven Soderbergh, Emma Stone, Edgar [...]

  • Kelly McCormick David Leitch

    'Hobbs & Shaw' Director David Leitch, Kelly McCormick Sign First-Look Deal With Universal (EXCLUSIVE)

    Universal Pictures is signing David Leitch, his longtime producing partner, Kelly McCormick and their recently founded 87North Production banner to a first-look production deal. “David and Kelly have established themselves as a distinctive, stylish filmmaking team who can do it all, from contained thrillers to franchise tentpoles,” said Universal’s president Peter Cramer. “We are confident [...]

  • Still from cannes competition film "Parasite"

    Cannes: Bong Joon-ho Says ‘Parasite’ Is too Local to Win Competition

    Having been partially responsible for the Netflix fall out with the Cannes Film Festival, “Okja” and “Snowpiercer” director Bong Joon-ho returns to Cannes competition this year with conventionally- financed “Parasite.” But the Korean-language film is a tragicomedy that Bong says may be too nuanced for the festival. “Cannes always makes me feel excited, fresh, and [...]

  • Summer Box Office: 'Avengers: Endgame,' 'Lion

    Summer Box Office: Five Weekends to Watch

    Popcorn season is upon us, and it’ll be up to comic-book heroes, a wise-cracking genie, and a lion who would be king to ensure movie theaters are still the hottest place to spend the summer. Last summer, blockbusters like “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” Ocean’s 8,” and “The Meg” drove moviegoers to their [...]

  • Critics Week

    Cannes Critics’ Week Unveils Its Lineup

    Lorcan Finnegan’s science-fiction thriller “Vivarium” with Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, Jérémy Clapin’s fantasy-filled animated feature “I Lost My Body,” and Hlynur Pálmason’s Icelandic drama “A White, White Day” are among the 11 films set to compete at Critics’ Week, the section dedicated to first and second films that runs parallel with the Cannes Film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content