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Toronto: Latin America’s Mundial Raises Curtain on Busy Inaugural Slate

IM Global, Canana joint venture aims to give sales push to pics and producers across Latin America

Launched by IM Global and Canana, the most ambitious initiative ever to sell Latin American pics to the world will unveil its first slate of fully-finished films at Toronto.

The Mundial venture is already mulling options for more growth in the region.

Mundial is already showing a substantial presence at Toronto, with “Paradise,” a Mexico City-set love story from Mariana Chenillo (“Nora’s Will”), bowing Sunday.

One of only two Latin American Special Presentations, Alberto Arvelo’s Venezuelan epic “The Liberator,” starring Edgar Ramirez (“Carlos”), follows Monday; “A Wolf at the Door,” from Brazilian debutant director Fernando Coimbra, world preems Wednesday.

The six-year-old IM Global has diversified into growth sectors, bowing genre label Octane and into the fast-expanding markets of Asia and now Latin America.

“IM Global has a very significant infrastructure and a muscular partner in Reliance that has allowed us to work in the non-mainstream space, in tandem with our bigger commercial movies and genre films, and devote a level of energy to that activity that perhaps more niche companies are unable to do,” said IM Global CEO Stuart Ford. “That’s been to the benefit of movies IM Global is involved in, giving them a platform that they wouldn’t have otherwise received.”

Acquiring world sales rights on third-party pick-ups such as “Mexico’s Most Wanted,” from Lemon Films, or “Wolf,” produced by Brazil’s Gullane Filmes, Mundial is establishing key relationships with producers across Latin America.

“Producers in Latin America share a common vision about what we need in the region and the value of having a sales company in the same time zone which understands their production challenges,” said Canana’s Pablo Cruz.

Once famed for its valiant, micro-budget social-issue movies, Latin America’s production sector is experiencing considerable change.

Producers are firing up budgets: Epic biopic “The Liberator,” with Ramirez playing Simon Bolivar, is said to be the most expensive independently-financed movie ever made in Latin America.

Movies are acquiring audience-friendly narrative drive: “Wolf,” for instance, is a suspense-thriller, teasing out the panic, suspicion and final hate between two parents, guilt-ridden after their daughter’s kidnapping.

Latin America’s concerns are also increasingly those of the developed world. “Paradise” turns, on a loving, if overweight, couple that embarks on a weight-loss program. Soon, their relationship seems threatened.

“’Paradise’ talks about Mexico City, its suburbs, different worlds, but was conceived with the idea that its characters’ conflict and change wouldn’t just be understood in Mexico,” said Chenillo.

Weight-loss pressures, especially for women, are common the world over. Latin American cinema is acquiring a new, and far more universal reach.

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