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‘Tropics,’ ‘Mountain,’ ‘Frost’ at Puentes

Development initiative adds to Locarno industry heft

Sebastian Cordero’s “Such Is Life in the Tropics,” Luigi Forlani’s “Silver Mountain” and Maximiliano Schonfeld’s “The Black Frost” feature among 10 projects at the 5th Puentes Europe-Latin America Producers Workshop.

A one-year training-networking course for early-in-development projects organized by the European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE), Puentes will for the first time stage a workshop at the Locarno Festival over Aug. 8-14, adding yet more industry heft to the Swiss event.

A second workshop unspools Nov. 29 – Dec. 4 in Montevideo, organized with Uruguay’s Mutante Cine.

In another departure, Puentes producers are invited by Ventana Sur to attend its Dec.3-6 Buenos Aires market. “Tropics” is sure to spark attention after an upbeat critical reaction to Cordero’s first full-English-language movie, found-footage sci-fi thriller “Europa Report.”

Produced by Arturo Yepez (“No Autumn, No Spring”) out of Carnaval Cine, a new shingle teaming Yepez, Cordero and scribe Andres Crespo, “Tropics,” structured as a classical tragedy, begins with Don Gustavo Miranda, a Guayaquil bigwig, fortuitously killing a boy on an illegal deer hunt.

“Silver Mountain” co-director Falorni impacted co-helming 2003’s Oscar-nominated docu-feature “Story of the Weeping Camel.” Set up at DIE BASIS Berlin, “Mountain” is a Bolivian Andes children’s adventure.

Produced by Barbara Francisco’s El Pasto, which co-produced Santiago Mitre’s notable debut “The Student,” “The Black Frost” sees Schonfeld return to the Entre Rios region of “Germania” for a rural faith-issue drama that won BAL’s Arte Prize in 2012.

Locarno and Puentes already co-organize co-production lab/screenings Open Doors.

Theirs is “ a very natural partnership,” said EAVE CEO Kristina Trapp: “We are thrilled to put in place various synergies between the festival’s thriving industry section and our workship,” she added, pointing out that Locarno had a strong Latin American connection with pix-in-post sceenings Carte Blanche focusing on Colombia, Mexico and Chile.

Uruguay’s “So Much Water,” a Latin American sales hit for Alpha Violet, was discovered in Open Doors, then developed at Puentes.

Welcoming ten up-and-coming producers from Latin America and Europe to Locarno will inevitably strike new synergies with other industry initiatives: Open Doors, discussion forum Step-In, and this year’s Chile-focused Carte Blanche, said Nadia Dresti, Locarno Festival head of international.

Dresti and Trapp cite one example: Chilean producer Eduardo Villalobos will pitch Alejandro Fernandez Almndras’ “To Kill a Man” at Carte Blanche and present Almendras’ potential follow-up, “The Light Untamed,” in Puentes.

Many 2013 Puentes project producers or directors are prized up-and-coming talent. Produced by Marie Besson at Belgium’s Ekleltik Productions, “The Blood of Your Blood,” in which a nun’s Argentinean family hides a Dirty War secret, is helmed by Italy’s Stefano Passeto whose “The Call” played 2010’s Toronto to upbeat reactions.

Presenting Armando Capo Ramos’ 1994 Cuba-set coming-of-age tale “August,” Costa Rica’s Marcela Esquivel Jimenez produced “Red Princesses,” a 2013 Berlin Generation player.

“La Holandesa,” about a delusional wannabe mother, is helmed by Holland’s Joost van Ginkel whose teen love story “170Hz” won the 2011 Dutch Film Festival’s Golden Calf Audience Award. Danielle Guirguis (“Regret!”) produces at Amsterdam’s Smarthouse Films.

Turning on a long-distance love affair, romantic comedy “Impossible Germany” marks helmers Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Daniel Remon’s follow-up to “Stockholm,” which swept Spain’s Malaga Festival. Tourmalet Films’ Mayi Gutierrez once more produces.

Puentes also includes relationship triangle tale “Other Times,” produced by Brazil’s Tatiana Leite and helmed by Christiane Jatahy, and “Dark Fields,” produced by Marta Lewandowska at Poland’s Amondo Films and helmed by Mexico-born Joaquin del Paso. “Fields” turns on three kids in a Mexican village where everybody goes blind by 20.

Some EAVE tutors are producers of recent high-profile art films: Bruno Bettati at Chile’s Jirafa Films (“Summer of Flying Fish,” “The Future”), Mutante’s Fernando Epstein (“So Much Water” “Tres”), Paris-based Petit Film’s Jean des Forets (“Leones,” “Cold Water of the Sea”); Christophe Friedel at Germany’s Pandora Film (“Layla Fourie,” “Medianeras”).

Among further experts: Marketing specialist Sarah Calderon at Spain’s The Film Agency; U.K. film-TV vet and EAVE board prexy Alain Fountain; Argentine scribe (“The Southern Girl”) and script consultant Jorge Goldenberg.

All producers read one another’s projects, Trapp said.

She added: “To be in that group of Europeans and Latin Americans where everyone gives you feedback is a great luxury, no matter how experienced a producer may be.”

The Locarno-EAVE Open Doors runs Aug. 10-13, focusing on Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

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