BUENOS AIRES – Switzerland’s Locarno Festival is creating a new platform, Carte Blanche Extra, allowing up-to-four producers from Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Chile to present their films in development to potential co-producers during Locarno’s Industry Days.

Bringing a potential 16 Latin American produceres to Locarno, the new initiative, unveiled Wednesday at Ventana Sur by Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian, builds on the first four years of Carte Blanche which focused successfully from 2011 on pix-in-post from Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Brazil. A series of professional lunches with industry key players will also aid the producers’ networking.

Unveiled at Locarno, which boasts a significant industry presence, Carte Blanche movies have gone on to snag sales agents, big festival berths, prizes and distribution.

Two examples: Alejandro Fernandez Almendras’ “To Kill a Man,” which won the 2013 Chile Carte Blanche, and this year’s winner, “Hopefuls.” Vicente Canales’ Film Factory picked up world sales rights at San Sebastian’s Films in Progress at San Sebastian on “To Kill.” Selected for 2014’s Sundance Festival, “To Kill a Man” – a film that questions a modern sub-genre: the vengeance movie – went on to scoop the Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize.

This year, “Hopefuls” won the Brazil Carte Blanche 2014 Prize. Shown at Locarno at the first rough-cut screening of the first film by both its director Ivan Rosenfeld and producer Tatiana Leite (pictured) at Rio’s Bubble Project, which produced with Crisis Produtivas, “Hopefuls” went on to clinch a Brazilian domestic distribution deal – no slam dunk for Brazilian art films – with Pandora Filmes.

Crucial to the continuity of a Latin American presence at Carte Blanche, Locarno offers an industry presence, led by France, Germany and Italy, which are key territories for art films sales, whatever their challenges, and which is neither so large as to swamp smaller films from Latin America, nor not large enough to justify their producers’ attendance.

Equally key for the launch of Carte Blanche Extra has been excellent relations between the Festival and national promo orgs in Latin America – Cinema do Brazil, Cinemachile, Mexico’s Imcine and Colombia’s Proimagenes – which partially bankroll producers attendance at key international events.

“Carte Blanche has quickly become one of the cores of the Locarno Industry Days activities. Carte Blanche Extra strengthens and develops an ongoing relationship with our partners for the benefit of the selected producers,” said Nadia Dresti, Locarno’s Head of International.

“Mexican Cinema has always had a significant place in Locarno and the possibility to strengthen the ties with Locarno Industry Days is exciting,” added Imcine Monserrat Sanchez Soler.

“The experience of Carte Blanche was one of the best we had in seven years of activities, said Cinema do Brasil’s Andre Sturm, also head of PandoraFilmes, who used the event to showcase titles from Brazil’s burgeoning regional cinema.

“Carte Blanche was for CinemaChile a very important event for the development of Chilean directors’ international relations,” added CinemaChile’s Constanza Arena.