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‘Messi,’ ‘Sandalwood,’ ‘Fire’ Screen at Ventana Sur

Catalan Films & TV presents a strong line-up at the Argentine mart

Screening at Ventana Sur’s European Day, Alex de la Iglesia’s docu “Messi,” about the Argentine soccer superstar, Maria Ripoll’s Spanish-Indian drama “Traces of Sandalwood” and Luis Marias’ Basque Country-set thriller “Fire” are among major highlights from promotion board Catalan Films & TV’s line-up at the 6th edition of the South American market.

One of Spain’s most vital filmmaking regions, Catalonia will bring to Ventana Sur a 12 producers delegation that will take to the market both pics in development plus completed titles.

Also in attendance, and handling pics by Catalan production companies: top Spanish/Catalan sales agents Filmax International and Film Factory Entertainment plus Madrid-based Imagina International sales and Latido Films.

Completing the Catalan film industry’s presence at the Buenos Aires mart-meet, two English-language projects by Barcelona-based outfits will be pitched at Blood Window, Ventana Sur’s genre film market: Magno Entertainment’s black comedy “Fuck the World,” helmed by Santiago Alvarado, and David Munoz’s “Once Upon a Time in Jerusalem,” an action comedy turning on the adventures of Jesus and Judas in a post-apocalypse world, set up at Alkeme Company.

“The spectrum of Catalan companies attending international markets has expanded in recent years in line with the creativity and openness of our industry,” said Elena Rue, Catalan Films & TV co-ordinator.

At Ventana Sur, Julio Fernandez’s Filmax International manages the biggest film catalogue -mostly formed by genre pics- under the Catalan Films & TV umbrella.

Filmax’s strongest line-up in years includes new pics by well-known Catalonia-based filmmakers such as Jaume Balaguero (“Muse”), Alberto Marini (“Summer Camp”), Cesc Gay (“Truman”) and Antonio Chavarrias (“The Chosen”) plus “Cross the Line,” the awaited feature film debut of David Victori, winner of the 1st YouTube Your Film Festival.

Co-produced by Catalan outfit Fausto Prods, vet scribe Luis Marias’ revenge thriller “Fire,” toplining Jose Coronado (“No Rest for the Wicked”) and Aida Folch (“The Artist and the Model”), is being presented to the international market by Latido Films.

Sold by Vicente Canales’ Barcelona-based Film Factory Entertainment, “Messi” marks helmer Alex de la Iglesia’s first venture into docu filmmaking.

After world preeming last summer as the closing film of Venice Days, and given Argentina’s passion for soccer, the expectation is sure for “Messi,” one of the 32 screenings scheduled for Ventana’s European Day.

Produced by Anna Soler-Pont at Barcelona’s Pontas Films, Maria Ripoll’s “Traces of Sandalwood” is an hybrid English/Catalan-speaking East-meets-West indie  melodrama “with definite crossover potential,” according to Variety’s critic Ronnie Scheib.

“Sandalwood,” which toplines Bollywood star Nandita Das, won the audience award at the Montreal World Film Festival. Imagina International sells the film at Ventana Sur.

Despite huge economic and political troubles, Catalan film industry looks at the future with a dose of optimism, boosted by a just-approved law that obliges telcos to pay €0.25 ($0.31) for every data line in Catalonia from January. The measure will create a north-of-$25 million new film/TV finance source.

“Once Spain’s tax breaks system is consolidated, new funding mechanisms in Catalonia will pose a radical change to the current film model, making Catalan producers more competitive and interesting,” Elena Rue said.

Further Catalan prodcos attending Ventana Sur include Diagonal TV, El Videocassete, La Trinxera Audiovisual, 15-L Films, Soul Pictures, Producciones Kilimanjaro, Promarfi Futuro, Cornelius Films and Neo Art Producciones.

El Dedo en el Ojo’s Uriel Wisnia will also be present, roling off another plaudit for “Not All is Vigil,” this timer at the Mar del Plata Festival.  Among Catalan buyers under Catalan Films & TV umbrella will be Abordar, Cameo and Mosaico Filmes.

Catalan Films & TV is organizing Tuesday Dec. 2 an institutional-come-industry presentation at Ventana Sur.

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