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Primer Plano Takes Worldwide Rights to Thriller ‘Witness’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Argentine Santiago Fernandez’s second feature plays at Ventana Sur's Blood Window

Pascual Condito’s sales-distribution company, the Primer Plano Film Group, has taken worldwide distribution rights to Argentine Santiago Fernandez’s psychological thriller “Intimate Witness.”

Playing in Ventana Sur as one of the six titles at Blood Window’s 2nd Bloody Works in Progress, “Witness” is produced by Buenos Aires-based Magma Cine and Mexico’s Nimbus Comunicacion, in what looks likely to be a growing axis between South America and Mexico.

Pic has covered approximately 85% of its $700,000 total budget, financed with distribution advances, prodcos’ own funds, plus public subsidies through Argentina’s INCAA film institute, said  producer Juan Pablo Gugliotta, at Buenos Aires’ Magma Cine, also the lead-producer on Pablo Fendrik’s Participant PanAmerica-backed “El Ardor.”

Fernandez established himself as a scribe-turned-helmer to track after helming chiller “The Second Death,” which Paris-based Reel Suspects sold to Germany, Japan, Spain and a bevy of Latin American territories led by Mexico.

Shot in the cities of Buenos Aires and Candil, in Argentina, Nimbus brought to the project two Mexican actors (Felipe Colombo and Maria Aura) and post-production crew. Leading cast members also includes Argentina’s Guadalupe Docampo, Graciela Alfano and Leo Sagesse.

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“Witness” tells the story of two brothers, Facundo, a powerful lawyer played by Colombo, who’s having an affair with Violeta (Docampo), brother Rafa’s girlfriend. When Rafa (Saggese) discovers Violeta’s dead in his apartment, Facundo decides they have to get rid of the body.

As Fernandez previously declared, “Witness” will be a more commercial film than “Death,” which can be appreciated in pic’s narrative treatment, Gugliotta said.

Although playing in the Blood Window section, film doesn’t fits into a classic horror movie mould: There’s almost no blood nor gunshots: “Witness” is much more of an atmospheric psychological thriller.

“As a classic thriller with a surprise ending, it can appeal strongly to audiences,” said Gugliotta. “At the same time, it is also a love and suspense story about young, urban characters, which can make the film connect to this target audience.”

On “Witness’” potential market returns, the producer added: “It is a very solid project for all Latin America, easy to move on pay TV, VOD and Internet windows, and cast can enhance theatrical releases in Argentina and Mexico. It can be a strong product for genre film distributors in Europe, U.S. and Asia. In fact, we are in talks with the distributors that bought “Second Death.”

Buenos Aires’ Primer Plano will release “Witness” in Argentina on March 12.

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