Ventana Sur Registers Further Consolidation

Now a fixture, Latin America’s biggest film market sees sales, underscores market trends

Ventana Sur Registers Further Consolidation
Copyright: K & S

BUENOS AIRES –Film Factory’s “Spanish Affair,” FilmSharks’ “Americano 3D,” Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s “Scherzo Diabolico” and Rhayuela’s “Alias Maria” were four of a large litany of titles that saw some business at a robust sixth Ventana Sur, which once more witnessed now-hallmark growth: new sections, such as a European Day and transmedia showcase Interactuar; the mass support of the Latin American and international genre community for Ventana Sur’s genre mart Blood Window; a Thierry Fremaux master class; and two big Spanish-language production-distribution announcements: on Daniel Calparsoro’s “No Crook, No Crime” and Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan.”

Delivered to a SRO crowd, Fremaux’s master class formed part of a renamed Cannes Festival Film Week, which saw some of the biggest titles at Cannes – “Winter Sleep” and ”Mommy,” for instance – unspool in Buenos Aires at Fremaux-hosted presentations.

Now a fixture, and Latin America’s prime film market, the major challenge for Ventana Sur, and Latin American — indeed independent — filmmaking is the state of the international film market at large.

At the turn of the century, a well-crafted film could look for fulsome sales. Now a movie that lights a sales fire, rapidly selling out the world, is an exception, not any kind of rule.

Straight is the gate: That of course makes Ventana Sur all the more necessary and its existence an achievement in Latin American collaboration. It also has consequences for the tenor of business at Ventana Sur.

“Ventana Sur features both sales on completed films and buyers’ meetings with new filmmakers and producers, the latter not to buy projects immediately but rather to broaden bases for possible future collaboration,” said Cannes Marché du Film’s Jerome Paillard, Ventana Sur co-director.

As buyers scour for projects or productions that will break out to sales the world over, producers are scaling up productions to achieve movies that will stand out from the crowd.

On bank heist thriller “No Crook, No Crime,” whose production-distribution details were mostly unveiled during Ventana Sur, Spain’s Morena, Vaca, and Telecinco Cinema produce; Buenos Aires’ K & S Films, Fox Intl. Productions (FIP), Telefonica Studios and France’s La Ferme Productions co-produce; Twentieth Century Fox will distribute “No Crook, No Crime” in the U.S., Latin America and Spain. Film Factory sells the rest of the world.

Also announced during this week’s Ventana Sur, Argentina’s K & S Films and Matanza Cine, Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s El Deseo, FIP and Argentine broadcaster Telefe are teaming to finance and produce Trapero’s “The Clan,” one of the most awaited of upcoming titles from Latin America. 20th Century Fox will distribute “The Clan” in Latin America.

Following on “Wild Tales” — produced by K & S and El Deseo, co-produced by Telefe, under the aegis of Telefonica Studios, distributed by Warner Bros. in Latin America, Spain and France, a Sony Pictures Classics U.S pickup, and sold by Film Factory — 2014’s Ventana Sur confirmed a new super-class of Latin American co-productions, involving both top-notch indie companies, studios distribution and powerful broadcaster/telco backing.

Running Dec. 1-5 in Buenos Aires, Ventana Sur underscored further Latin American movie trends: Burgeoning low-fi, sci-fi production (think Izaac Ezban’s “The Similars,” but also “Tales of Tomorrow” and “Requiem for a Robot,” both Blood Windows projects); Latin America’s steady slippage toward mainstream production; companies’ full-scale disembarking in TV, led at Ventana Sur by the news that Alex Garcia’s AG Studios — which moved waves at the American Film Market inking an film ouput deal with IM Global — is now launching AG Networks.

As in Europe (think Studiocanal, EuropaCorp, Constantin), TV and content production in general, targeting multiple outlets, will form a key part of movie companies’ fiscal bliss in Latin America.

With the international film trade now a buyers’ market, distributors at Ventana Sur could afford to step back and ponder purchases. Bidding wars now have the glow of nostalgia. So multiple sales companies left Ventana Sur Saturday saying they’d have a better handle on deals made off Ventana Sur in a few weeks’ or months’ time.

But business still got done; announcements were in fact rife, serving to signal both key titles and sales players in the Latin America art/crossover sector.

XYZ Films, for example, will rep U.S. rights on Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s kidnap thriller “Scherzo Diabolico,” which screened in rough cut at Blood Window, XYZ Films confirmed during Ventana Sur.

Australia’s Palace Films purchased blockbuster “Spanish Affair,” sold by Film Factory, which grossed $77.5 million earlier this year in Spain.

Consistently in the news at Buenos Aires, UDI picked up sales rights on Colombian conflict zone-set girl soldier drama “Alias Maria,” whose transmedia project topped Ventana Sur’s Interactuar.

“El Americano 3D,” an Edward James Olmos-backed Mexican toon feature, closed Turkey with Tanweer Group. FilmSharks Intl. has begun to negotiate studio distribution, as on “Wicked Flying Monkeys,” said FilmSharks founder, Guido Rud.

Also going down or announced at Ventana Sur:

*Highly active, UDI closed U.S. rights with Paul Hudson’s L.A-based Outsider Pictures on a trio of Latin American titles: “Natural Sciences,” “El Mudo” and “Roa.” Fox + has also acquired Latin Americn pay TV rights to “Natural Sciences.”

* A consistent U.S. buyer on Spanish-language fare, Outsider Pictures has also bought “Voiceover” from its Chilean producer, Jirafa Films, and Jaimes Rosales’ “Beautiful Youth,” from NDM.

*”The Noble Family” (aka “We Are the Nobles”) sold to China (Binci Media) and German-speaking territories (Edel). Introduced at Ventana Sur, and based – like “The Secret in their Eyes” – on an Eduardo Sachieri novel, Juan Taratuto’s “Papers in the Wind” is under negotiations for Spain, U.S. and France, said Rud. Both are sold by FilmSharks Intl. which also unveiled Pope Francis portrait “Francisco,” produced out of the Pope’s native Argentina by Pablo Bossi.

*Raymond Murray’s Artsploitation took U.S. rights on Film Factory’s Argentine noirer “Death in Buenos Aires,” produced by Veronica Cura (“Las Acacias”), as well as Jean-Francois Davy’s Wide-sold “Transgression,” and Romain Basset’s “Horsehead,” from Reel Suspects.

* U.S.-based Shoreline Films announced world sales rights on Mexican Isaac Ezban’s feature debut, “The Incident.”

*Australia, Puerto Rico, and most probably a couple of Latin American countries will go down off Ventana Sur screenings of Alejo Flah’s Argentine-Spain co-pro “Easy Sex, Sad Movies,“ said Ivan Diaz, at its sales agent Filmax Int.. Pic has snagged a significant U.S. pay TV deal. Antonio Chavarrias’ “The Chosen,” co-produced out of Mexico by Monica Lozano’s Alebrije Cine y Video, has sold for all Latin America, he added.

*NDM sold “Out of Nature,” Berlin’s first announced 2015 Panorama title, to Epicentre Films in France.

*In the run-up to Ventana Sur, L.A.-based sales-production-distribution co FiGa Films linked to Barbara Francisco’s Pasto Cine and Diego Dubcovsky and Daniel Burman’s BD Cine, taking world sales rights on “El Incendio.” It also has boarded Maria Alche’s “Gulliver,” while FiGa/Br will rep “BeiraMar,” from Marcio Reolon and Filipe Matzembacher, based out of Porto Alegre,

*Alfredo Calvino’s Habanero Film Sales has closed with Palmera Intl., which acquires for Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, on “The Last Call,” from Mexico’s Francisco Franco. Other Palmera pick-ups from Habanero include “Las Analfabetas,” from Chile’s Moises Sepulveda, and “Four Moons,” a Breaking Glass U.S. release and ProFun pick-up for Germany.

*Paris-based Alpha Violet sold Maria Gamboa’s “Mateo” to a prestigious U.S. pay TV network, plus Sundance Channel for Spain and Portugal. U.K. and Benelux are now under discussion. Of its European titles, Poland’s Aurora Distribution acquired Gabod Reiz’s “For Some Inexplicable Reason,” with the U.S. in talks; Brazil’s Tucuman Distribution took Sebastien Betbeder’s “2 Autumns 3 Winters.” Cannes Critics’ Week winner “The Tribe,” from Ukraine’s Myroslav Slashboshpytskiy, closed Brazil (Mostra de San Paolo) and Poland (Aurora) with Mexico, Argentina and Australia in discussions.

*U.K. VOD/community platform has inked with Lucia Meik’s Meikincine, buying Diego Ruiz’s Chilean drama “Igloo,” produced by Storyboard Media.

“This is the sixth edition. Ventana Sur is no more a curiosity event. It’s still essential for many professionals while there’s renovation: Companies coming for the first or second time,” said Paillard.

Latin America’s movie buld – as Ventana Sur’s – does not yet seem to be over.