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Walter Salles’ VideoFilmes Boards Santiago Mitre’s ‘La Patota’

Much anticipated second film from Santiago Mitre (‘The Student’) skedded for August shoot

MADRID – VideoFilmes, the Rio de Janeiro-based production house owned by Walter Salles (“Central Station,” “The Motorcycle Diaries”), will co-produce social thriller “La Patota,” the much-anticipated second film by Argentina’s Santiago Mitre.

Based on Daniel Tinayre’s 1960 modern movie classic “La Patota,” which played in competition at Berlin, Mitre’s sophomore outing has won $250,000, announced Friday, from an dedicated Argentina-Brazil film fund launched in 2010 to finance four co-productions a year between the two countries.

“We’re very happy to co-produce Santiago Mitre’s ‘La Patota.’ I’m a great admirer of his first film, “The Student,” and believe that Santiago is one of the most talented young directors in Latin America today,” Salles said Friday.

With VideoFilmes on board, and principal photography skedded for August in Misiones, in Argentina’s extreme northeast, “La Patota” now has one of the strongest international co-production structures of any Argentine film going into production this year.

Written by Mitre and “Student’s” co-scribe Mariano Llinas, “La Patota” stars Dolores Fonzi (“La Aura,” “In the Open”) as Paulina, a lawyer who abandons a thriving career in Buenos Aires to return to her homeland between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil to work in a humble neighborhood. Two weeks into her job, she is brutally attacked by a gang. Instead of backing down, she keeps her convictions as a sole way of survival, despite everything.

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Esteban Lamothe, the breakthrough star of “The Student,” co-stars with Oscar Martinez (“Wild Tales”).

“La Patota” moves from one character to the next, all linked by the act of violence, between the victim and its perpetrators, presenting how violence triggers different ideas of justice.

It turns on “militancy, social commitment, justice, is narrated in a highly-realist, near-documentary style, and rapidly becomes a thriller,” Mitre told Variety.

Out of Argentina, Mitre, Agustina Llambi Campbell and Fernando Brom produce for La Union de los Rios, along with Lita Stantic, Axel Kuschevatzky for Telefonica Studios, via Argentine broadcast network Telefe, and Ignacio Viale for Story Lab.

Run by Didar Domehri, formerly at Films Distribution, and ex-Wild Bunch sales agents Gael Nouaille and Laurent Baudens, Paris-based Full House co-produces out of France. Ad Vitam has taken French distribution rights.

Set up by Mitre, Llambi Campbell, and scribe-helmers Alejandro Fadel (“The Wild Ones”) and Martin Mauregui (“1922”), La Union de los Rios produced “The Student.” Leveraging Telefe’s muscular marketing clout, Telefonica Studios has been behind nearly all of Argentine’s big homegrown hits since “The Secret of their Eyes.”

Full House’s former sales agents nous should ensure that a top-notch sales agent brings the film on to the market.

Argentina’s INCAA film/TV institute, Brazil’s ANCINE film agency, and France’s CNC World Cinema Support find also back “La Patota.”

Winning Bafici’s Special Jury Prize in 2011, “The Student” – a taut thriller with a neo-docu edge set in the cut-throat world of Argentine student politics – established Mitre as one of the most talked-up new Latin American directors of this decade.

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