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San Sebastian: Latido, A Contracorriente Forge World Sales Alliance (EXCLUSIVE)

Movies from Carlos Saura, Benito Zambrano, Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat in first export slate

SAN SEBASTIAN – In the run-up to Spain’s 2015 San Sebastian Fest, Latido Films, one of the country’s premier sales agents, and producer-distributor A Contracorriente Films, one of its most successful indie distributors, have inked an world sales alliance – propelling both to the forefront of the Spanish film industry.

Pact renders both companies more attractive as distribution partners in and outside Spain. It sees Latido Films, which sold Academy Award winner “The Secret of Their Eyes,” taking international sales rights on films produced or distributed in Spain by A Contracorriente. Partnership kicks in with seven titles, taking in name auteurs – Spain’s Carlos Saura (“The Hunt,” “Raise Ravens,” “Carmen”), Andalusian auteur Benito Zambrano (“Alone,” “The Sleeping Voice”) and Eduard Cortes (“The Pelayos,” with “Rush’s” Daniel Bruhl) and Argentina’s Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat, helmers of quirky comedy hits such as “The Man Next Door.”

As importantly, Latido will tap into latest generation talent from Spain such as Malaga Fest winners Leticia Dolera and Juan Miguel del Castillo, as well as Lara Izagirre, whose “Un otoño sin Berlin” world premieres Sept. 22 at San Sebastian.

The first Latido-A Contracorriente foreign sales slate:

*Quirky indie romcom “Requirements To Be A Normal Person,” from actress (the chainsaw wielder of “[REC] 3”) turned-helmer Dolera, a Malaga Fest Young Jury and screenplay winner, which was co-backed by Telefonica Studios (“Wild Tales,” “The Clan”) in its drive into young talent in Spain;

* Del Castillo’s docu-like “Techo y Comida,” a Malaga Audience Award and actress (Natalia de Molina) winner, a straight-to-the-point take on a single-mother victim of Spain’s economic crisis;

*“Un otoño sin Berlin,” a Basque homecoming drama starring Irene Escolar, soon to be seen with Antonio Banderas in Hugh Hudson’s “Altamira,” and a Basque Cinema Gala screening at San Sebastian.

*“El ciudadano ilustre,” about a famous writer’s controversial hometown return, from Duprat and Cohn, whose “Man Next Door” took a 2010 Sundance best cinematography plaudit.

*Cortes’ “Cerca de tu casa,” an Spanish crisis eviction musical, which, like “Ciudadano,” now in post;

*In pre-production, “J,” from Carlos Saura, which Latido head Antonio Saura describes as a “Carlos Saura going back to his roots to explore the music from his motherland, Aragon.” “J” is set for a November shoot.

*And Zambrano’s “Un novio para mi mujer,” a remake of Juan Taratuto’s Disney-backed Argentine blockbuster, which ranked No. 1 in Argentina in 2008, beating out Hollywood’s top-grosser, “The Dark Night.”

“A Contracorriente has burst onto the distribution scene with new creative ideas, bringing a breath of fresh air which has revolutionized the way in which we see films,” said Latido Films’ CEO Antonio Saura.

He added: “For Latido Films, the deal is a bet on international on a series of excellent pictures that we’re sure will receive a top-notch launch-pad in the Spanish market. Also, it’s a chance to work with a great team – a win-win situation.”

Latido’s aid will help Contracorriente films access major fest berths, key for not only international but domestic runs, A Contracorriente founder Adolfo Blanco argued.

The first slate from A Contracorriente will also majorly boost Latido’s lineup in volume and export potential.

“We’re going to work very well with Latido,” Blanco added. “There’s an affinity in our content lines, and our way of seeing the business. Films are made to be seen by audiences. We only board projects capable of finding a market. Latido’s track record and team are excellent. We especially like the sense of a passion for cinema you note in their offices,” he went on.

Since its first full-year of operations, in 2011, A Contracorriente Films, founded by Blanco, has consistently ranked among Spain’s top five indie distributors by market share. It has done so with breakouts or crossovers – such as its two big French comedy hits, “Intouchables” and “Serial Bad Weddings” – rather than high-end U.S. indie fare.

Sourcing movies from Spain’s Tornasol, Latido scored worldwide sales and an Oscar with Juan Jose Campanella’s “Secret in Their Eyes.” This year, it has driven energetically into Mexican cinema, acquiring the Guillermo del Toro-produced “The Thin Yellow Line,” Julio Hernandez Cordon’s Mexico City-set “I Promise You Anarchy,” a Locarno competition hit now unspooling at San Sebastian, and dwarf double-homicide “Bleak Street,” from resilient Mexican directing legend Arturo Ripstein, which world premiered at Venice, where Ripstein was awarded a Biennale Award.

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