MADRID – Spanish producer Antonio Saura (“The City of No Limits,” “Fados,” “Silence in the Snow”), also co-deputy chair of the European Film Academy, has been appointed executive director of Madrid-based world sales company Latido Films, a force not only in Spain but also Latin America and, increasingly, Eastern Europe.
Latido’s Berlin Fest slate will feature one of Saura’s latest productions, selected Wednesday for its Culinary Cinema section: “Sherry & The Mystery of Palo Cortado,” helmed by Jose Luis Lopez Linares, Spain’s foremost docu-feature filmmaker.
A delegate producer on Alex de la Iglesia’s milestone 1995 genre comedy “The Day of the Beast,” when he worked for Andres Vicente Gomez at Iberoamericana Films, Saura was also a founder of the Media Business School, one of the E.U.’s major audiovisual training initiatives. He replaces Silvia Iturbe, who guided Latido’s diversification into non-Latino films as production levels have plunged in Spain, and grew a team of young but experienced sales execs.
Under Saura, while maintaining its line of more mainstream movies, Latido looks set to drive further into “quality” movies, Saura said, citing two titles on Latido’s Berlin slate: Spaniard Beatriz Sanchis’ “They Are All Death,” with Elena Anaya (“The Skin I Live In”) and Diego Martinez’s “Red Earth,” set against a social uprising in Argentina’s dirt-poor Misiones region, which market preems at Berlin.
“We have to re-position as a company which can handle high-quality niche films, while backing audience-friendly cinema which can play many distribution outlets worldwide,” said Saura.
“I’m very excited, I have the large luck of joining a company which has been very well run, with a team of seasoned sales executives, who already have a faithful network of buyers” said Saura.
When acquiring films for world sales, Latido will maintain its geographic focus: Spain and other Latin America and Eastern Europe.
As an executive producer, overseeing films which he began to produce before ankling Zebra Audiovisual to set up his own more-film-focused production company Zampa Audiovisual, Saura still has upcoming “Zonda,” directed by father Carlos Saura, on which MK2 has struck promising pre-sales, and “Breathless Time,” co-produced by Tornasol.
Produced by Lopez-Li Films and Zampa Audiovisual, “Sherry” is Lopez Linares and Saura’s second Culinary Cinema selection after 2008’s “The Chicken, the Fish and the King Crab.” Part-structured as a thriller, “Sherry” plumbs the history, arcane traditions culture and future of Jerez de la Frontera sherry production, an unknown world even to most Spaniards.
Portraying a world where a fortified wine is drunk preferably at a precise time, and in the company of friends, “Sherry” is “a tribute to the pleasure of some devotees of happiness” and “the distillation of a place, a time, and a culture,” sais Lopez Linares. “Sherry” “covers everything: Anthropology, economy, history and a lot about wine,“ Saura added.
From Argentina’s Baraka Films, Spain’s Zebra Audiovisual and France’s Mondex et Cie, “Zonda” initiated principal photography Oct.5 in Buenos Aires. An “at once lyrical and analytical vision of tango, in line with Carlos Saura’s dance films,” said Antonio Saura, citing “Fados.” “Zonda” is Saura’s second exploration of the legendary Argentine dance form after the narrative fiction “Tango” which marked Maestro’s screen debut, and received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for best foreign film. “Zonda” will be ready for delivery this year.
Directed by Samuel Martin Mateos and Andres Luque, who helmed the Zebra-produced “Guts,” ”Timeless Breath” is also sold by Latido. Screening at the European Film market, it will be introduced to buyers at Berlin. Starring Juana Acosta (“The Snitch Cartel”), Carmelo Gomez (“The Night of the Sunflowers”), Adriana Ugarte (“Combustion”) and Felix Gomez (“Painless”), it follows Colombian nurse, Maria, whose daughter was murdered by three para-military soldiers. She gets on a plane for the Canary Islands with her young son to track down and kill one of the assassins, who’s begun a new life there with his lovely girlfriend.
At Berlin, Latido will also premirere Manuel Gomez Pereira’s crime thriller “The Ignorance of Blood,” with Juan Diego Botto (“Obaba”) and Paz Vega (“Spanglish”).
“Spain faces a very complicated situation,” Saura said. The upside is that “a lot of new talent is emerging. Latido would like to accompany these directors on their career journeys. We can be flexible, adapt to the new situation.”