Latin America: Up Next! – Gema Juarez Allen

Argentine documentary producer now firing up fiction features and international co-production

Ventana Sur Latin America Up Next
Copyright Emilio Mayorga

A winner – of the 2015 Berlinale Co-production Market Pitch, for Abner Benaim’s “Plaza catedral,” a tangled false friendship drama with thriller elements, set against the background of Panama’s social divide, and of Colombia’s Cartagena Fest PuertoLab with “Road to La Paz,” a humanizing road movie tale- Juarez Allen broke through in 2011 co-producing Victor Kossakovsky’s “Vivan las Antipodas,” a big poetic geo-documentary which played Venice.

Currently producing Benaim’s doc, “My Name is Not Ruben Blades,” with Ruben Blades, based out of her Buenos Aires shingle Gema Films, Juarez Allen sees her future, however, more in fiction features and international co-production, one of Latin America’s current production drivers.

That may not be the biggest of asks. Already, she has built up a network of film-by-film international co-production alliances, such as with the Netherlands’ Marlene Slot. And she has a good repeat track record with past partners, such as Benaim.

Of her 2016 titles, Juarez Allen has in post buzzed-up “Oscuro Animal,” about three women fleeing armed conflict in Colombia, directed by Colombia’s Felipe Guerrero, an editor on “La Playa DC,” “Perro come perro” and “El Paramo.”

Also in the works: the next film from Manuel Abramovich, a Mar del Plata 2014 Works in Progress winner for “Soley” – a small but remarkable heart-bearing doc-feature whose power struggle between director and subject adds unusually honest depths to a bio-portrait of someone who claims to come from the sun.

“I’d like to make the second or third films of my directors. They’ve all been such good experience. We’ve grown together,” Juarez Allen told Variety at the Mar del Plata Festival.