Toronto: Pyramide, Puenzos, Fendrik Launch ‘Cromo’

Feature, part of novel movie/TV series combo, world premieres at Toronto


Flagging a prime new Latin America movie launching onto the international market at Toronto, Pyramide, one of Europe’s premier arthouse companies, has closed France and international distribution rights on “Cromo,” a new and pioneering production directed by Argentina’s Lucia and Nicolas Puenzo and Pablo Fendrik.

“Cromo” has large interest in itself: It is the first full thriller from Lucia Puenzo, with compatriot Lucrecia Martel the best known of distaff helmers in Latin America.

“Cromo” also employs a mixed feature/TV model – the feature takes in the full narrative arc of series episodes 1,2 and 8 – that, if successful, could help establish a new alternative mixed financing/ revenue model for Latin American fiction for both movies and TV.

Set up at Historias Cinematográficas, the historic Buenos Aires production house created by Oscar-winning Luis Puenzo (“The Official Story”) which is one of the founding stones of modern Argentine cinema, and produced by Lucia and Nicolas Puenzo, “Cromo” is billed as a timely eco-thriller about a an idealistic scientist, Valentina, set out to expose environmental crimes in the dangerous and exotic wetlands of Argentina’s North. But something goes wrong.

As so much of Latin American films these days think Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan” – “Cromo” is based on real events. Also shot at the South Pole, where Valentina’s husband is is conducting his own investigations, with research partner Simon, also Valentina’s lover, “Cromo” forefronts the theme of trust, on a personal and social and corporate level, and to what extent the crimes of big business – the breaking of social binds for personal benefit – are not replicated by individuals.

A scientific procedural, the 13-part series, which will air in primetime in Argentine public TV from October, “Cromo” is inspired by two short stories by Martin Jauregui. Screenplay is by Lucia Puenzo, scribe director Sergio Bizzio –  whose second feature, “Bomba” was produced by Lucia Puenzo for Historias Cinematograficas, and Leonel D’Agostino.

Bursting onto the scene with 2007 “XXY,” which won Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prize, Lucia’s Puenzo’s third feature, “The German Doctor,” was selected for Cannes Un Certain Regard. Nicolas Puenzo is best known as a cinematographer – on “Bomba” and “The German Doctor.” Director of Canes Critics’ Week “Blood Appears,” Fendrik made a move towards the mainstream with “El Ardor,” a Cannes Special Screening starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Alicia Braga.

There is now strong and likely-to-build market demand across the region and beyond for fiction dramas helmed or written by Latin America’s finest best film directors. Combining film and TV, producers can often look to amplify financing sources and sales agents enjoy broader and larger opportunities for recoupment.