Buenos Aires’ Magma Cine, a pioneering company on the pan-Latin American co-production scene, has boarded Jorge Navas’ musical action movie “Buenaventura Mon Amour,” adding further muscle to one of the highest-profile titles from Colombia hitting markets and festivals next year.
The film is set up at Bogota-based Mon Amour Producciones, run by Steven Grisales, a former CEO and partner at Rhayuela Cine, executive-producer of recent Colombian titles such as Jaime Osorio’s 2011 war-horror film “El Paramo,” an international sales hit for Wild Bunch.
Rhayuela and Itaca Films also co-produce “Buenaventura,” backed by Caracol Cine, Revista Shock and Oasis Films.
Aiming at describing the rich cultural universe of Colombian Pacific coast, the film follows a group of friends, salsa choke and hip-hop dancers, in the poor and violent Buenaventura port city. Looking for a way out of their marginalised reality, the friends compete in a dance and music tournament but will encounter huge obstacles on their road to success.
Rolling Nov. 1-Dec. 5 in almost fifty locations in the Cauca Valley, in Colombia’s Pacific Ocean coastal region, the movie is making use of some 1,800 extras and 65 dancers.
With recent production credits such as Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn’s “The Distinguished Citizen,” Argentina’s Oscar entry, and Pablo Fendrik’s Gael Garcia Bernal-starrer “Ardor,” Magma Cine has taken a minority stake in “Buenaventura,” bringing to the table post-production services, actors, crew and tech from Argentina, Magma’s Juan Pablo Gugliotta told Variety.
“The film has a very powerful atmosphere and a very interesting story, describing the making of a hero in narrative terms. We liked the project a lot, which features kids from slums that have nowadays no future and recognizes their talent as artists,” added Gugliotta, who co-founded Magma Cine alongside Nathalia Videla Pena.
“We believe that this is an universal history that can be the same as that of other boys from the suburbs near Buenos Aires or around the world,” he said.
The project developed a transmedia strategy which has been recognized with several prizes, including the Reed Midem award at the RioContent Market Lab and Ibermedia’s Ibero-American Film Projects Development Workshop, both in 2012, and an LCI Award at the Ibero-American producers meeting at Guadalajara Film Festival in 2013.
The transmedia strategy consisted in creating a bridge between factual and fictional narrative and technology to discover new talents. Teaming with Caracol TV and Shock magazine, in casting, producers launched competitions across Colombia, using big screens for a virtual face-off with in situ players.
“We want to bring the ‘Buenaventura’ protagonists to Argentina and start to promote the dance with them. Here, there is a small salsa culture, but there is more and more immigration from Colombians and Latinos,” Gugliotta said.
John Hopewell contributed to this article