Tondero Films, Peru’s leading production company is launching a distribution arm and hiring TV veteran Cecilia Gomez de la Torre to run it. Gomez served as head of programming and acquisitions at Peru’s second largest broadcaster, Latina TV, where she worked for the past 21 years. She has also joined Tondero Films as a partner.
“Cecilia knows a lot of people; she will be a great asset, especially when it comes to international sales and distribution,” said Tondero CEO Miguel Valladares.
The new distrib will be officially unveiled at the Lima Film Festival on Aug. 12 with operations kicking off on Oct. 6 with the release of Dominican Republic romantic comedy “All Men are the Same” (“Todos los Hombres son Iguales”), helmed by Spain’s Manuel Gomez Pereira and starring Peru’s Christian Meier. This will be followed in November by Joanna Lombardi’s 2015 Rotterdam Fipresci-nominated drama, “Alone” (“Solos”).
Tondero will release its own family-targeted soccer biopic, “Guerrero,” currently in production, on Dec. 8. “We hope to release eight to 10 films in 2017 and ramp up in subsequent years,” said Valladares. “I’ve been wanting to create a truly integrated film company for some time now; a distribution arm was the last link,” he said, although owning an exhibition circuit or even one cinema is still a pipe dream.
Tondero’s release slate also includes Guatemalan Jayro Bustamante’s much-lauded “Ixcanul.”
The eight-year-old shingle has produced the top four all-time blockbusters in Peru since 2013. An advertising vet, Valladares pioneered a game-changing strategy of funding his films through product placement packages. The $800,000 budget of Tondero’s first hit, “Asu Mare,” the number two all-time Peruvian film -only second to its sequel “Asu Mare 2” – was almost completely funded by product placement in 2013. Other companies have since used the same funding strategy, given the paucity of film incentives in Peru. The National Ministry of Culture’s audiovisual department, run by Pierre Vandoorne, administers an annual film fund of less than $3 million. Valladares sold a sponsorship package to various companies worth $2 million to fund Tondero’s slate this year.
Tondero’s mandate is to back a mix of mainstream and auteur pics. One of its latest co-productions, thesp Salvador del Solar’s directorial debut “Magallanes,” was nominated for five Platino Awards this year. “Magallanes” and “Solos” will screen in this year’s Lima Film Fest Peruvian showcase.
“Guerrero’s” nine-year-old lead, Rony Shapiama, was selected out of 5,300 kids who auditioned at a Tondero-produced reality TV show, “Buscando Guerrero” (“Looking for Guerrero”), which ran for a month on America TV. Shapiama plays a young Paolo Guerrero, Peru’s top soccer athlete now playing for Rio de Janeiro’s Flamengo club. Fernando Villaran directs the aspirational biopic about Guerrero’s youth.
Upcoming Tondero co-productions include Javier Fuentes-Leon’s next pic “Noblesse Oblige,” Diego and Daniel Vega’s Peru-Canada co-production “La Bronca” and dramedy “Siete Semillas,” starring Carlos Alcantara (“Asu Mare,” 1 & 2) and Spain’s Javier Camara (“Truman,” “Talk to Her”).