×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Spanish Film Sales Agents Look to Latin America, Small Screen

Once made up of almost pure-play Spanish film vendors, Spain’s sales sector is diversifying to survive.

One reason: the number of Spanish star-driven pics with high production values has plunged as average Spanish movie budgets dropped from $3.4 million in 2009 to $2.0 million in 2015.

Despite some exceptions, local films have followed the trend of foreign-language fare the world over and sell abroad at lower prices than 10 years ago. International buyers are becoming increasingly selective in foreign-language acquisitions and struggle ever more to open them theatrically.

“If distributors were already cautious, they are now still more,” says Vicente Canales at Film Factory Ent. “Buying a film, they need to see important theatrical elements in it to acquire it.”

International business is also polarizing. Per Canales, “There’s practically no middle ground: Either you make good sales on films with a theatrical opening or small sales for other release windows.”

Latido Films CEO Antonio Saura believes the international market is transforming. “Traditional windows such as theatrical and free-to-air TV still sustain the business, but the market reality is being altered by new players such as Netflix and Amazon, which are breaking the game rules,” he argues.

Both Film Factory and Latido are driving hard into Latin American movies, repositioning themselves as mainly Spanish-language movie sales agents.

Film Factory has handled some of Latin America’s biggest recent foreign-language pics: Damian Szifron’s box office breakout “Wild Tales” and Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan,” the 2015 Venice Silver Lion winner.

Latido launched in 2003 with a special focus on Latin America and Spain. Some of its sales standouts have been sourced from Latin America: Juan Jose Campanella’s Oscar winning Argentine-Spanish co-production “The Secret in Their Eyes” and Chilean Andres Wood’s Sundance winner “Violeta Went to Heaven.”

In recent years, Latido’s reaction to the market’s challenges has been to grow tentacles over Latin America, especially in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia and Mexico. Bolivia and Peru are seen as on-the-rise territories.

Because it also acquires Eastern European movies, Latido’s Cannes lineup has only one 100% Spanish film. It handles two Argentina-Spain co-productions — Rodrigo Grande’s upscale thriller “At the End of the Tunnel,” and Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn’s dramedy “The Distinguished Citizen” — plus two Mexican titles: Julio Hernandez Cordon’s skateboarder romance “I Promise You Anarchy” and Celso Garcia’s debut “The Thin Yellow Line.”

“Latin American films have a very important A-class festival presence, show great talent and boast very original stories,” Canales says.

Latido’s other option is consolidation. Sales agent Marina Fuentes has overseen the transition of Madrid-based outfit 6 Sales’ titles to the catalog of Simon Crowe’s London-based SC Films Intl. heading into Cannes, where sci-fi thriller “Winter’s Dream” and toon pic “Ozzy” premiere. She will now work exclusively as head of international sales and acquisitions at India’s Cinestaan Film Co.

“Concentration is happening in exhibition and distribution,” Fuentes says. “It’s happening at the studio level too, so it has to happen in the indie arena. Fewer sales agents need to exist or work much more efficiently to have a healthy industry.”

Although Barcelona-based Filmax Intl. is offering high-profile Spanish features such as Jaume Balaguero’s supernatural thriller “Muse” and Dani Rovira-starrer dramedy “100 Meters” at Cannes, the company has also diversified into the sale of higher-end TV dramas. The noir series “I Know Who You Are,” a Filmax-Mediaset España co-production, was well received at April’s MipDrama Screenings.

“From the perspective of a company that comes from film business, I now see more dynamism in the TV market, which reminds me of how the film market was eight or 10 years ago,” says Ivan Diaz, Filmax Intl. head.

That’s one reason why Geraldine Gonard, former managing director at sales house Imagina Intl. Sales, is focusing primarily on scripted TV with the launch of her own company, Inside Content. (Though she also brings the feature “The Night My Mother Killed My Father” to Cannes.)

“Scripted TV is a hugely active sector,” Gonard says. “It’s a great moment to be in the business.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'Talking About Trees' Helmer Suhaib Gasmelbari

    'Talking About Trees' Director Suhaib Gasmelbari Receives Variety MENA Award

    Suhaib Gasmelbari, whose Sudanese documentary “Talking About Trees” premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section, received the Variety Middle East and North Africa Region Talent Award Saturday at the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt from festival director Intishal Al Timimi. Variety critic Jay Weissberg, who selected the honoree, said that it is not usual that [...]

  • Josefina-Molina

    Josefina Molina: Still Battling After All These Years

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — She isn’t done yet. The battling character of Josefina Molina, winner of Spain’s 2019 National Cinematography Prize, was glimpsed in her acceptance speech at the San Sebastian Festival on Saturday. She used part to thank those who had given crucial help, such as, among women, editors Nieves Martin (1981’s “Función de Noche,” [...]

  • Suro

    Lastor, ‘The Endless Trench’s’ Irusoin, Malmo Team for Mikel Gurrea’s ‘Suro’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Barcelona-based Lastor Media and Malmo Pictures have teamed with San Sebastian’s Irusoin to produce “Suro” (The Cork), the feature debut of Mikel Gurrea and a product of San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak program. The film stars Laia Costa, who broke through with Sebastian Schipper’s “Victoria” and also serves as executive producer, and Pol López [...]

  • Ane

    Madrid’s ECAM Incubator Develops Terrorism Drama 'Ane'

    SAN SEBASTIAN — For the second year in a row, the ECAM Madrid Film School has paired a number of up-and-coming filmmakers with various industry veterans for an Incubator program part of the school broader development arm called The Screen. For its initial edition in 2018, this Incubator selected five feature projects, putting the selected [...]

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content