Uruguay’s Mutante Cine, one of the key arthouse producers in Latin America, is launching a full-on distribution operation as it tests the waters with international sales.
Founded in 2011 by Agustina Chiarino and Fernando Epstein, the producers behind such notable pics as “25 Watts,” “Whisky,” “La Perrera,” “Acné,” “Tanta Agua” and Adrian Biniez’s 2009 Berlinale Jury Grand Prix winner “Gigante,” Mutante Cine is launching a distribution arm with up to six films this year, Chiarino said in San Sebastián.
“We’ll kickstart our sales operations with Biniez’s ‘Las Olas’ and a documentary we’re producing,” said Chiarino. The surreal “Las Olas” pivots on Alfonso, a Montevideo messenger in his mid-thirties who is transported to memories of past summers of his youth when he dives into the sea.
The high-concept drama participated in San Sebastian’s Films in Progress program in 2016, and is competing at the festival’s Horizontes Latinos sidebar this year.
The company is looking to hire an executive in Uruguay to run the newly-dubbed Mutante Distribucion. Its first local release a month ago was a French film entirely shot in Uruguay, “Une Vie Ailleurs” by Olivier Peyon, in which Mutante is an associate producer.
“We’ve distributed most of our own films but this is the first time we’re releasing one that’s not produced by us,” said Chiarino. “This was a good dry run and we’ll be releasing five more, which is a lot,” she added.
Mutante’s release slate includes: “Las Olas,” docu “Locura al Aire” by Alicia Cano and Leticia Cuba about a radio station run by former patients of a psychiatric ward, co-produced with Mexico’s Inti Cordera of La Maroma Prods.; “Benzinho” by Gustavo Pizzi, a co-production with Brazil’s Tatiana Leite and TV Zero; Alejandro Landes’ “Monos” and Paraguayan drama “Las Herederas” by Marcelo Martinessi, which is produced by Sebastian Peña Escobar. “This last one my partner Fernando Epstein is editing in Uruguay,” said Chiarino.
Next month, Leticia Jorge (co-director of “Tanta Agua”) shoots her second film, “Aleli,” a Mutante Cine co-production with Argentina’s Rei Cine, which examines the unraveling of a family through the passage of time.
“In about two, three years, we’d like to have firmly established a sales and distribution arm,” said Chiarino. “We’re also adding a production service department with a new partner to provide services to international location shoots in Uruguay,” she added.
Mutante Cine has also been co-running the Puente workshop, in partnership with the European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE), a mentorship program open to feature-length fiction and non-fiction projects in development or in post, with the fifth edition slated to be held over Nov. 20-27 in Montevideo.