A group of indie theatrical distributors and exhibitors from across Latin America and the Caribbean have banded together to form a new alliance, Aldea, in a bid to address the inadequate exchange of Latino feature films across the region.
The new alliance comes after its members convened at the Cartagena Int’l Film Festival in March and officially launches at the 21st Lima Film Festival in Peru, which runs August 4-12. As part of the first phase of this initiative, Aldea members have each selected a film to represent their respective countries in a new sidebar – Aldea Presents – at a selection of festivals in Latin America, starting with Lima, Santander (Colombia), Vina del Mar (Chile), the Festival Fine Arts Santo Domingo & Puerto Rico, Emerging Talents (Mexico), Sao Paolo (Brazil), Mar del Plata (Argentina), Havana (Cuba) and Cartagena (Colombia). More festivals may join the initiative.
Aldea members are comprised of Aura Films (Patricia Primon, Argentina), Esfera Films (Ana Luiza Beraba, Brazil), Salamandra Cine (Francisco Schuler, Chile), Cineplex (Elba McAllister, Colombia), Romaly (Luis Carcheri, Costa Rica), Ocho y Medio (Mariana Andrade, Ecuador), Circo 2.12 (Paula Astorga, Mexico) and Caribbean Cinemas (Zumaya Cordero, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico).
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Costa Rica’s Romaly, Ecuador’s Ocho y Medio and Caribbean Cinemas are also exhibitors.
“We’ll start with festival presentations then we’ll consider a rollout in theaters for the proven popular titles, hopefully with the help of Ibermedia for P & A,” said Cineplex’s McAllister. The titles for this first round include: Chile’s “Sin Norte” by Fernando Lavandero, “Los Años Azules” and “Tormentero” from Mexico, Ana Cristina Barragan’s “Alba” and “Un Secreto en la Caja” from Ecuador, Colombia’s “Keyla” by Viviana Gomez and “Samba” by Israel Cardenas and Laura Amelia Guzman of the Dominican Republic.
“There’s been a lack of interest and some prejudice against Latino films region-wide as they were deemed perhaps too boring, too political or badly made but they have since evolved, and many possess the same production values as an American film,” said Schuler whose fledgling company, Salamandra Cine, launched in August 2016 with the mandate to focus on the distribution of Latino films although it will start acquiring some indie pics from Europe and the U.S. next year.
Digital technology advances have also made it easier and less prohibitive to distribute films in the region. Aldea’s mandate is not only to contribute to the development of Latin America’s film industry but to foment and promote each country’s culture across the region.