Ventana Sur, Latin America’s biggest film-TV market, is adding a video games forum, Las Maquinitas, to its powerful arthouse, genre and animation focuses.
Launching at this year’s Ventana Sur, which runs Nov. 29 to Dec. 3 onsite in Buenos Aires, the video game focus looks set to split two ways, Bernardo Bergeret, Ventana Sur co-executive director, said at the Cannes Marché du Film.
A Let’s Play team will walk delegates through the key steps in video game creation. In parallel, a conference panel series will analyze the reach and potential cross over between the film-TV industries and video game business.
“There are multiple and strong connections between video games and audiovisual industries,” Bergeret said. “Both need scriptwriters, animation, VFX, soundtracks, graphic concepts and art design.”
Ventana Sur aims to pinpoint these aspects, showing its attendees the similarities and differences – video games create a universe as much as linear narratives – between video games and a feature film or series, he added. The forum also sets out to illustrate the enormous gamut of games. “They’re not just entertainment, but can have educative functions as well,” Bergeret observed.
Conducted by specialist Sebastian Covacevich, the forum will be supervised by Jacinto Quesnel, national director of digital doctorate at Monterrey’s University of Technology and Blanca E. Lopez, head of program, game culture research and digital humanities, at the Autonomous Metropolitan University of Azcapotzalco.
The initiative marks the latest innovation at Ventana Sur, launched in 2009 as a joint initiative of the Cannes Festival and Marché du Film and Argentina’s National Film and Audiovisual Arts Institute (INCAA) to accelerate sales on Latin America films.
From its second edition, it began to attract thousands of young movie producers from all over Latin America, who saw in it an opportunity to co-produce with Europe, the U.S. and the rest of the region. That interest has sparked the launch of Proyecta, a feature film co-production pitching event co-organized with the San Sebastián Festival.
The new initiative also comes as platforms look ever more to adapt established IP: One in four new scripted TV series are adaptations, for example. But the source of inspiration is changing. Twenty-four percent of all new scripted TV adaptations were derived from comic, manga, podcast, stage shows and game, fourth quarter 2018. That percentage has risen to 34% fourth quarter, 2020, according to Ampere Analysis, a data, research and analytics firm.
Total spend on games was $168 billion in 2020, said George Jijiashvili, principal analyst at Omdia, a technology research and consulting firm.
Video games adaptations no longer represent a cursed source of IP for the industry.
Blood Window, Ventana Sur’s platform for sci-fi and fantasy movies, has held a seven-title Latin American genre showcase at Cannes Marché du Film.
In early July, in another new initiative, Ventana Sur and Brazilian philanthropic org Projeto Paradiso unveiled a Paradiso WIP Award for the best Brazilian feature in post-production at Ventana Sur. The aim is to help the multiple Brazilian productions which are stuck in post-production hell in Brazil.
Ventana Sur will take place after vaccination programs should have at last made some impact across Latin America. “The governor has projected that 100% of São Paulo adults will have had their first vaccination shot by mid-September,” Luiz Toledo, director of investments and strategic partnerships for film-TV agency at São Paulo City film-TV agency Spcine told Variety just before Cannes, as it launched Brazil’s first ever rebate program for international and Brazilian shoots.
One major talking point looks inevitably to be how producers can establish viable financial models to make movies after key government funding has been decimated by a government that is hostile to film in Brazil or a slump in federal film agency funding, sourced from theatrical box office and TV ad revenues, in government film friendly Argentina.
Las Maquinitas, a coinage of INCAA president Luis Puenzo, is an endearing phrase used by parents to refer to video games when they first appeared on the scene, capturing the imagination of a young generation that are now key economic consumption drivers.