Magazine article Variety

Priming Pics in Latin America

Magazine article Variety

Priming Pics in Latin America

Article excerpt

In Latin America, the combination of muscular government funding, the boom in pay TV households and ironically, lack of stars, is pushing regional filmmakers to try more genres and create original visions. Indeed, Latinos have directed five of the No. 1 movies at the U.S. box office in the past year, including Argentina's Andres Muschietti ("Mama"), Uruguay's Fede Alvarez ("Evil Dead") and, of course, Mexico's Alfonso Cuaron ("Gravity").

This year, BAL, Bafici's industry initiative, will again showcase Latin American films in post in its Works in Progress competish. About half will travel to Cannes for Buenos Aires Lab Goes to Cannes, co-organized with the Cannes Market, per BAL co-director Violeta Bava.

But, teaming with Chile's Valdivia Fest Australab and Rotterdam's CineMart, it will launch another initiative, TVes Puertos Cine, which attempts to prime the projects under its aegis.

Traditionally, development initiatives adopt a one-size-fits-all approach; the 12 projects selected for TVes Puertos, often in early development stages, will be "tailor-made for each film. So many workshops tell you what to do. We're doing it the other way around, asking filmmakers what they need," says BAL co-director Use Hughan.

The emphasis is on new or budding talent: Four projects, including "La Omisión," from Sebastian Schjaer, are first films. Six more are follow-ups to often notable debuts, such as "Movimiento elemental," from Benjamin Naishtat, whose "History of Fear" competed at Berlin; and "Retiro dos padres," from Leonardo Brzezicki, also from Argentina, whose "Night," competed at Rotterdam.

But Tres Puertos Cine mixes things up, in filmmakers and films. Two are from actresses-turned-directors: Chile's Manuela Martelli, who starred with Rutger Hauer in "The Future," brings "1976"; Maria Alche ("The Holy Girl"), who directed acclaimed short "Noelia," has family drama "Despedida. …

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