Magazine article Screen International

Argentina Focus: How Patagonik Drove Record Admissions in 2016

Magazine article Screen International

Argentina Focus: How Patagonik Drove Record Admissions in 2016

Article excerpt

Production powerhouse Patagonik played a muscular role in driving admissions to record levels in the first half of 2016 and delivered the biggest local hit of the year in I Married A Dumbass (Me Casé Con Un Boludo).

Yet artistic director Juan Vera, a genial man who straddles commerce and creativity as one of two managing partners, is not one for resting on his laurels.

Vera knows Patagonik's reputation as Argentina's biggest producer, and the years of success that has brought - with such films as 2 + 2 (Dos Mas Dos), Vulture (Carancho) and A Boyfriend For My Wife (Un Novio Para Mi Mujer) - cannot distract from the mission of continued improvement.

Last year, I Married A Dumbass became the eighth biggest local release ever on 2 million admissions, topping the Argentinian charts and ranking fourth overall ahead of Hollywood blockbusters Captain America: Civil War, Zootopia and Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

Since producer Pablo Bossi launched Patagonik in 1994, fittingly enough with Alan Parker's Evita, the company has produced or co-produced around 70 films and aims to fully develop and produce at least two a year.

"We try to mix it up," says Vera, whose screenwriting credits include 2 + 2 and Just Like Me (Igualita A Mi). "I love all kinds of movies, so long as they're well done. We've worked with Pablo Trapero [Vulture] and Lucrecia Martel and are in development on a project with Diego Lerman."

Among a 2017 roster that includes pre-summer release Mama Se Fue De Viaje from Ariel Winograd, the director of Patagonik's hit No Kids (Sin Hijos), Patagonik is co-producing Martel's upcoming Zama with Rei Cine, Bananeira from Brazil and Spain's El Deseo.

In post-production now, it promises to be a sumptuous period drama and would seem a good fit for Cannes. Pushed to describe how it is turning out, Vera smiles: "It's Lucrecia Martel but in another world."

REINVENTING THE REEL

Patagonik is also in the remakes business, working closely with Guido Rud's Buenos Aires-based FilmSharks, the company's sales agent of choice, on such films as A Boyfriend For My Wife, which has spawned local versions in South Korea, Brazil, Chile and Italy.

Vera moved over from Polka Cine, where he had been running the film division and producing shows for HBO, when Bossi moved on from Patagonik about a decade ago.

"In 2006, the owners of the company called me and we started with new management, with Juan Pablo Galli and Alejandro Cacetta," Vera recalls. …

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