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Oscars 2018: Guillermo Del Toro (‘The Shape of Water’) would make history as 4th Latin American writer to win Original Screenplay

Oscars 2018: Guillermo Del Toro (‘The Shape of Water’) would make history as 4th Latin American writer to win Original Screenplay
Guillermo Del Toro is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (with co-writer Vanessa Taylor) for the fantastical love story “The Shape of Water.” Should Del Toro win for his screenplay he would make history as only the fourth Latin American writer to win an Oscar.

Argentinian scribes Aida Bortnik and Luis Puenzo made history as the first Latin Americans to land a writing nomination when they contended for Best Original Screenplay for “The Official Story” (1985). It would take 17 years before there would be more Latin American nominees: Mexican siblings Alfonso Cuaron and Carlos Cuaron were up for Original Screenplay for “Y Tu Mama Tambien” (2002).

Del Toro received his first Oscar nom for Original Screenplay for “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006), competing against fellow Mexican writer Guillermo Arriaga for “Babel.” But Del Toro’s friend and fellow countryman Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu would beat him to the punch when it came to winning.
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Ventana Sur: Media Luna Picks Up Puenzo’s ‘The Unseen,’ Quintero’s ‘Angela’ (Exclusive)

In the run up to Buenos Aires’ Ventana Sur, Cologne-based Media Luna New Films has picked up international sales rights to two features by up- and-coming directors: Nicolás Puenzo’s “Los últimos” (The Unseen) and Agamenon Quintero’s “Angela.”

Social issue thriller “The Unseen” tells the story of a couple, a pregnant Quechua girl and her creole partner, trekking in a desperate state across the Bolivian Highlands, now a post-apocalyptic wasteland devoid of natural resources and ruled by a bloody militia, in an attempt to reach the Pacific Ocean, where they hope a safe haven awaits them.

The film marks the helming feature debut of Nicolás Puenzo, son of veteran Argentine filmmaker Luis Puenzo, after many years working as a cinematographer or producer on projects such as “Cromo” and “The German Doctor”, both collaborations with his sister, the director Lucía Puenzo. In “Cromo,” a 12-episode TV drama currently streaming in Netflix, Nicolás Puenzo also co-directed.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Violeta’ Director Andres Wood, Guillermo Calderon Team for ‘Araña’ (Exclusive)

Buenos Aires — Andres Wood, director of Sundance winner “Violeta Went to Heaven,” is teaming with Guillermo Calderón, co-writer of Pablo Larrain’s “The Club” and writer of his “Neruda,” to create “Araña,” a political thriller that explores the roots of a new nationalism now threatening the world.

Produced by Alejandra Garcia at Santiago de Chile’s Wood Producciones, “Araña” also sets out to join a burgeoning and distinguished breed of powerful Latin American cross-over movies which combine mainstream tropes and wider audience and artistic ambitions, amped-up budgets, multiple partner co-production structures, and often star presence. Think “Wild Tales” and “The Clan” and indeed, “Neruda” and now Santiago Mitre’s” The Summit.”

With a Wood-Calderon screenplay near to completion, “Araña” is fruit of a reflection about what really merits being brought to the big screen in a contemporary context of multimedia contents, Garcia said.

Departing from true events, “Araña” joins the
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Tom Espinoza Unveils ‘Harpoon,’ Readies Disney-Inspired ‘You Won’t Grow Up’

Tom Espinoza Unveils ‘Harpoon,’ Readies Disney-Inspired ‘You Won’t Grow Up’
Unveiling a rough-cut of his buzzed-up feature debut “Arpón” (Harpoon) at Ventana Sur, Caracas-born Tom Espinoza is developing his second directorial outing, “No crecerás” (“You Won’t Grow Up”), about the makings of a tween TV star. Espinoza is also working on “Corruption,” a TV series to be co-produced between U.S. and Venezuela’s companies.

“You Won’t Grow Up” turns on how the channel broadcasting the young star’s show deprives her of her sexual awakening. “It will be based on my five years working for Disney,” Espinoza said.

Looking forward, the cinema the Argentina-based director would like to make would combine “dark humor, cynicism and beauty as key story points,” according to Espinoza.

Some of that can be seen in “Harpoon,” the story of a high-school principal, Germán Arguello, who is slowly going off the rails, and his confrontational relationship with Cata, a 14-year-old student whom the
See full article at Variety - Film News »

FilmSharks Intl. Acquires World Sales Rights to ‘7 Cajas’ Follow-Up ‘Los Buscadores’ (Exclusive)

FilmSharks Intl. Acquires World Sales Rights to ‘7 Cajas’ Follow-Up ‘Los Buscadores’ (Exclusive)
Buenos Aires — In the first deal to go down at Ventana Sur, FilmSharks Intl. has secured world sales rights to adventure thriller “Los Buscadores,” Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori’s follow-up to 2012’s box office, sales and festival breakout hit, action thriller “7 Cajas” which Breaking Glass Pictures picked up for the U.S., among multiple deals cut around the world.

Producers Maneglia-Schembori Producciones have also made available a first image from “Los Buscadores” (pictured).

Made on three-times the budget of ‘7 Cajas,’ incorporating more comedy and thriller elements but, said Schembori, the same spirit, “Los Buscadores” turns on a 21-year-old newspaper boy, Manu, who accidentally happens upon a map and old photo in a book given him by his grandfather, a former treasure hunter of “Plata Yvyguy,” gold and jewels buried by families in Paraguay’s 1864-70 War of the Triple Alliance and never retrieved as they fled the country.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Nicolas and Luis Puenzo, Juana Burga on ‘The Unseen’

Nicolas and Luis Puenzo, Juana Burga on ‘The Unseen’
Buenos Aires — Somewhere on a high Andes plateau, a pregnant Quechua girl’s father dies. She determines to leave with her young husband. So begins an odyssey which takes the couple across a benighted landscape, as dry as the moon, a Bolivia Altiplano laid waste by industrial exploitation and bloody militia, heading to Chile and the sea. They meet Ruiz, a 50-year-old, war-scarred photographer who seeks to save them from the war zone, salvaging what remains of his humanity. Written by Nicolas and Lucia Puenzo, and helmed by Nicolas, a co-director of TV series “Cromo,” survival thriller “Los Ultimos” (The Unseen) is set in a future which seems ever more part of the present. Luis, Lucia, Esteban and Nicolas Puenzo produce; Lucero Garzon associate produces. Sneak peeked at Los Cabos,”The Unseen” now plays at Ventana Sur’s Primer Corte pix-in-post showcase, curated by Cannes Cinefondation’s Georges Goldenstern. Variety
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Ventana Sur: Meikincine Grabs Worldwide Sales Rights to Peruvian Dramedy ‘Seven Seeds’

Buenos Aires — Lucia Meik’s Buenos Aires-based sales boutique Meikincine Entertainment has picked up worldwide sales rights outside Peru to Daniel Rodriguez Risco’s Peruvian hit “Siete semillas” (“Seven Seeds”).

The film makes its international market debut at Ventana Sur, where Meikincine offers on Nov. 30, a private screening for buyers and festivals programmers.

Alongside the film producers, Meikincine is also handling “Seven Seeds” worldwide remake rights, Meik told Variety.

Meikincine is already in talks with several Hollywood studios on regional distribution deals, she added.

“Seven Seeds” marks the second feature from Daniel Rodriguez Risco which is distributed by Meikincine for the international market, after 2014 thriller “Vientre,” acquired by HBO and Somos TV in the U.S. and Fox in Latin America, among other territories.

One of Peruvian cinema’s biggest hits this year, “Seven Seeds” toplines Peru’s Carlos Alcantara (“Asu Mare!”) and Gianella Neyra (“Locos de amor”) and Spain’s Javier Camara (“Truman,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Puenzos Power Up ‘Argenshow,’ Animation Hybrid ‘Last Wish,’ New TV Dramas, as ‘Unseen’ Bows at Ventana Sur (Exclusive)

Puenzos Power Up ‘Argenshow,’ Animation Hybrid ‘Last Wish,’ New TV Dramas, as ‘Unseen’ Bows at Ventana Sur (Exclusive)
Buenos Aires — Historias Cinematograficas, the family production house boasting the talents of Academy Award winning Luis Puenzo (“The Official Story,” “Old Gringo”) and Lucia Puenzo (“Xxy,” “The German Doctor), plus Nicolas and Esteban Puenzo, has set a 2016-17 production-development slate which must rank as one of the largest of any independent family business in Latin America.

Confirmed in the run-up to Ventana Sur, and presented a few weeks back behind closed doors at Los Cabos, the line-up is bulking, heterogenous, and ambitious. It also represents the latest projects from one of the few companies in Argentina capable of making films which gross seven-figure box office outside Argentina.

Slate takes in Lucia Puenzo’s French-language debut “Bluebeard,” brothers Esteban and Nicolas Puenzo’s feature debuts, two movie projects from Luis Puenzo – one a animated-live action feature, another a historical epic – and two potentially notable TV drama series.

However ranging, the slate
See full article at Variety - Film News »

International Industry Elite Heads for Los Cabos (Exclusive)

International Industry Elite Heads for Los Cabos (Exclusive)
CAA’s Micah Green and Roeg Sutherland, Im Global’s Stuart Ford and Wild Bunch-InsidersVincent Maraval and, straddling the Mexico-Los Angeles axis, Fabrica de Cine’s Gaston Pavlovich and Ag Studios’ Alex Garcia, are all confirmed for the inaugural Los Cabos Festival Meet-Mart, the Mexican festival’s first official market.

Bloom’s Alex Walton, Good Universe’s Helen Lee-Kim, Imr International’s Kimberly Fox, Gaumont’s Cecile Gaget and Voltage’s Nicolas Chartier are also firmed up, among sales agents. Of digital platforms, Netflix’s Matt Brodlie and Amazon StudiosMichael Chong will also roll into Los Cabos.

Running Nov. 9-13 and also hosting the inaugural Los Cabos Film Investor Summit, produced by Winston Baker, the 5th Los Cabos Intl. Film Festival looks to have come of age in 2016.

It welcomes, all in, about 400 market delegates, up from about 300 in 2016. “It is a historic year for us.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Lumiere Fest’s 2016 Classic Film Market Hikes Attendance, Panels, Practical, Marketing Focus

France’s Grand Lyon Lumière Festival, one of the most prominent of the world’s classic films festival, is finalizing its 2016 industry agenda, introducing multiple innovations at its fast expanding Classic Film Market as it seeks to grow the heritage movie biz in and outside France.

In one, a guest of honour, Nicolas Seydoux, president of Gaumont, will lead an inaugural Symposium, which makes a pioneer attempt to establish elementary figures for classic film markets around the world.

The Classic Film Market runs Oct. 12-14 in Lyon. Launched in 2013, it saw attendance climb last year a robust 31% vs. 2014, though from a niche base. Industry participation was tracking 23% up at 284 participants for the 2016 Market by late last week, compared to a final figure of 213 for last year, said Gerald Duchaussoy, Mfc projects manager.

Of innovations, Lumière’s 4th Classic Film Market is increasing its number of panels, stranded into a series of Practical Round Tables,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Argentina Chooses ‘The Distinguished Citizen’ as Its Foreign-Language Oscar Entry

Argentina Chooses ‘The Distinguished Citizen’ as Its Foreign-Language Oscar Entry
Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn’s “El ciudadano ilustre” (The Distinguished Citizen), a Venice Festival best actor winner, will represent Argentina as its foreign-language Academy Award entry.

A dramedy which builds into a finally swinging put-down of small-town provincialism, “The Distinguished Citizen” has several things going for it: It won Oscar Martinez a Volpi Cup best actor award at the Venice Film Festival. Drawing a long applause at its audience screening in Venice, it garnered generally positive reviews at the Italian festival as an arthouse crowdpleaser. Distributed by Disney in Argentina, “The Distinguished Citizen” earned €1.25 million ($1.4 million) in box office after two weekends at the Argentine box office.

“The Distinguished Citizen” was chosen by Argentina’s Academy, whose president, Juan Jose Campanella, was Argentina’s last foreign-language Academy Award winner, for “The Secret in Their Eyes,” which won in 2009.

In the film, Martinez plays an Argentine Nobel Prize winning writer
See full article at Variety - Film News »

On Mubi Off #5: "The Official Story" & "Spotlight"

  • MUBI
On Mubi Off is a column exploring two films: one currently available on Mubi in the United States, and the other screening offsite (in theaters, on VOD, Blu-ray/DVD, etc).On MUBIThe Official Story (Luis Puenzo, 1985)My instinct to stand, whenever possible, slightly outside the zeitgeist leads me to look askew at things like the Academy Awards. To my mind, they're a good excuse to have a party (heavily attended, so I can pay that much less attention to the ceremony itself), though I realize they have a certain fleeting cachet that can boost the prospects of a film or a career. As a metric of quality, however, they're about as worthless as any mass-consensus accolade. I love Oscar-feted films like The Silence of the Lambs and Schindler's List—to name two stopped-clock cases where AMPAS's tastes corresponded to my own—despite and not because of the number of nude
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Berlin: Lucia Puenzo Preps French-Language Drama ‘Barbe Bleue’ (Exclusive)

Berlin: Lucia Puenzo Preps French-Language Drama ‘Barbe Bleue’ (Exclusive)
Argentina’s Lucia Puenzo, one of Latin America’s most notable distaff directors, will make her French-language helming debut with “Barbe Bleue.” Pic is inspired by Amelie Nothomb’s 2012 novel and set in a modern-day Paris.

Written by Puenzo and Sergio Bizzi, “Barbe Bleue” is produced by Luis and Lucia Puenzo at Argentina’s Historias Cinematograficas, and Francis Boespflug and Stephane Parthenay at Paris-based Pyramide Prods.

Barbe Bleue” centers on the growing attraction of Severine, who restores paintings at the Louvre, with Elemerio, who rents her a suspiciously cheap room in a luxurious Paris mansion. She falls under his spell when he offers her the chance to restore Waterhouse’s “Hylas and the Nymphs,” which he’s stolen. They become lovers, but she also investigates, “like a detective in her own horror film,” per Luis Puenzo, the fates of other young women who once lived in the mansion.

“I want
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Ventana Sur: ‘Swamp,’ ‘Hairdresser,’ ‘Sangre,’ ‘Spider Thieves’ Divvy Up Primer Corte Awards

Ventana Sur: ‘Swamp,’ ‘Hairdresser,’ ‘Sangre,’ ‘Spider Thieves’ Divvy Up Primer Corte Awards
Buenos Aires – For the first time, four titles – “The Romantic Hairdresser,” “The Swamp: Between Sea and Land,” “Sangre en la Boca” and “Spider Thieves” – pretty well shared top honors equally at Ventana Sur’s 7th Primer Corte, its pix-in-post competition and key industry draw.

The spread reflected both a hike in Primer Corte’s kudos count as a multiplicity of companies seek association with the prestigious showcase, curated by Cannes Cinefondation’s Georges Goldenstern, plus the highly disparate qualities of this year’s competing titles.

Centering on a mother-son relationship, from when the son, who suffers Dystonia – sustained muscle contractions –– is three-years-old through to 28, “The Swamp, Between Sea and Land,” Colombian Manolo Cruz’s first feature, added to Sundance World Cinema selection, announced Wednesday, scooping the European Vision Prize, one of the biggest plaudits of the night, which takes in a Cine Plus/Club: Cine Plus Award of €15,000 ($16,350) to the French distrubutor of “Swamp,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Ventana Sur: Puenzos, Demente Back Guillermo Helo’s Film Debut (Exclusive)

Chilean companies Altirosapiens and Demente Producciones are teaming with Argentina’s Historias Cinematograficas, the shingle run by the Puenzo family, to co-produce social comedy “Spider Thieves,” the feature directorial debut of Chile’s Guillermo Helo.

Preceded by good buzz, “Spider Thieves” screens Dec. 1 at Ventana Sur’s 7th Primer Corte pix-in-post competition, which takes place Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in Buenos Aires.

The humor-laced “Thieves” follows three dirt-poor adolescent girls who dream of having the material wealth they see in TV commercials. To fulfill their dreams, they decide to climb buildings and plunder expensive apartments. They become media celebs, heroines for some.

The film is based on real events that happened in 2005, in Santiago, which inspired playwright Luis Barrales to write the play “Spider Girls,” from which the script is adapted.

“The issue of criminals who become media ‘stars’ has been addressed many times in cinema. What makes this story different it is that they are girls.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Ventana Sur: Buzz, More Growth, Headwinds

Ventana Sur: Buzz, More Growth, Headwinds
Buenos Aires — Galvanized by Latin America’s ever larger film ambitions and its extraordinary 2015 big fest success, the 7th Ventana Sur unspools Nov. 30 through Dec. 4 now firmly established as Latin America’s biggest and most must-attend mart-meet for business in the region.

These days that counts. Once, in the 1990s, Asia was the go-to region for the hottest movies on the world cinema scene. By common consensus among big festheads, Latin America has largely inherited that mantle.

Fest juries seem to agree as well. In 2015, Latin American cinema swept two of Berlin’s top three prizes – with Pablo Larrain’s “The Club” and Jayro Bustamante’s “Ixacanul” – two of Cannes main four sections and a Camera d’Or, thanks to Ciro Guerra’s “The Embrace of the Serpent,” which topped Directors’ Fortnight, Santiago Mitre’s Critics’ Week winner “Paulina” and Cesar Acevedo’s “Land and Shade.” Capping off an annus mirabilis,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cabos TV: Puenzos, Fendrik Re-team on Miniseries ‘Viaje al unico’

Cabos TV: Puenzos, Fendrik Re-team on Miniseries ‘Viaje al unico’
Brothers Lucia and Nicolas Puenzo, and Pablo Fendrik, the Argentine helming trio behind Pyramide-sold feature/TV miniseries “Cromo,” is teaming again to co-direct sci-fi miniseries project “Viaje al unico.”

Set up at Buenos Aires-based production house Historias Cinematograficas, run by the Puenzo family, “Viaje al unico” marks directors’ TV follow-up to “Cromo,” which received its Latin American premiere Nov. 13 in a special screening at Los Cabos Intl. Film Festival’s new section, Cabos TV.

Paris-based independent producer Lucero Garzon is also attached to produce “Viaje al unico.” “Cromo” editor Misael Bustos will co-direct the series.

Structured as a 40-minute 12-episode TV series, the plot kicks-off when a space probe discovers oxygen and great possibilities of intelligent life on a planet 150-year trip. Then, a group of elite scientists propose to bring in an exact replica of a space ship six children of diferent races, three men and three women, whitout
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Los Cabos: Nicolas Puenzo Debuts With a Futuristic Western Pic (Exclusive)

Los Cabos: Nicolas Puenzo Debuts With a Futuristic Western Pic (Exclusive)
Historias Cinematograficas, the Buenos Aires-based company run by the Puenzo family, is teaming with France’s Pyramide Productions and Chile’s Demente Films on futuristic Western project “Los ultimos,” which marks Nicolas Puenzo’s feature helming debut.

Selected as part of the Cabos Discovery co-production forum, the project is produced by Nicolas and his sister Lucia Puenzo at Historias Cinematograficas, plus Pyramide’s Francis Boefsplug and Stephane Parthenay. Lucero Garzon also produces for Pyramide, in the capacity of an independent producer.

Now in pre-production, “Los ultimos” is scheduled to shoot in February and March in Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.

Set in South America’s Altiplano desert in a not-too-distant future, “Los ultimos” revolves around a 19-year old pregnant Quechua girl and her 24-year old Creole partner, the baby’s father, who survive in a refugee camp during a water and minerals war.

Looking for a better life, the couple will
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Toronto: Miami Fest, Related Group Team on New Argentina Fund (Exclusive)

Toronto: Miami Fest, Related Group Team on New Argentina Fund (Exclusive)
As Argentina drives much of Toronto’s early breaking news from Latin America – sales on Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan” and Cesc Gay’s Ricardo Darin starrer “Truman”; a new Lucia Puenzo movie, “Cromo” – the Miami Dade College Miami Int. Film Festival is teaming with The Related Group to launch a new Argentine film fund.

Titled Miami Film 2016, the grant program will award a total $32,500, divided into three cash prizes, to a trio of Argentine film projects in development. These should be helmed by Argentine directors will at least one prior internationally distributed feature film credit. Awards will be made on the basis of project quality and production feasibility. The three winners will be invited to the 33rd Miami Fest, running March 4-13, to receive the award and a retrospective screening of their earlier feature films.

In a novel initiative which will move the program onto the Latin American stage,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Toronto: Pyramide, Puenzos, Fendrik Launch ‘Cromo’

Flagging a prime new Latin America movie launching onto the international market at Toronto, Pyramide, one of Europe’s premier arthouse companies, has closed France and international distribution rights on “Cromo,” a new and pioneering production directed by Argentina’s Lucia and Nicolas Puenzo and Pablo Fendrik.

“Cromo” has large interest in itself: It is the first full thriller from Lucia Puenzo, with compatriot Lucrecia Martel the best known of distaff helmers in Latin America.

“Cromo” also employs a mixed feature/TV model – the feature takes in the full narrative arc of series episodes 1,2 and 8 – that, if successful, could help establish a new alternative mixed financing/ revenue model for Latin American fiction for both movies and TV.

Set up at Historias Cinematográficas, the Buenos Aires production house created by Oscar-nominated Luis Puenzo (“The Official Story”), and produced by Lucia and Nicolas Puenzo, “Cromo” is billed as a timely eco-thriller about a an idealistic scientist,
See full article at Variety - Film News »
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