France’s Urban Distribution International (UDI) will produce and sell Javier Fuentes-León’s The Vanished Elephant, a standout at San Sebastian’s 1st Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum.
Reteaming Peru’s El Calvo Films and Colombia’s Dynamo Prods., Elephant is Fuentes-León’s follow-up to debut Undertow, a Sundance 2010 Audience Award winner.
Urban Factory, UDI’s Paris-based production house, will now co-produce Elephant,
a Lima-set “psychological thriller with film noir touches,” as Fuentes-León defined it at the Forum. UDI will handle worldwide sales rights outside producers’ territories.
“We are attracted by Javier Fuentes-León’s talent; the films is like L.A. Confidential shot in Lima,” said UDI’s Eric Schnedecker.
“The Vanished Elephant takes film noir characteristics, a genre all cinephiles love - the sharp dialogues, the lonely antihero, the femme fatale, the chiaroscuro lighting, the fog - to a bustling city like Lima,” agreed Dynamo’s Michel Ruben.
Fuentes-León aims to shoot Elephant summer 2013 in Lima, during its foggy grey winter.
Elephant’s UDI pact was one of multiple deals announced, clinched or in the making at a 60th San Sebastian Festival which saw the event, already the biggest in the Spanish-speaking world, step up a significant notch in industry presence.
“We sensed as soon as we arrived at San Sebastian that a lot more buyers were there: Not just Latinos, and the Spanish and French industry but from other territories as well,” said Vincent Maraval at Wild Bunch, which had four films in Competition.
“For Wild Bunch, the ideal option is [to show films at] Toronto then San Sebastian,” Maraval added.
Maraval highlighted “the very good selection, the organization, the good buzz on San Sebastian, the good food, the quality of relationships,” as reasons for more industry presence.
Also, buyers can access potential breakouts. Rezo, for instance, acquired from Gallic co-producer Noodles French distribution rights to Pablo Berger’s b/w silent cinema homage and Snow White riff, Blancanieves, a Toronto hit, Spanish Oscar entry and San Sebastian competition fave.
A Paris screening Friday to press and exhibitors was “triumphant,” Rezo’s Laurent Danielou told Variety.
Blancanieves sales agent Dreamcatchers was on Friday “closing the U.S. distribution as we speak, with many distribution companies in the running, plus Germany, U.K. Japan and Italy,” said topper Marina Fuentes.
Films in Progress winners – Chilean Sebastián Lelio’s comedy Gloria, and Uruguayan family drama Too Much Water, from Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge, will also see sales traction.
Prominent European sales agents were literally queuing to make a play for Gloria at FIP’s prize ceremony Wednesday night.
On Water, producer Control Z is negotiating with several sales agents and has received distribution offers, “including from a significant territory,” producer Agustina Chiarino said Friday. Lap TV acquired all Latin American pay TV rights outside Brazil just before San
Beyond a second Dynamo title -Carlos Moreno’s On With the Music! - buzzed-up projects at San Sebastian’s two-day Co-production Forum, which closed Friday, included a trio from talented Argentine distaff helmers: Ana Katz (My Park Friend), Victoria Galardi (I Thought It Was a Party) and Anahi Berneri (Open Air).
On three other well-received projects, Spanish pubcaster RTVE has prebought TV rights to Alejo Flah’s Easy Sex & Sad Movies; Mexico’s Arte Mecánica will co-produce Cuba-set mutant monster movie Claria, producer Luis Angel Ramírez’s directorial debut, and Thierry
Lenouvel’s Paris-based Ciné Sud Promotion, an untiring co-producer with Latin America, will co-produce Nicolas Pereda’s family drama-cum-road movie The Day Horses Cried.
Ramírez (with Claria), Ruben (for Elephant), Mikel Pruano (Pietà) and José Nolla (Easy Sex) have been invited by Ventana Sur to pitch their projects at the Latin America film mart.
Two first feature projects provoked lively post-pitch discussions: Guatemalan Jayro Bustamante’s Maja Zimmermann-produced El escuadrón de la muerte, a village-set dark comedy, and Bolivian Arancibia Flores’ hilariously dysfunctional Poorly Fucked.
The Co-production Forum goosed San Sebastian’s industry presence, and drew praise.
“Films in Progress has been an industry meeting point for many years,” said M-Appeal’s Maren Kroymann.
“But Co-production Forum projects range far wider from radical art-house to more commercial with cast, attracting a wider selection of producers, sales agents and distributors,” she added.
For Wanda Films’ José María Morales, the Forum was “an interesting alternative highlighting one current Latin American production trend: Films which can do well at festivals and the box office.”
As ever, San Sebastian sparked a swathe of Spanish deals and announcements:
- Rogelio Delgado’s Cada Films has acquired Spanish distribution rights to Brazilian director-actor Selton Mello’s The Clown, Brazil’s Oscar entry, in a deal closed by David Castellanos’ Cinema Republic.
- Imagina Intl. Sales took international sales rights to Basque actors Patxo Tellería and Aitor Mazo’s romantic comedy Bypass, playing San Sebastian’s Zabaltegi Specials sidebar.
- At San Sebastian, Elena Manrique (Pan’s Labyrinth), a former Telecinco Cinema producer, unveiled new film-TV shingle Film Fatal. One early project is Delirio, a romcom co-produced with Colombia’s 64 A-Films, helmed by Spain’s Chus Gutiérrez (Return to Hansala). Teaming with Valencia’s Malvarrosa Media, Film Fatal is coproducing Manuel Romo’s En la casa, which Manrique described as Paranormal Activity meets Big Brother.