Ibermedia hands coin to Latin pics (Variety)

BARCELONA — Two pics by Argentine helmers, Diego Lerman's "Moral Sciences" and Marcelo Pineyro's "Thursday's Widows," are among 26 co-productions that have pulled down incentives from Ibermedia.

The coin, in the form of non-returnable loans, was announced after an Ibermedia meeting in Santo Domingo. It reps the first of two funding rounds this year.

Lerman and Nicolas Avruj's Campo Cine are producing "Sciences," whose screenplay, freely based on a Martin Kohan novel, won a 2009 Sundance/NHK award. It turns on a classroom assistant at a boarding school whose takes discipline to the point of perversity.

"Thursday's Widows" is produced by Mariela Besuievsky and Gerardo Herrero's Madrid-based Tornasol Films. Recently acquired for Latin America by Hugo Kusnet's Alfa Films, the pitch black thriller-comedy is the film with the highest budget --$4.8 million -- presented in this round of Ibermedia funding.

Limited to $200,000 a pic, the fund's finance is crucial for often micro-budgeted pics coming out of Latin America.

Ibermedia's total 2009 funds stand at some $7.8 million; 68 projects were put forward in July's funding. The second rounds will include exhibition aid.

Among better-known projects, other recipients of co-pro aid are Julia Murat's "Pesso da massa, leveza po pao," produced by Brazil's Taiga Filmes, Juan Carlos Wessolossky's "La mujer del coronel," from Venezuela's A.C. Mestizo, and Victor Arregui's "El facilitador," from Ecuador's Otra Cosa Producciones.

Further recipients include Alejo Crisostomo's "Fe," Jaime Mario Osorio's "El Paramo" and Bolivian Fernando Martinez's docu feature "Por que me quebro McDonalds."

Projects put forward show a move, especially noticeable in Spanish pics, toward more mainstream ambitions. According to Elena Vilardell, Ibermedia's technical secretary, the org is hiking its emphasis on exhibition and a push for the region's pubcasters to screen Latin American films.

Ibermedia also announced a first list of films that will be screened by Latin American broadcasters backed by a $1.6 million fund, which has purchased free-to-air rights to the films for the region. Fund is co-financed by the pubcasters and public institutions. Films include Lucia Puenzo's "XXY," Carlos Sorin's "Minimal Stories," Hector Babenco's "Carandiru" and Juan Carlos Valdivia's "American Visa."

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