Ventana Sur opens in Argentina (Variety)

BUENOS AIRES -- Three films from Latin American new talent powerhouses -- Esmir Filho’s “The Famous and the Dead,” Pablo Stoll’s “Hiroshima” and Gerardo Tort’s “Round Trip” -- have been added to screenings at Ventana Sur, which opens biz Friday.

Produced by Sara Silveira’s Dezenove Films in Sao Paulo, “Famous,” Filho’s awaited teen-trauma tale and debut, took best picture and a Fipresci nod at Rio de Janeiro in October.

The latest pic from Fernando Epstein’s Control Z in Montevideo, “Hiroshima,” the first solo feature from Uruguay’s Stoll (“Whisky”), chronicles one day in a teen’s life.

Almost dialogueless until a finale outburst, “Hiroshima” world-preemed in Toronto’s Visions.

Produced by Mexico’s Jaime Romandia, using his new, more-mainstream shingle Cadereyta Films, “Round Trip,” a femme road movie from Tort (“Streeters”), won Guadalajara’s top Mexican prize in March.

The Cannes Festival’s first overseas mart, in a joint venture with Argentina’s Incaa Film Institute, and with substantial financing from the E.U.’s Media Program, Ventana Sur opens Thursday evening with high expectations and aflood with participants, celebrating a cocktail in Buenos Aires’ river-side Sheraton Hotel.

An hour later, Cannes delegate general Thierry Fremaux will open a European Film Week playing at a Cinemark plex in chic uptown Palermo.

Mart organizers -- the Cannes Marche and Incaa -- had expected 500-600 participants. Accreditations were running at 1,392 through Wednesday, said Incaa’s Bernardo Bergeret, who co-directs the mart with Cannes Marche’s Jerome Paillard.

A disembarkment of 200-plus foreign sales agents, distributors and TV acquisition execs has sparked a large influx from Latin America, principally from hometurf Argentina.

That may help spike regional sales, a problem in the past.

“Latin American films are -- in the main -- bought and distributed in Europe. Latin American markets, being smaller, don’t stir such interest,” said Incaa prexy Liliana Mazure.

“The problem of Latin America is one of a lack of communication. We have to support Ventana Sur and take advantage of the opportunities it offers,” said Argentine Juan Pablo Gugliotta, who will use Ventana Sur to move “Ardor,” the third film from Pablo Fendrik (“The Mugger,” “Blood Appears”).

“It’s the starting point for what may turn into a hub for Latin American producers and European, Asian and American buyers,” said Eduardo Costantini at Buenos Aires’ Costa Films.

It remains to be seen how many of the big Latin American players will roll into Ventana Sur for its first edition. Certainly, the opportunities it presents are large.

From Friday through Sunday, Ventana Sur screens 48 completed Latin American films, principally for foreign distributors, at Buenos Aires’ plush Cinemark Puerto Madero eight-plex, in the redeveloped old dock district.

Meanwhile, sales agents will be fishing further upstream, in film terms, viewing rough-cuts of 12 Latin American pics at a Primer Corte showcase, or huddling with Latin American producers on projects still in development.

According to Gugliotta, an average-budgeted Argentine film costs around $1.1 million. Argentina -- in a mix of subsidies and local revenues -- can account for 70% of a film’s budget. A distribution deal for France would cover 10%-15% of a film’s budget, half the financing gap.

For Ventana Sur to be effective and sustainable, “it needs a volume of business and to not just be a gathering for meetings,” said sales agent Guido Rud at Argentina’s FilmSharks Intl.

Deals have been struck in the run-up to the mart.

And the advantage of a French connection was clear Wednesday as Doc Buenos Aires, a three-day documentary forum, kicked off for the first time as a joint venture with France’s Sunny Side of the Doc.

Five docu productions were pitched before a packed audience to a team of commissioning editors imported by Sunny Side, including Arte France’s Michel Reilhac and Christilla Huillard-Kann, LPB/PBS’ Patricia Boero, Roberto Blatt at Spain’s Multicanal and Ritva Leino at Finland’s YLE Teema.

From editors reactions, at least two Latin American projects -- Fernando Perez’s “Cedron” and Juan Pablo Lattanzi’s “Desert” --- can hope for fast-track completion financing from abroad.

Ventana Sur runs Nov. 27-30.

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