Ventana Sur’s Proyecta Ramps Up Projects from ‘Memoria,’ ‘90 Minutes,’ ‘The Cow Who Sang…’ Producers

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Aeden O’Connor’s “Sun Falls,” Manuela Martelli’s “The Meltdown” and Tomás Corredor’s “November” feature among 15 projects to be presented at Ventana Sur’s 5th Proyecta co-production forum, a wide-ranging showcase of emerging and already consolidated filmmakers plus new talents to track from Latin America and Europe.

Producer Ana Isabel Martins at Honduras’ Pulsar Cine is re-teaming with director Aeden O’Connor, whose feature debut “90 Minutes” won the Audience Award at the 37th Miami Film Festival. Their new project, “Sun Falls,” follows a passionate young man dreams of making films to denounce the corruption, poverty and violence in Honduras that succumbs to the support of the leader of a local gang.

Chile’s Manuela Martelli, director of 2022 Cannes Director’s Fortnight premiere “1976,” returns with “The Meltdown,” produced by Wood Producciones’ Alejandra García, of Sundance player “The Cow Who Sang a Song into the Future.”

Burning’s Diana Bustamante, the Colombian producer of Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Memoria,” starring Tilda Swinton, that won the 2021 Cannes Jury Prize and was chosen as Colombia’s Academy Awards entry, co-produces project “November,” Tomás Corredor’s feature debut.

Projects selected for this year’s edition have a string one in coming of age stories emerging in the middle of social-political conflicts. Immigration, violence against women and Indigenous worldviews are recurrent issues.

The projects are often at an advanced structuring stage, with international co-producers attached in many cases and some exploitation rights windows acquired by local operators. Some even already have sales agents on board. 60% of the selected projects are made by female directors.

The 5th edition Proyecta, to take place on-site and online in the framework of Ventana Sur, will consist of a pitching session by producers on Nov. 30 in Buenos Aires and in-person one-to-one meetings on Dec. 1.

The selection will be made up of 12 Latin American projects from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela, and three European tiles with a link to Latin America: Ewo with French and Portuguese production links  – “The Meltdown” and Lud Mônaco’s “Augusta & Kátia”- and a third Spanish project, Helena Taberna’s “Us,” unveiled at the Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum at September’s San Sebastian Festival.

As a novelty this year, a prize of €5,000 ($5,186) will be awarded to one project. 

A breakdown of titles:

“1982” (Sebastián and Nicolás Carreras, Cactus Cine, Argentina)

In the house of an Argentine officer sent to the Malvinas war, a relationship develops between his son and his second wife. The Carreras Brothers founded Cactus in 2005, directing and producing film and TV shows for global operators. Producer Hernán Belón’s credits take in Netflix’s “Sangre en la boca” and “El campo,” a Venice world premiere. 

“Augusta & Kátia” (Lud Mônaco, Promenade, Portugal, Spain)

A road movie dramedy acquired by NOS for Portuguese distribution. Two Brazilian friends women, a painter and a receptionist at a funeral home, share an apartment in Portugal. One day Kátia finds a gun in their shared safe. Canadian director-producer Justin Amorin, whose feature debut “Leviano” was acquired by RTP, Amazon and HBO, produces.

“Sun Falls” (“Cae el sol,” Aaren O’Connor, Pulsar Cine, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Norway)

Pulsar’s Ana Isabel Martins and O’Connor’s join forces again after “90 Minutes.” Supported by a strong multilateral co-production, often a sign of a major Latin American title.  

Cae el sol

“The Meltdown” (“El deshielo,” Manuela Martelli, Wood Producciones, Chile, France, Argentina, Sweden)

Set in 1992 Chile, “The Meltdown” follows Inés, a 11-year-old girl whose parents are away on a work trip, leaving her in the care of her grandparents, owners of a foot ski resort. One night Inés befriends Hanna, a French skier, who disappears. France’s Cinéma de Facto co-produces. 

“Hashtag Santiago” (Rodrigo Litorriaga, Transit Transat, France, Chile, Belgium)

A coming-of-age film toplining non-pro actress Javiera Gallardo, star of Litorriaga’s “La Francisca,” as a 20-year-old girl arriving in Santiago fleeing from her past. A Belgian co-production in partnership with France’s Bussola Films and Chile’s Infractor Films. 

Hashtag Santiago

“The Beach House” (“La casa de playa,” Kim Elizondo, Bicha Cine, Costa Rica, Colombia)

An absurd comedy drama about a woman living in a exclusive Costa Rican beach house, waiting for her American lover who maintains her. Producer Gabriela Fonseca at Bicha Cine joins forces with “La defensa del dragón’s” Ivette Liang at Colombia’s Galaxia 311. At casting stage, the project has already attached “La Llorona’s” Nicolas Wong Díaz as DOP. 

The Beach House
IFF Panama

“Freiman Brothers” (“Los Hermanos Freiman,” Nicolás Schujman, Alina Films, Argentina)

A co-scribe on Varsovia Films’ “El método Tangalanga,” Schujman combines horror, comedy and sci-fi in his feature debut, set in the coastal city of Mar del Plata, where aliens have started to control people’s bodies and minds. The project won a screenplay award from Fundación Proa, La Nación and Bunge & Born.

“Maneki Neko” (Sarahí Echevarría, Clap, Ecuador)

The complex relationship between a mother and her daughter after a violent event, narrated from the point of view of the girl and her best friend. It is based on the personal life of  Ecuadorian director Echeverría, living much of her childhood in the Andes countryside.

Maneki Neko

“Mars at Nightfall” (“Marte al anochecer,” Edjar Sajcabún, Surkum Cinematografía, Guatemala, Panamá)

In Sajcabún’s first feature – his third as screenwriter after “Donde Nace el Sol” and Berlinale player “La Casa Más Grande del Mundo”–  a Mayan Kaqchikel boy tries to solve his family’s economic problems to prevent his father from migrating. Produced by Sergio Ramírez, director-producer of “Distancia,” best first feature award at the Havana Festival, and “1991,” which premiered at the Miami International Film Festival.

Marte al anochecer

“Kids Swimming in the Lake” (“Muchachos bañándose en el lago,” Michael Labarca, Todos Los Ríos, Venezuela, France, Brazil, Chile)

A fresh take on immigration, the first movie by Venezuela’s Cannes Cinefondation winner Michael Labarca proved standout at Locarno, scooping a development support prize at 2022 edition’s Open Doors. Todos Los Ríos’ Patricia Ramírez co-produces with France’s Ticket Shoot Films, Bubbles Project in Brazil and Chile’s Oro Films. 

Kids Swimming in the Lake
Credit: Todos los Ríos

“Us” (“Nosotros,” Helena Taberna, Lamia Producciones, Spain)

A film adaptation of Isaac Rosa’s best-selling book “Feliz final,” a contemporary take on the myth of romantic love, directed by seasoned Spanish helmer Taberna (“Yoyes,” “Varados”). Iker Ganuza, co-producer behind Pablo Agüero’s five Goya-Awards winner “Akelarre,” produces at Lamia. Backed by Spain’s nationawide network RTVE, regional pubcaster ETB and indie distributor Vértigo Films.

“November” (“Noviembre,” Tomás Corredor, Burning, Colombia, México, France)

Diana Bustamante’s Burning re-teams with Piano in México, with whom she already co-produced Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Memoria.” Aimed to shoot at the end of 2023, Corredor’s debut has already attached Colombian David Gallego (“El abrazo de la cerpiente”) as DOP, plus Mexican Nohemi Gonzalez, production designer in Carlos Reygadas’ “Silent Light.”

“The Good Charm Society” (“Sociedad de la suerte,” Marina Herrera, China Salka, Perú)

Peruvian Diego Sarmiento, whose docu-feature “Río Verde. El tiempo de los Yakurunas” world premiered at 2017 Berlinale, produces Spaniard Marina Herrera’s debut, a comedy focused on Alex, who needs to find another way to make a living and decides to exploit his gifts in cartomancy.

“I Am Mario” (“Soy Mario,” Sharon Kleinberg, Producciones Siete Elefantes, Mexico)

Also produced by Kleinberg, the project narrates the story of Mario, who lives with his transsexual manhood hidden until he becomes pregnant, and he will struggle to prevail with his masculine identity intact. 

“Sad Girl” (“Una chica triste,” Fernanda Tovar, Colectivo Colmena, Mexico)

A film collective from Mexico, Colectivo Colmena produced José Pablo Escamilla’s Locarno player “Mostro,” a trenchant take on one consequence of violence in Mexico. “Sad Girl,” produced by Daniel Loustaunau, tells a story of a girl raped by her friend and swim teammate who seeks justice on her own. 

Una Chica triste

Source: Variety

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