MADRID — In a sign of one direction Latin America’s film industry is going, building ever more significant production partnerships on banner art films around the region, premier Brazilian production house Gullane has boarded Benjamín Avila’s “The Cardinal.”
Already produced by Chile’s Storyboard Media and Argentina’s Magma Cine, “The Cardinal” has just been selected for San Sebastian’s Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum.
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News of Gullane’s equity participation comes as it is finalizing Argentine financing on “Bachelor Party,” its latest big commercial play, distributed in Brazil and Latin America by Warner Bros.
Now packing three partners as multi-lateral production partnerships increasingly mark out the biggest movies from Latin America, “The Cardinal” will weigh in to San Sebastian as one of the highest-profile at the Forum.
Part of Argentine Avila’s lifelong concern for opposition to dictatorship and tyranny – both his parents were montoneros, who died fighting Argentina’s Junta, events inspiring his debut “Clandestine Childhood” – “The Cardinal” is a true-events-based drama, set in 1973 Chile.
It chronicles Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez’s halting, agonized build to frontal opposition to Pinochet’s regime as it slaughtered thousands of Chileans in cold blood. Silva went on to become Pinochet’s major critic in Chile, calling for democracy, and recording and protesting the government’s human rights abuses.
“The Cardinal” is already set up as a co-production between Chile’s Storyboard Media, headed by Gabriela Sandoval and Carlos Nuñez, and Argentina’s Magma Cine, run by Juan Pablo Gugliotta and Nathalia Videla. It will now benefit not only from Gullane’s equity financing – essential as pre-sales dwindle for art films – but also experience in nursing crossover art films to sizable box office and fulsome foreign sales. Sold by The Match Factory, Gullane’s “The Second Mother” is one case in point.
‘’What most caught our attention was the project’s composition,” brothers Fabiano and Caio Gullane said.
“We admire Benjamín Ávila’s cinema and were delighted with the story proposed by him,” they continued. “It establishes a dialogue with our reality in Brazil and dictatorial regimes in Latin America, which has great value for us.”
Arguing that “The Cardinal” has “great sales and major festival potential,” they also said that they’d wanted to work with Storyboard Media and Magma Cine for a long time.”
“We are very happy that Gullane has joined ‘The Cardinal,’ said Sandoval. “The project continues to build and add great partners such as Caio and Fabiano. Also, a Chile-Argentina-Brazil co-production is highly logical.”
‘’The relationship between audiovisual production companies in Brazil and Latin America, in a general way of things, is too timid,” said Fabiano Gullane.
Pan-regional Latin America co-production is likely to grow as producers look to off-set a highly volatile domestic political context (Brazil), suffer punitive devaluation (Argentina) or simply seek to tap into partners’ expertise.
Gullane is now finalizing a new project which will also see “an important contribution” from Argentina, said Gullane. A majority Gullane production but shot almost 90% in Bariloche, Argentina’s top ski resort, “4 Amigas Numa Fria’’ (“Bachelorette Party”), is helmed by Roberto Santucci and penned by Paulo Cursino, the director -scriptwriter duo behind Gullane’s blockbuster franchise “Till Luck Do Us Part.’’
“We have great expectations regarding this project, especially in a commercial range. We believe it will have an important roll-out in Brazil and other territories in Latin America,” said Fabiano Gullane.