Colombia had three films in the various sections of Cannes this year. And the Colombian producers, Diana Bustamente ♀ and Jorge Forero of Burning Blue, produced two of them along with Thierry Lenouvel’s Cine-Sud. Burning Blue was created by Diana Bustamante, producer of The Wind Journeys (Cannes 2009), and Crab Trap (Berlin 2010), with her friend and artist colleague Jorge Forero. This company is focused on new directors and particulary on the new and artistic proposals which work with the imagen in all its possibilities.
The first and foremost film is the first feature film from Colombian director William Vega, La Sirga, which played in this year’s Cannes’ Directors Fortnight and was nominated for the Camera d’Or Award, FIPRESCI Prize. It also won the Cinema in Construction Award & Cine + Award at the Toulouse Film Festival. “Evocative! William Vega’s first feature is the latest in an impressive string of Colombian arthouse films”, says Lee Marshall of Screen Daily. It was just picked up for North America by Film Movement. It is their 4th Colombian film.
Film Movement is one of the most successful experiments in alternative modes of distribution which has successfully survived since Larry Meistrich launched it in 2003. He has moved on and it’s now run by a great team headed by Adley Gartenstein. Its DVD of the month club for critically acclaimed movies — both American indies and foreign films — is the first of its kind. The company also provides films that are screened theatrically at locations in Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities. Recently they have also partnered with YouTube and Hulu to provide online movies, and have received extensive praise from film critics such as Roger Ebert. It will have its New York theatrical opening late 2012, with a limited national roll-out to follow, as well as a day-and-date Cable Video on Demand premiere.
Film Movement acquired it from one of my favorite international sales agents, Pierre Menahem, now of MPM (Movie Partners in Motion, founded by Marie-Pierre Macia and Juliette Lepoutre) but formerly (when I met him) at Celluloid Dreams. Pierre Menahem says, “We are thrilled to work again with Film Movement on another beautifully directed first feature film from Latin America. After the 20-times-awarded Found Memories (aka Historias) by Julia Murat, we are very excited to team up again with one of the best arthouse films distributors in North America for such an amazing film…Director William Vega is definitely a talent to watch and we are proud to start his international career with sales in the U.S., to Zootrope for France, Ama for Greece and Cineplex in Colombia right after its Cannes launch a week ago.” There is also strong interest in the U.K., Japan, Scandinavia, Benelux and Switzerland.
The second film is La Playa by Juan Andrés Arango, his film debut as well. This Brazil-Colombia-France coproduction premiered at Cannes FF Un Certain Regard. It was picked up for international sales prior to Cannes by Doc & Film. France’s Jour2Fete will distribute La Playa in France.
And the third Colombian film is in the Short Film Corner, Rodri by director Franco Lolli, depicting a family dealing with unemployment, will appear in the Short Film Corner. The film was inspired by its two main actors, the director’s mother and uncle. Lolli will turn toward directing his first full-length film after the festival.
Colombia also had 10 production companies participating in the Producers Network, an important adjunct to the Cannes Marche.