Fantastic Fest -- the Austin, TX-based genre festival focusing on horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action films -- announced today it will host an international co-production market for genre films called Fantastic Market|Mercado Fantastico. The new venture is being co-produced by Robert Rodriguez's El Rey network and CANANA, a Mexican production and distribution outlet helmed by Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Pablo Cruz, and Julian Levin. The inaugural market is scheduled to premiere from September 19-26 during Fantastic Fest.
El Rey founder Robert Rodriguez said that "establishing the Fantastic Market is a great opportunity to not only give the Ibero-American community a stage for their work in genre films, but it’s also an outlet for the US Hispanic community to showcase their projects in an area where they are underserved. I'm excited to see what is produced."
Fantastic Market|Mercado Fantastico will highlight new genre narrative projects from around the globe, but focus specifically on Latin filmmakers from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States. The market will also provide networking opportunities and workshops to filmmakers. Submissions for the joint venture will be accepted from June 1 through July 15.
"The Latin movie-going audience is the only demographic increasing in the U.S.," Fantastic Fest co-founder and creative director Tim League said. "Because of our proximity to Mexico and Latin America, we see a large number of emerging projects from these countries at Fantastic Fest. Fantastic Market is the next step in the evolution of the festival to help us further our mission to support emerging genre filmmakers from across the globe."
Latino audiences have helped make success stories for both large and small films. Last year's low-budget "End of Watch" ended up with more than $41 million off a $7 million budget, and almost a third of its opening weekend fortune came from a Latino audience (32 percent). The Memorial Day smash "Fast and Furious 6" owed most of its success to the Latino crowds that showed up in droves. While white audiences were responsible for 29 percent of its $97 million opening weekend, Latinos bested them with 32 percent. In an increasingly foreign-focused studio system, expect more films targeted at this bankable demographic.