By Indiewire | Indiewire October 23, 1997 at 2:0AM
U.S. Indie Aims for Spanish Speaking Audience
by Katherine Hutchison
It's not every day an American film company makes a foreign-language film
for U.S. distribution, but the creators of "Buscando Un Sueno" ("In Search Of A Dream" are banking on an under-served Spanish speaking audience and the
comparatively cheap advertising costs involved in reaching that audience to
bring success to their first feature. The film is being produced and
distributed by Nova Creative Releasing, a four-year-old alliance of Mira
Vista Films ("Twisted"), and film buyer Creative Entertainment Consultants to
put out films made by and for Latinos.
"We felt there was a void for Spanish-speaking films (in the U.S.)," says
producer Jesus Nova, "and we decided to do this because of our two prior
successes with Spanish-language films." Nova Creative was the New York-area
distributor of "Nueba Yol" and "One-Way Ticket", but its plans for "Buscando Un Sueno" are a bit more ambitious. After launching the film October 29th in 17
New York City-area theaters, Nova Creative will release it in the Los
Angeles, Miami, Chicago and Texas markets before it plays Puerto Rico and
the Dominican Republic over the holidays.
The decision to film the story in Spanish had almost as much to do with
economics as culture. Nova maintains that it would have cost the company
more to advertise an English-language film in English print and broadcast
media, whose rates are about 30% higher than the Spanish market's.
While U.S. audiences will be the first to see the film, Nova Creative
expects the film to do well in foreign markets as well. The story of two
friends from the Dominican Republic ("One Life To Live" heartthrob Kamar de
Los Reyes and Elvis Nolasco) who find their American dreams disintegrating
in the face of poverty and the snare of drugs in New York, "Buscando Un Sueno" was shot over a year and a half in Manhattan and the Dominican
Republic by three different directors. New York story lines are a big
seller in Spanish speaking countries, Nova says, which is why the company
is eyeing the film's potential Latin and South American audience. "Outside
the United States, everyone is interested in New York. They like to be able
to look into its culture."
Even when the audience is expected to be mostly Spanish speaking, "Buscando Un Sueno" will be shown with English subtitles in most U.S. theatres -- in
part an effort, says Nova, to appease nervous exhibitors. "It's not easy to
sell a totally Spanish film to exhibitors," he says. "They think the
Hispanic market isn't really there." But the producers also hope the
subtitling translates into a crossover success in the English-speaking
"Buscando Un Sueno" will premiere at New York's Ziegfeld Theater (the first
Spanish-language film to screen there). Nova Creative plans to enter the
film in festival in Puerto Rico, Havana and possibly Berlin. The company is
looking at several Spanish-language projects by other filmmakers right now.
"We have a good handle on the market and the outlets, but we want to make a
dent (with "Buscando"), we don't want to horde it," Nova says. "The more
people who would like to develop this market, the better for everyone."
[Nova Creative Releasing can be reached at 212.333.7770]