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Miami International Film Festival: Encuentros

Miami International Film Festival: Encuentros

Diana Sanchez hails from Toronto where she worked at the Fest there, the great TIFF. She worked there as Latin American Programmer in 2002 and before that was an Assistant. She worked as a consultant for Latin American and Spanish cinema for Rotterdam Film Festival. Here in Miami she worked since 2003 as an international advisor (consultant) having come in with former Sundance Film Festival organizer Nicole Guillemet. This from 2003-2008. Now she’s back with MIFF as Encuentros Director and Senior Programming Consultant.

‘My inspiration for Encuentros is Rotterdam Cinemart.’

Diana’s partner in this event is the talented and experienced Spanish Producer Elena Manrique (‘Pan’s Labyrinth’). Her title here at MIFF Encuentros is Head of Industry Programing. Her task here was to select and advise the projects and to share her wide business contacts and professional knowledge.

By guest blogger Peter Belsito
(Blogger’s note – My partner Sydney Levine and I have been attending Rotterdam CineMart since the early ’90’s when we were invited by the late great Wouter Barendrechtf then heading CineMart and then Fest Director Sandra den Hamer – now Director of Eye Film Institut Netherlands, the umbrella of all Dutch film organizations. The idea for CineMart was simple – make a selection of experienced filmmakers from around the world with new projects ready to be pitched and funded and introduce them by a series of quick one on one meetings to see what deals can be made. This format has since caught on and been funded and organized many times around the world in Festivals and film meetings. Now, of course, including Miami with its unique) focus on Ibero Latin American cinema.

This year they had 6 projects (see below), only Ibero American narrative films, to make things concise and hopefully more effective.

Three of the projects have been shot and showed demo reels here (seeking completion funding to close their financing and finish).

Three of the films are in pre production. They come into MIFF Encuentros with partial financing seeking completion funding and international sales from / with attending companies.

Another interesting requirement is that each project must have a ‘successful, experienced’ (one at least on the team) Producer and / or Director.

Below we share the complete details of this year’s MIFF Encuentros.

Miami International Film Festival to Host Signature Encuentros Development Program for Global Spanish and Portuguese Films in Progress
Industry events and meetings for 2011 participants and projects from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Miami to be held March 9-11 in Miami Beach Miami, FL

As the leading U.S. film festival gateway for Ibero-American filmmakers seeking assistance with global financing, development, distribution and theatrical release, organizers of the 2011 Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), which is produced and presented by Miami Dade College (MDC), today announced the lineup of projects selected to participate in the ninth-annual edition of the internationally renowned Encuentros Program for feature-length projects in progress. Encuentros (encounters in Spanish) is the only development program of its kind among film festivals in the U.S.— and one of the few in the world—that is dedicated exclusively to nurturing new Spanish and Portuguese language cinema from Spain, Portugal, Central America, South America and the Caribbean, as well as film projects targeting U.S. Hispanic audiences. The Program’s private, by-invitation-only series of networking meetings and roundtable discussions will be held March 9-11 at the Royal Palm Hotel in Miami Beach (Festival headquarters and Official Host Hotel).

‘We are proud of Miami International Film Festival’s track record of support to some of the best Iberoamerican film projects to emerge since 2003,’ said Festival executive director Jaie Laplante. ‘I am certain that by bringing this year’s slate of projects to Miami for encounters with some of the most astute professionals in the business, these projects will find their way to MIFF premieres in the years to come.’

Since the program’s inception in 2003, numerous international award winners and box-office successes have received assistance through Encuentros, including: Acné from Uruguay by director Federico Veiroj; Dog Eat Dog (Perro come perro) from Colombia by director Carlos Moreno; Giant (Gigante) from Uruguay and Argentina by director Adrián Biniez; The Life of Fish (La vida de los peces) from Chile by director Matías Bize; Machuca from Chile by director Andres Wood; and, Madeinusa from Peru, the stunning 2006 debut by director Claudia Llosa, who scored a 2010 Oscar nomination for Best Foreign-Language Film for her follow-up The Milk of Sorrow (La teta asustada). One director, Chilean Gonzalo Justiniano, has even participated twice, first for Lokas (2008) and the soon-to-be-released Have You Seen Lupita? (¿Alguien ha visto a Lupita?), Another project from 2010 is Dormir el Sol by Director Alejandro Chomski (Arg).

The international filmmakers and six projects listed by their working titles that are confirmed to participate in the 2011 Encuentros Program are:

-180 segundos (180 seconds) from Colombia by director Alexander Giraldo

State of production: Post-productionBrief synopsis: Can the most successful thief in the city pull off his last big score, leave town and retire? With only three minutes (180 seconds) for the job from start to finish, there’s absolutely no room for errors, but there could be a few wrinkles: a substitute crew member, corrupt police who may want the loot for themselves and a loyal crew who are annoyed they will miss part of the big soccer match, scheduled at the same time as the heist.

Encuentros representative: Producer Diego Ramirez, whose credits include All Your Dead Ones (Sundance, Rotterdam and MIFF, 2011), Dog Eat Dog (Sundance and MIFF, 2008), Hiroshima (Toronto, 2009), In Coma (Cartagena, 2011) and One, The Story of a Goal (Guadalajara and MIFF 2010).

– Carne de perro (Dog Flesh) from Chile by director Fernando Guzzoni

State of production: Pre-production; shooting scheduled to begin July 2011

Other production notes: This project was selected as a participant at the Cannes Residence for 2010- 2011; was voted best project at the Biarritz Film Festival in France in 2009; and was one of the winners of the Chilean Audiovisual Fund. Most recently, it was selected for the Cinemart, at the 2011 Rotterdam International Film Festival.

Brief synopsis: Dog Flesh (Carne de perro) takes us through a complex week in the life of Alejandro, age 50. A lonely, frugal and unpredictable man, he carries within him the hostility of a dark past as a torturer from Pinochet’s dictatorship. As Alejandro gets dangerously close to losing his grip on reality, he attempts to give new meaning to his life.

Encuentros representative: Producer Adrián Solar, who runs CENECA Producciones in Chile and has more than 25 film credits, including: My Best Enemy (Mi mejor enemigo) (2004), The Guest (El Huesped) (2005), (In Bed) En la cama (2005) and (Forbidden to Forbid) Prohibido Prohibir (2007).

Pescador from Ecuador and Colombia by producer/director Sebastián Cordero

State of production: Post-production

Brief synopsis: Blanquito is 30, and lives with his mother in a small fishing village on the coast of Ecuador. He is no fisherman, however; he doesn’t have a clue about how to use a net and is not interested in learning. One day, a Colombian woman named Lorna arrives, and Blanquito becomes obsessed with her. When boxes of cocaine ―bricks‖ wash up on shore, the two join forces to sell them for their own personal gains—with interesting and complicated consequences.

Encuentros representative: Producer/director Sebastián Cordero, whose credits include Ratas, Ratones, Rateros (1999), Crónicas (2004) and Rabia (2009).

– Polvo (Dust) from Guatemala by director Julio Hernández Cordón (director of Marimbas From Hell, an Official Selection in the MIFF 2011 Ibero-American Competition)

State of production: Post-production

Other production notes: Dust was developed at the ―Residence Cinefondation of the Cannes Film Festival Market and with EAVE – Puentes in 2010. It won a development funding award at the Amiens Film Festival in 2008 and is being funded by Ibermedia.

Brief synopsis: Juan knows the man who turned his father over to the Army during the Guatemalan Civil War; he sees him every day, and he wants revenge. Ignacio and Alejandra are working on a documentary about women who are searching for their lost family members—civilians who ―disappeared in a war that people no longer care about. Juan’s mother, Delfina, is one of their subjects. They try to interview Juan as well, but he declines. Personal problems begin to slow down the documentary’s production, in a way that parallels Juan’s own predicament.

Encuentros representative: Producer Fernanda del Nido, founder of Tic Tac Producciones (Spain), which fosters European and Latin American co-productions, and whose credits include: ¿Qué culpa tiene el tomate? (2009), Agua fría de mar (2010), 18 Meals (2010), Behind the Lights (2011), and Dust (2011).

– Sobre Ruínas: Noite de Reis (Resurgence: Three Kings Night) from Brazil by director Vinícius Reis

State of production: Pre-production; shooting scheduled for summer 2011

Other production notes: The original screenplay by Rita Toledo was selected by the Fundación Carolina’s IV Latin American Film Projects Lab in Madrid, Spain, and by the International Seminar of Script Edition and Creative Production IBERMEDIA-UNIACC in Chile. In 2010, Resurgence was one of seven projects (out of 175) to win the prestigious Fund for Low-Budget Features from the Brazilian Ministry of Culture.

Brief synopsis: One night in the town of Paraty, on the southern coast of Rio de Janeiro, the participants of the Three Kings Night, are busy preparing for the festivities. A man wanders into town; only a few recognize Jorge, who had left five years earlier after his young son, Lucas, died in a fire. Jorge returns to reconnect with his wife, Dora, and daughter, Júlia. Between rehearsals for the festivities and New Year’s Eve, the three family members meet and reminisce, rebuilding bonds that had been lost, human feelings that have been on hold.

Encuentros representative: Producer Gisela Camara, a co-founder of Brazilian production company El Desierto Filmes with director Jorge Durán and producer/editor Gabriel Durán. The production company’s film credits include: The Color of Destiny (A Cor do seu Destino), official selection in Berlin and Toronto, Best Film in Cartagena; Forbidden to Forbid (Proibido Proibir), which won more than 10 international awards; and Love is All We Need (Não Se Pode Viver Sem Amor), which screened at Guadalajara, Pusan and Montreal.

– Sweet 15 from (Miami, Florida) USA by director Anna Margarita Albelo

State of production: In development; scheduled to shoot October–December 2011

Brief synopsis: Sweet 15, to be director Anna Margarita Albelo’s feature film debut, is a comingof-age comedy set in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood in the 1980s. One day, Lucy Alvarez gets an assignment in school: present a Contribution of Work (C.O.W.) that defines your individual and cultural identity. Lucy and her best friend, Ambrosia, find the perfect project; a “Quinces” celebration, the traditional Latin celebration of a young girl’s transition into womanhood. Unfortunately for Lucy, Erika Payne, the school’s social center and daughter of a wealthy, local politician, has a suspiciously similar idea for her presentation: a Sweet 16 party to end all parties. What’s worse, all three girls share the same birthday, so Lucy and Ambrosia’s Quinces falls on the same night as Erika’s Sweet 16! Who will have the best party?

Encuentros representatives: Director Anna Margarita Albelo and Producer Jamin O’Brien, head of production and co-chair of Worldview Entertainment, a motion picture production and financing company. His film credits include Boynton Beach Club, Just Like the Son written and directed by Morgan Freeman, and Handsome Harry, starring Jamey Sheridan, Steve Buscemi, and Campbell Scott.

Encuentros is the cornerstone of the Miami International Film Festival’s Industry Program. The program will be an intensive, three-day networking event, offering new and established directors and producers face-to-face meetings with an array of international film industry executives, including distributors, international sales agents and financiers. They will be able to pitch their projects, each in varying stages of planning and production, and build professional relationships that hopefully will lead to funding, completion, screenings on the international film festival circuit and eventual theatrical release.

The following film industry advisers and executives are scheduled to attend:

20th Century Fox, Puerto Rico/Caribbean: Gustavo Rodriguez-Aparicio (The office that handles regional distribution of 20th Century Fox titles.)
Aeroplano Cine (Argentina): Sebastián Aloi (The Buenos Aires-based film production company behind Norberto’s Deadline (Norberto apenas tarde), Fase 7, The Paranoids and Death Club.)

Canana Films (Mexico): Pablo Cruz (The Mexico City-based film production company founded by actors Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal that is behind Abel, Jean Gentil, Sin Nombre, Rudo y Cursi and Solo quiero caminar; also a top distributor in Mexico behind Leap Year (Año bisiesto), Ajami, The White Ribbon, Fish Tank, The Milk of Sorrow (La teta asustada), Food Inc. and Let the Right One In.)

Dynamo Capital (Colombia): Rodrigo Guerrero (The Bogota-based film production and distributor behind With or Without Love (Una hora más en Canarias), Undertow (Contracorriente), Rage (Rabia), Dog Eat Dog (Perro come perro), Santanás and Maria Full of Grace.)

Figa Films (USA): Alex Garcia (The Los Angeles-based distributor and international sales representative behind Marimbas From Hell (Las marimbas del infierno), Half of Oscar (La mitad de Oscar), A Useful Life (La vida útil), Hiroshima, I Travel Because I Have to, I Come Back Because I Love You (Viajo Porque Preciso, Volto Porque Te Amo)

Latido Films (Spain): Silvia Iturbe (The Madrid-based international sale agent, production company and distributor behind The Secret in Their Eyes (El secreto de sus ojos), Fados, Of Love and Other Demons and Born to Suffer.)

Latino Public Broadcasting (USA): Patricia Boero (The Los Angeles-based TV production company and distributor behind Chicano Rock! The Sounds of East Los Angeles, Voces, Accordion Dreams and The Blue Diner.)

Magnolia Pictures (USA): Peter Van Steemburg (The New York City-based production company, distributor and international sales agent behind Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place, Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times, Ceremony, The Last Circus (Balada triste de trompeta), I’m Still Here, Monsters, I Am Love and Square Grouper.)

Maya Releasing (USA): Tonantzin Esparza (The Los Angeles-based distributor behind How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer, The Dry Land, The Vicious Circle and Maldeamores.)

Ondamax Films (USA): Eric Mathis (The Miami Beach-based international sales representative behind Perpetuum Mobile, Perfidy, Gasolina, Coyote and Fabricando Tom Zé)

Paradigm Talent Agency (USA): Carlos Carreras (The Beverly Hills, Calif.-based talent agency that represents more than 2,100 directors, producers, actors and other talent working in Hollywood today.)

Paramount Pictures (USA): Ben Cotner (The Los Angeles-based film production company and distributor behind the Transformers franchise, Paranormal Activity, Men In Black III and other international blockbusters.)

Shoreline Entertainment: Sam Eigen (The Los Angeles-based film production company, distributor and international sales agent behind All Your Dead Ones (Todos tus muertos), Besouro, Undertow (Contracorriente) and Southern District (Zona Sur).

Strand Releasing (USA): Marcus Hu (The Culver City, Calif.-based distributor behind Tyrannosaur, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Leap Year (Año bisiesto), Carancho, Rage (Rabia), My Year Without Sex, Puccini for Beginners, Darkbluealmostblack (Azuloscurocasinegro), Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams, Mysterious Skin and Psycho Beach Party.)

Tornasol Films (Spain): Mariela Besuievsky (The Madrid-based production company behind the in-development Everyone Has a Plan (Todos tenemos un plan), starring Viggo Mortensen; The Last Circus (Balada triste de trompeta); No Return (Sin retorno); the 2010 Oscar winner The Secret in Their Eyes (El secreto de sus ojos), Hermanas and Don’t Tempt Me.)

Venevisión International (Argentina): Millie Luna (The Buenos Aires-based TV and film distributor behind Others, Lolita’s Club, A Ton of Luck, Bolivar Is Me and Captain Pantoja and the Special Services.)

VisitFilms (USA): Ryan Kampe (The New York City-based international sale agent that specializes in films on the festival circuit; current clients include Small Town Murder Songs, Tilva Rosh, The Cave of Forgotten Dreams and The Off Hours.)

William Morris Endeavor (USA): Alexis Garcia (The Los Angeles-based talent agency that represents almost 3,000 directors, producers, actors, editors and other talent working in Hollywood today.)

Encuentros was founded in 2003 by former MIFF programmer Diana Sanchez, who currently serves as the leading Ibero-American films programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival. Sanchez rejoined MIFF earlier this year as a consultant, the senior programmer of the Festival’s signature IberoAmerican Competition and director of the Encuentros Program. During the past nine years, Encuentros has supported more than 55 feature films and documentaries in progress. More than half of those participating works were eventually completed and some went on to achieve critical acclaim and industry distinctions, in addition to box-office popularity and numerous awards on the international film festival circuit.

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