A Bolivian /USco production is making box office waves in Bolivia. Already dubbed theBolivian Titanic,Rodrigo Bellott's Sexual Dependency beat US blockbusters Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle at the local box office over the weekend.

With just twoprints, the teen drama attracted 360,000 admissions in contrast to a paltry15,000 for the Charlie's Angels sequel. For a country of seven million inhabitants and 26 screenswhere national cinema has been dormant for the past six years, the achievementis considerable.

The film has been chosen to represent Bolivia in theforeign language Oscar race. "The country is elated to have a film to vie forthe Foreign Oscar after such a long hiatus," said Bellott.

The ensembledrama is the directorial debut of the 25-year old New York-based Bolivian. Itfollows the stories of five young people who have nothing in common except adesire to experience true intimacy. Their stories unfold and overlap as eachfall victim to their own sexual dependencies and delusions.

Following SexualDependency's sold-outscreenings at the Toronto International Film Festival, distribution deals wereclosed with Alliance Atlantis (Canada), New World Pictures (Thailand), LNK(Portugal), and Videosonic (Greece). Toronto-based Cinemavault, which is handlingworldwide distribution of the film, is also in talks with buyers from France,Germany and Italy.

The dramapremiered at the Locarno International Film Festival 2003, where it won theFIPRESCI Prize for its "courageous examination of machismo eloquentlyexpressed by a rigorous use of the split-screen and innovative digitalcamerawork".

Bellott'ssuccess is heartening for the handful of filmmakers in the country. In whatcould be considered a mini-boom, at least three more films are poised to comeout over the next six months after struggling for five to six years to securefinancing, mainly from Spain.

Paolo Agazzi,whose acclaimed drama/comedy El Dia Que Murio El Silencio was the last Bolivian film in 1997, willrelease his next film The Robbery (El Atraco) at the end of the year. Marcos Loayza, who made Cuestion DeFe in the mid 90s, iscurrently making his second feature The Heart Of Jesus (El Corazon De Jesus).

Meanwhileveteran director Jorge Sanjines (Blood Of The Condor), deemed the master of Bolivian cinema,is making his first film since 1995. Now 66 years old, Sanjines has chosen toshoot in digital video and focus on the younger generation.