A pan-Latin American buying consortium of independent distributors is gearing up for the American Film Market, having quietly launched late last year in reaction to the increasing appetite amongst Hollywood studios to buy all rights in the region.
The consortium - named Entertainment Consortium Ltd - is composed of Gussi in Mexico, Lider Film in Argentina, Paris Film in Brazil, Cine Colombia in Colombia, Delta Films in Peru and Cines Unidos in Venezuela.
At the Sundance Film Festival last week, the consortium bought Latin American rights to A Paradise Under The Stars, the Cuban/Spanish comedy which had won the Audience Award at the Havana Film Festival in December.
Entertainment Consortium also snapped up some major titles late last year including Robert Altman's Dr T And The Women from Initial Entertainment Group and Sean Penn's The Pledge from Franchise Pictures.
A spokesman at Gussi said that the distributors involved talk regularly about product they want to pursue. "All the studios want to make Latin American deals these days, so this was the only way we could compete," he said. "We originally set it up about five years ago and it fell apart soon after, but then came together again last year through necessity."
The US studios often include Latin America as an add-on to domestic deals (examples include Sony Pictures Classics taking both North and South American rights to Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) or simply buy all rights in the region (as was the case with 20th Century Fox on All About My Mother), thus depriving any one territory from buying it. Now, Entertainment Consortium plans to use its combined buying resources to compete.