One step forward will be a Brazil-Argentina bilateral co-production agreement to be unveiled on Saturday.

Latin American countries shouldn’t just look to Europe for co-productions, they should also partner within the region. That was the message at a co-production panel today at the second Ventana Sur event in Buenos Aires

To that end, Brazil and Argentina are set to announce a bilateral co-production agreement here on Saturday. More details will be announced then, but the treaty is expected to be similar to Brazil’s existing pacts with Galicia, Uruguay, Portugal and Italy.

Brazilian producer Vania Catani from Bananeira Films (The Dead Girl’s Feast) said: “The first time I went to Rotterdam, the [Latin Americans] were treated like a single block, and we didn’t even know one another. Now lots of effort has been made, and if co-production agreements are documented, we begin to meet each other more and things happen. It’s a win-win situation. In terms of cultural and economic exchange, all I can see is advantages.”

Edgard Tenembaum from Tu Vas Voir (The Motorcycle Diaries) shared his knowledge of French co-productions and said: “Right now I believe that bilateral small agreements between two countries is the best way forward. That’s how people get to know each other. And when people get to know each other, the bueracracy fades.”

The panelists noted that the Latin American industry coming together at Ventana Sur was another step in the right direction. Catani said: “It’s better for us to meet each other on this continent than crossing the ocean to do it. Also, that money to chase on the continent isn’t as readily available anymore.”

The creation of a Latin America star system would also help froster work across Latin American borders, moderator Pablo Udenio from Haciendo Cine noted.

Maxi Dubois of Argentine production company Bellasombra added: “It’s an absolute need to have coproductions. Independents [in Argentina] can’t afford the costs [alone].”

Dubois also noted that co-production was a way to help films travel outside their home territory. “Co-production is good to reach out to other audiences. 80% of movies produced don’t get a premiere outside their territory. The state of exhibition leaves less room for local premieres.”

Tenembaum agreed that films need to cross more borders locally: “One of the biggest problems right now is distribution of Latin American movies in Latin America. I see many more Latin American films in France. How many Brazilian films are seen in Argentina? How many Argentine films are seen in Brazil?”

Another Brazilian producer in the audience noted that it’s easy to dub a film from Portuguese to Spanish (and vice versa), even during the production phase, which could help Latin American films spread more quickly across the region. “Brazilian movies shouldn’t be sold as foreign movies in Latin American markets,” he noted.