by contributing blogger Benjamín Harguindey
The new edition of Latin American film market Ventana Sur (“Southern Window”) was inaugurated Tuesday 3rd at the Universidad Católica Argentina in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires. This is the 5th edition of the film market created by INCAA (National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts) and the Marché du Film/Festival de Cannes with the support of MEDIA. The market sports 450 films looking for distribution from all over Latin America, and welcomes over 300 distributors from all over the world.
For the next few days Ventana Sur will be featuring numerous presentations and press conferences held in light of the film market, as well as over a hundred screenings in 8 different theaters and a “business avenue” containing over 40 individual stalls where production companies will be negotiating with prospective buyers. At the end of each day, film distributors will also be receiving the full list of accredited delegates who have attended their screenings.
Ventana Sur opened with the formal presentation of the newly-formed CADICINE (Argentine Independent Film Distributors Chamber) by president Ernesto Portela and several film distributors in attendance. Distribution of local films has become an issue over the years because of “majors” competition, which have pushed smaller, independent local movies to bottom-of-the-barrel screening arrangements with exhibitors. Of the 100 or so Argentine movies produced every year, about 10% (the “big budget” ones) are accommodated by mainstream companies while the remaining production fits awkwardly in not a lot of screens and not for very long. CADICINE is conformed by roughly 12% of the distribution companies in Argentina and its purpose is to watch and protect over indie productions, making sure they get the marketing, distributing and exhibiting they deserve.
“There already being an official resolution that deems us part of the industry [which is state-sponsored], we can pursue common policies to amend the problems that come up along the way, which are plenty,” said Portela. “We would eventually like to solve that which we must be solved”.
Later in the evening a committee formed by several film festival delegates conducted a conference titled “Why we need film festivals”: orators included Marcelo Panozzo, head of the local BAFICI; Nadia Dresti from the Locarno Film Festival; Angel Sala from the Sitges Film Festival and Rodney Perkins from Fantastic Fest, the “largest genre film festival in the US”. Each gave their POV on the purpose and significance of film festivals in general. “The objective is that there be more movies for more audiences,” said Panozzo of BAFICI. “Without limiting one thing or the other”.
Nadia Dresti was the most critical of all. “The festivals are there to serve the films, not vice versa,” said Dresti. “Sometimes festivals become like distributors, and this is a problem. I think the festival should launch the film, not become its distributor. At the same time, I think it’s best for a film to have a “festival life” than to have no life at all. Honestly I think there’s too much production around”.
Ventana Sur will continue to operate until December 6th.
Ventana Sur homepage link: http://www.ventanasur.gov.ar/eng/