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Dynamo, Ennova beef up Colombian production

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Two new funds are playing key roles in Colombia's movie revival. Backed by pension funds, Dynamo Capital is a multimillion-dollar private-equity venture run by a talented team of Colombians and Europeans with extensive experience in finance and film.

In two years, Dynamo--headed by U.S.-trained fund manager Andres Calderon; film investment expert Cristian Conti; "Maria Full of Grace" associate producer Rodrigo Guerrero; and "Talk to Her" associate producer Michel Ruben--has backed five films, including the Sundance audience award-winner "Undertow." With its present funding, Dynamo plans to support a total of 12 pictures.

"When we started, we thought there were two big barriers," Calderon notes. "One was the lack of money to have good quality productions; the other was that it's hard for Latin American films to travel." To overcome these barriers, he says, "We created the private-equity fund" and hired "a team of people with good contacts outside Colombia."

Dynamo is now looking to structure a second fund in the $10 million-$20 million range for English-language productions.

Another upstart film investment fund, Ennovva, will begin selecting projects in about two months. Operating through RCN Cine, the film production arm of Colombian media giant RCN, it already has a large-scale project with Sony's Screen Gems lined up. "Operation Checkmate" is a drama based on the real-life rescue of 15 hostages held by rebel forces in Colombia.

"We're mainly interested in improving the quality of productions, rather than the quantity," Ennovva president Carolina Angarita says. "But with this fund we can do more international co-productions. We're also offering production services; our production services unit, Shoot Colombia, worked with (director) Paul Haggis on 'The Next Three Days.' "