Producer looks to shake up Latin America biz

Sebastian Darcyl runs gamut from managing to producing

It's common in Hollywood for companies that manage performers, writers and directors to then use their talents to package and produce for TV and movies, but that's not how it's been done in Latin America -- until now.

Argentine producer and entrepreneur Sebastian Darcyl has spent most of this year creating and acquiring companies based in Buenos Aires that do everything from producing programming to representing models and actors for Spanish-language media to creating TV formats to sell worldwide.

"What we're trying to accomplish," Darcyl said, "is to follow the model of having all in one place the key elements needed to build a production."

This year, Darcyl launched Dharma Films to produce for TV, movies, VOD, the Internet, mobile and more; created Life Management Group to represent models, writers and directors; partnered with Mauricio Catarain to represent actors through the talent agency Chekka Buenos Aires; and acquired the facilities of ClickStudios to produce his own shows and to rent studios to other producers.

Dharma already has been involved in productions with Turner in Latin America, Playboy, FTV (Fashion Television) and others for scripted and reality shows, such as "Volcano Hunter" for Spanish-speaking LifeStyle TV, in which German photographer and author Carsten Peter shares the challenges and thrills of photographing a volcano in Hawaii, and "Room Service" for worldwide distribution by Playboy TV about a hotel that fulfills guests' fantasies.

Last year Darcyl created an interactive "Dating Game"-style show called "Somebody to Love," which aired in Argentina with the format now being sold worldwide by Telefe Argentina. He also recently signed a deal with Steven Paul of Crystal Sky in Los Angeles to invest in and produce theatrical motion pictures. He also has nonexclusive handshake deals with a number of modeling agencies, including Elite and L.A. Models, to scout and develop talent for Spanish-speaking media, who he represents for Latin America.

Until December, Darcyl had spent nearly 20 years working with his brother Tomas in Telefilms Argentina, founded in 1960 by their father Leon Darcyl, a former Time Life correspondent. Telefilm was one of the first to go beyond acquiring rights just for its own country and license movie and TV rights for all of Latin America. That paid off when cable, pay TV and home video came along, allowing them to sell to the entire Spanish-language world. The company steadily grew during the past decade, expanding into production as well. In 2008, a Telefilm production, "Television por la Identidad," about the era in Argentina when the military kidnapped people and even stole their babies, won the International Emmy for best miniseries. Sebastian Darcyl continues to serve as an ambassador for the International Emmys.

Telefilms Argentina, which continues under Tomas Darcyl, participated in the L.A. Screenings in May.

Sebastian Darcyl, however, had a different vision, which led him to sell his interest in Telefilm to his brother in December. He believes that as technology makes it easier to deliver content across all platforms, and distribution windows shrink, the best business to be in is the creation of content.

"There are going to be radical changes in the way movies are shown and TV is distributed," he predicted. "I believe the source of power in this business is always going to be the talent. An actor will still be an actor. A format will still be a format. That is where the key to the business is and will be."
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