Colombia and Chile Emerging as Main Players for International Film Funds

Government support and networking fuel talent, say fund managers at Cartagena fest.

CARTAGENA DE INDIAS – In a break from Argentina, Mexico and Brazil usually topping international film funds’ recipients, Colombia and Chile are now emerging as new nods for promising talent. Managers from international film development funds such as the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund and Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals gathered today in Cartagena film fest in Colombia and explained how these two countries have become new main players, thanks to more developed promotion for young talent.

“Now we need to talk about Chile and Colombia, which are the most important Latin American film countries of last year," said World Cinema Fund manager Vincenzo Brugno. “Everyone knows that for the last decade Argentina, Brazil and Mexico were the main film producers in the region," he said. “But now what we’ve observed in the last year is the developing of these other two”.

The reasons, according to Brugno, lie in “new political decisions, funding structures, and the developing of a new producing environment that also has to do with new young talent.”

Last year, the two countries were also targeted by the first 2011 session of the Cinefondation’s The Residence program. Colombians Ruben Mendoza and Oscar Ruiz Navia (director of Crab Trap, which won the FIPRESCI prize at 2010’s Berlinale Forum) and Chilean Fernando Guzzoni (La Colorina) joined other filmmakers from all over the world to participate in the four-month script developing program in Paris sponsored by Cannes film festival. The session that just ended on Feb. 15 also welcomed two other Chilean selectees: Rene Ballesteros (developing horror film El Pelo Vivo) and Christopher Murray, director of Rotterdam-premiered Manuel de Ribera.

“These were the best of the Latin American entries we got," said Cinefondation’s Georges Goldenstern.

At the Amiens script development fund they had already grown accustomed to see Argentina topping LatAm submissions, but last year Colombia beat that mark for the first time ever, with 15 projects over 14 Argentine ones. Overall, out of the 19 projects that were finally selected, 50 percent were made in Latin America.

Thierry Lenouvel, from Amiens, mentioned Colombia’s Film Development Fund – which covers script and project development, production, and post-production and supports distribution and exhibition as well – as a “an efficient system, which is the key. After a few years, the results are in. We can see them”.

Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals coordinator Jacobine Van der Vloed also pointed out these countries are providing “new opportunities for filmmakers to go abroad, attend other markets, workshops, and training events – places like the International Producers’ Meetings here in Cartagena where you can get all people together and share information.”

The International Film Funds Panel is part of the Cartagena Meetings organized by the 52nd Cartagena Film Fest, in Colombia.