First LatAm VOD Platform Launches in Colombia

'La Playa DC'

Retina Latina is the first free streaming platform of LatAm cinema, which features a catalogue from six countries.

Retina Latina, the first free of charge VOD platform for Latin American films, launched Friday at the 56th edition of the Cartagena de Indias Film Festival (FICCI), which runs March 2-7.

The platform will stream fiction and documentary films from the region, and currently features acclaimed movies such as Juan Andrés Arango's La Playa DC (Colombia), Federico Veiroj's A Useful Life (Uruguay) and Arturo Ripstein's The Realm of Fortune (Mexico).

Championed by Colombia's film promotion agency Proimagenes and supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (BID), the Retina Latina initiative was promoted by film institutes from six different countries: Bolivia's CONACINE, Ecuador's CNCINE, Peru's Minister of Culture, Mexico's IMCINE, Colombia's ICAU and Ministry of Culture and Uruguay's Audiovisual Nacional.

VOD is starting to emerge as an alternative for LatAm film distribution within the region — a market largely dominated by Hollywood — where local films struggle to find room in multiplexes cramped with U.S. blockbusters.

FICCI director Diana Bustamante addressed the issue at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. "It’s imperative that we strengthen the circulation of LatAm films within the region. We, the filmmakers, need to stop complaining about the perverse interests of the machinery and do our own thing," she told The Hollywood Reporter.

Recently, Argentina pioneered in the matter with Odeon, a VOD platform for Argentine films and TV shows managed by the country's film institute INCAA and telco agency ARSAT.