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Ventana Sur Leans into IP, launching a New Europe, Latin American Version of Shoot the Book

“If you look at the history of Hollywood, 50%, 60%, maybe 70% of the stories are based on books or IP or games. There’s a big gap between how Europe thinks about developing television and the Hollywood system,” producer Erik Barmack reflected a few months back.

“There’s just tremendous opportunities now as the market’s tightening to find source IP where, you know, there’s an installed audience,” he added.

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Now Europe and indeed Latin America is catching up. In one of its biggest innovations of 2023, Ventana Sur has launched a Buenos Aires version of Shoot the Book! offering IPs from a clutch of Argentina’s highest rated novelists and a best-selling French author, as one star attraction of its multitudinous titled El Principio del Film.

In another departure, Brazil and Andalusia offer screenplays whose themes capture the zeitgeist – whether in the battle to reconstitute family, odes to sorry, the exploration of cross-generational relationships, or withering takes by women on men and the inevitable disappointment of romantic love.

Brief profiles of major sections in El Principio del Film:

Shoot the Book!

“I Must Have Dreamt Too Deeply,” (“J’ai dû rêver trop fort,” Michel Bussi; Editorial: Editis)

A literally jet-setting second chance romantic mystery thriller as Nathy, 49, realises the destinations, dates, crew and even some clients of her latest schedule to Montreal, Los Angeles and Jakarta are exactly the same as 20 years before in 1999, when, though married, she met the love of her life. A 2019 hit from one of France’s best-selling authors.

“Happiness is a Cliche,” (“La felicidad es un lugar común,”  Mariana Skiadaressis, Argentina; Publisher Entropía, )

The debut novel from a breakout young woman author – from a country which has multiple talents – and a prestige Argentine publishing house, a withering take on Argentina’s literary scene, the traumas of creation and the expectations of romantic love.

“The Resentful Boy,” (“El Niño Resentido,” César Gonzalez, Argentina; Editorial: Penguin Random House)

The just out autobiography of González, a poet and prolific filmmaker, and criminal, dog addict and ex con born in Buenos Aires Carlos Gardel slum villa, who turned to crime as revenge “to recover what fate had never given  me.” A brutal eye opener on one side of Argentina’s gaping social divide. “This book is scary.I beg you to read it. Let’s see if we can go together somewhere other than war,” says Lucrecia Martel.

“Patagonia, Road 203,” (Eduardo Fernando Varela, Spain; Ediciones Métailié)

A surreal road trip on Patagonia’s second roads, in which Parker, described as an enigmatic saxophonist, falls in love with the cashier of a funfair and, takes to the roads with her, pursued by her ex husband. Published in Spanish, a 2020 novel from the Venice and Buenos Aires-based author.  

“The Second Coming of Hilda Bustamante,” (Salomé Esper, Editorial: Sigilo)

Another acclaimed Argentina debut from a young woman novelist, combined terror and hour, the story of a 79-year-old, who dies, but breaks out of her coffin, returns home after her resurrection. A feel-good humor laced second-chance fable.

“Some Music,” (“Una musica,” Hernán Ronsino; Editorial Eterna Cadencia)

Winner of this year’s Buenos Aires Book Fair Critics Award as best book of 2022, the latest from Ronsino, reckoned one of Argentina’s most powerful contemporary voices, the story of a musician who inherits his father’s small farm in the Buenos Aires suburbs, which reveals little by little, ratcheting up he tension, his father’s true nature.

“The Threads Of The Heart,” (“Le Coeur Cousu,” Spain, Carole Martinez, France; Editorial Madrigall)

Frasquita, who has a extraordinary gift for embroidery, battles to find a way out of her remote village in Spain. Hailed in 2007 as a triumph of magic realism, though the summary presented by El Principio del Film stresses the novel’s more contemporary themes such as female empowerment and a woman’s continual disappointment with men.

“Treacherous Indies,” (“Les Indes Fourbes,” Alain Ayroles (writer) Juanjo Guarnido (illustrator); Editorial: Delcourt)

The most awaited French graphic novel of 2019, from Ayroles and Guarnido, a trenchant sequel to Francisco de Quevedo’s 1626 tale of roguish adventure, El Buscón,” continued in the New World.

Guest Projects, Brazil

“Dezembro,” (Lucas Justiniano)

Writer-director of “Barqueiro,” which won best short at 2014’s Rio Fest, Justiniano’s “Dezembro” turns on two teen sons who suddenly have to care for their father when he loses his memory after an operation.

“Filha Da,” (Thays Berbe)

Estefania, 9, living in a São Paulo shanty hood, believes her mother is an undercover secret agent, when she works in reality as a prostitute. The lie finally causes problems, forcing mother and daughter to go into hiding. “Filha Da” won Bebe a Projeto Paradiso scholarship to pursue a screenwriting master’s degree at Cuba’s ECTV.

Filda Ha
Filha Da

“Preferred Seating,” (“Assento Preferencial,” Marcela dos Santos Servano)

Marcela, 38, a nurse, takes a job at a nursing home, to access Cannabidiol, in order to treat her grandfather who suffers Parkinson’s disease. She strikes up an unlikely relationship with Alfonso, 78, seen as an old grouch. Winners of an honourable mention in Brazil’s 2021 Script and Narratives competition.

“The Sphinxes,” (“As Esfinges,” Sandra Menezes, Carol Ao)

Bené gathers together her lifetime friends at a European festival which is screening her latest pic, based on her memoirs. Left to their devices, her friends go off to Portugal and live extraordinary adventures.

The Sphinxes
The Sphinxes

“Yellowcake,” (Larissa Estevam, Celina Ximenes)

A thriller, from Caerá writer-directors Estevam and Ximenes,  Cassandra, a Black geologist investigates the exploration of a uranium deposit near her hometown, exposing its inhabitants to radiation poisoning. She and her people take drastic action.

Malaga Film Festival & Mafiz

“Ahora Somos del Viento,” (Juan Ezequiel Comesana, Amanda Gutiérrez Del Castillo)

Billed as a tragi-comedy, an Argentine father and teen daughter move to small mountain town in Spain, where she is driven to attempting suicide. An unseen screenplay from Comesana (“La Vid(a) and Gutiérrez (“Emma y el mundo”).

“Bolonia,” (Javier Gómez Bello, Malaga)

From multi-prized doc short filmmaker Gómez Bello (“Malakooti”) who presented “The Night of the Judas” at this year’s Malaga CoPro Forum, a second chance comedy in which Carmela, 42, attends a spiritual retreat near Cádiz. It’s not what she expects but proves a profoundly strange, hilarious, and revealing experience.

Bolonia
Bolonia

“Cruising Blood Love,” (Salva Martos Cortés, )

Klaus, a German vampire serial killer, and Soledad, an investigating cop, intersect in Torremolinos, in a neon night labyrinth of sex, love, blood and death. A horror drama thriller from multi-prized short film director whose feature debut as a writer, “Reflejos en una habitación,” won at Huelva.

“Digital Dolls,” (Julia Ponce Díaz, Seville)

Deep Andalusia, early 2000s. Stuck in a hidebound hometown, Laura, 13, seeks escape in the Internet, befriends Mima, the only person who gets her, as real and virtual worlds entangle. A hybrid fiction-animation coming of age tale from an AFI and UCLA alum.

Digital Dolls
Digital Dolls

“No Soy Universal,” (Celia de Molina, Jaen)

A comedy from the creator of Atresplayer’s “Antivlog” and screenwriter on Disney+’s “Invisible.” Celia attempts to sell a screenplay about the taboos she’s faced since deciding to become a mother which is rejected by industry execs as not being universal.

Official Section

“Before The Future Comes” (“Antes que o Futuro Chegue,” Gabriel Di Giacomo Rocha, Brasil)

In a dismal virtual future, Enzo’s faith is restored after meeting vivacious neighbor Valentina, who teaches him to smile again though the world around them is falling apart. The project participated in the itinerary development program Historias Que Viajam.

Before The Future Comes
Before The Future Comes

“Birthing,” (“Alumbramiento”, Sireneé Limon-Lason Blanco, Mexico)

In 1870s Mexico, Matilde defies gender norms, becoming the first female student at the National School of Medicine. Limon-Lasonis a communication science graduate with three awarded film scripts, including “Birthing,” developed under FONCA Young Creators. The script, which received the IMCINE Film Creators Incentive in 2022, advised by Elisa Miller, has sparked interest for a series adaptation.

“Bonaventura,” (Héctor Cañas, Sergio Salgueiro, Argentina)

In this science fiction narrative, three crew members are stranded on a dilapidated space freighter with dwindling oxygen after an accident, leading to a grim set of circumstances that test their bonds. The script was chosen as a Ventana Sur/Blood Window’s 2022 Tinta Oscura finalist.

Bonaventura
Bonaventura

“Carroloco,” (Robert Brand Ordóñez, Colombia)

Nine-year-old Eduardito, a.k.a. “Carroloco,” dreams of buying a superhero suit to heal his paralyzed leg. However, he gets entangled with a dangerous gang, revealing the harsh reality of his isolation. A 2023 Talents Buenos Aires Alumnus, Afro-Amazonian filmmaker Brand explores violence in Colombia through spiritual realism, merging Afro beliefs with Amazonian magic. He’s developing short “Once the Herons Return.”

“Electric Angel,” (“Angel Electrico”, Carlos Franco Esguerra, Colombia)

Selected in BAM Stories, Cinefilia Int’l Script Lab, story revolves around lawyer Horacio, who once sacrificed humanitarian ideals for family wealth and now faces a crisis when son Ernesto rejects a job at his firm to pursue a macabre Electric Angel device. A celebrated scriptwriter, series creator, Franco’s credits include “Men of God,” “Cazando Luciérnagas.”

“The Escape,” (“La Fuga”, Rolando Meléndez, Puerto Rico)

In this neo noir police drama, agent Belén Santiago seeks redemption by investigating a murder in a Puerto Rican mountain town. Driven by guilt over her mother’s death, she uncovers corruption and moral dilemmas, realizing those closest to her cause the most harm. Received development support from the Ibermedia Program and Cine Qua Non Lab in 2022.

“Floating Floor,” (“Piso Flotante”, Lorenzo Tocco, Uruguay)

In Montevideo, Cuban immigrant El Papi (36) survives by singing boleros in an abandoned house. When owner Walter (70) returns, they bond while renovating. Tensions rise when Papi prioritizes singing, causing irreparable cracks. Filmmaker Tocco’s multi-award-winning short “Bodas de oro” was acquired by HBO MAX. “Floating Floor” secured ACAU funds in 2022, mentored by Leo Garcia.

“Give Me Your Tired,” (Horacio Ramírez, Mexico)

In road movie-drama, American border patrol officer Chris accidentally kills a migrant child during a drug operation. To salvage his career, he escorts the grieving mother, Leticia, cross-country. Their journey exposes racial prejudices, guilt, and shattered illusions of the “American Dream.” Developed under Peter McPhee’s mentorship, the film gained IMCINE support and accolades at the Colombia Guión Lab.

“The Passion of Lorenzo,” (“La pasión de Lorenzo,”Francisco Javier Carreño Fernández, Chile)

After Chile’s 1973 Coup d’etat, Navy Captain Lorenzo attempts to save his son, a prominent leftist figure, from government persecution. Script development was financed by the Audiovisual Development Fund, sponsored by Chile’s Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Patrimony.

“Spellbound,” (“Amarrados,” Lucila Las Heras, Matías Alejandro Gamio, Argentina)

A woman casts a love spell on her crush who tragically dies. His spirit threatens to eternally  torment her unless she can reverse the incantation. Authors were mentored by Luiso Berdejo, Axel Kuschevatzky, Pablo Guisa, Alejandro Brugues and Franz Novotny at Mexico’s Fantastic Fest.

“Through the Fog,” (“Névoa Baixa,”Eugenia Kimura, Brasil)

Saki lives under the rule of her oppressive mother until she takes her daughter on vacation. After a flight cancellation she decides to roam Sao Paulo, a choice that further complicates matters. The project was a semifinalist for the Cabiria Award in 2023

“Uky and Lola in the Land of Fire,” (“Uky y Lola, en tierra del Fuego,”Fabian Andrade, Chile)

The project, featured at Cannes Marché du Film, follows Young Selk’nam Uly and Shaman in training, Lola, as they work to unlock ancient magic and save their tribe from encroaching ranchers.

<strong>Uky and Lola in the Land of Fire</strong>
Uky and Lola in the Land of Fire

“Valizas,” (Rodolfo Santullo, Uruguay)

In 1970s Valizas during the Uruguayan military dictatorship, fisherman Ulises shelters his sister Penelope and her partner, Mario, from persecution. Tensions escalate as old feuds surface, endangering everyone. Santullo’s “The Eagle’s Heist,” won SoloSerieS at Ventana Sur 2021. “Valizas” is backed by Uruguay’s 2022 Film Script Development Fund.

“Wild Horse,” (“Cimarrón,”Mariana Chiesa, Juan Sabio, Argentina)

Marginalized teen, Aarón, spends his summer tending to a racehorse where he meets the daughter of a pastor and contorts his personality to attract her affections, betraying his beliefs in the process. The project was selected by INCAA’s Raymundo Gleyzer contest in 2020.

“Yaguar,” (Roberto Gervitz, Brasil)

Leo looks for his uncle, trained as a Cuban guerrilla in the 60’s. The search leads him to El Negro, a vet who asks him to join in the rescue of an endangered jaguar. Inspired by true events, the script won the Projeto Paradiso sponsorship.

“Y si Adelita…,” (María de la Luz Jaimes Miranda, Mexico)

Twelve-year-old Adela flees the Mexican Revolution’s brutality after witnessing her mother’s assault. Over ten episodes, Adela matures, finding refuge in various places, experiencing loss, love, and even joining a women’s army. Writer’s eponymous short film “Y si Adelita…” has won 21 awards. Screenplay recognized with a Toast for Moët & Chandon at FICG 2023, with Manolo Caro, Karla Souza and Gabriel Nuncio advising.

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