As I promised, this posting will be a follow up to the prior posting in which I interviewed Adam Nelson, the head of acquisitions and distribution for a company called EBS Entertainment based out of Santa Monica, California. When we last spoke with Nelson, his company had acquired the rights to the Brazilian film entitled The Pit, and was planning a trip to the first ever film market held in South America. When I caught up with him for a follow up interview, Nelson had just returned from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Ventatana Sur film market.
I asked Nelson to share his experience of attending the first South American film market. According to Nelson, going into the market, EBS’s primary objective was to not only to shop their newly acquired Brazilian film, but also to meet with South American producers and filmmakers and hear proposals for new projects that they could potentially help co-produce. Nelson said that the climate of much of the film that is made in South America is mostly political, largely in part to the fact that most of the films that are made are financed by the government, and the storylines must be crafted to fit their agendas. Nelson said that his company had a hunch based on from what they’d seen from the film The Pit, that there was much untapped talent in South America, hampered by a lack of funding for their projects.
Luckily for Nelson and EBS, they learned upon their arrival to the market that their intuitions had been correct.
“There’s a lot of very talented story tellers in South America,” Nelson said. “One of the biggest problems they have though is that they have a very regional appeal. Most of the time, if they’re good, a local television station might pick up their films. But other than that, films don’t make very much money down there because there are so little cinemas for people to go to and many people can’t afford it…If they want to tap into those larger audiences they need to make stories with broader commercial appeal.”
Nelson and his associates spent four days at the market. He said that networking was a major focus of the event. They spent their days at a table set up at an old Harrod’s department store that had been used for the event. At night there were multiple functions, such as cocktail parties, that gave the many industry professionals from around the world the opportunity for networking.
Nelson said that all the networking they did at the market seemed to have paid off. They were able to meet with an Argentinean film maker who pitched them a project that they feel may possess both the quality story telling and broad commercial appeal that they sought. The project is a satire of the 1960s moon race between the United States and Russia. The premise of the film is that a man in a Chilean village has purchased the rights to land on the moon, in hopes of selling it to save his poor village. The film focuses on two agents as they work to resolve the issue, and get the truth behind whether or not this man has really purchased the rights to the moon.
Nelson said EBS might option the film and sign on to the project as international co-producers.