BUENOS AIRES — In one of the keystone deals on a high-profile new Argentine title at Ventana Sur, Disney’s Buena Vista Intl. has acquired the rights to Argentina and Uruguay and also TV/VOD rights to Latin America on “Dark Buildings.”
A psychological thriller of large social resonance, “Dark Buildings” headlines two of Argentina’s most admired actors: Venice best actor winner Oscar Martínez (“The Distinguished Citizen”) and Joaquin Furriel, who broke out with a bravado performance in “El Patrón” and has gone on to star in HBO Latin America’s big 2017 hit, “The Bronze Garden.”
Guido Rud’s FilmSharks Intl. has also boarded “Dark Buildings” and will introduce the title to buyers at a private screening on Tuesday at Ventana Sur.
Lead produced by Buenos Aires-based M y S Producciones, the company behind breakout hits “Abzurdah” and “El Hilo Rojo,” “Dark Buildings” underscores the ever-deeper involvement of major U.S. companies in local business in Latin America, weighing in as a now Disney-distributed DirecTV Original whose producers include powerful Argentine broadcast network Telefe, owned by Viacom since November 2016.
Also produced by Cindy Teperman, DK Group, Benteveo Producciones Audiovisuales, Royal Cinema and Non Stop, and co-produced out of Spain by Santiago Segura’s Bowfinger Intl. Pictures, “Dark Buildings’” further sales include A Contracorriente Films for Spain, and Cinecolor Films for Chile, Colombia and Peru.
Directed by Nicolas Gil Lavedra (“Verdades verdaderas, la vida de Estela”), and co-written with Emiliano Torres, who made a standout directorial debut with “The Winter,” “Dark Buildings” also signals the latest movie in one of Argentina’s large film traditions: an upscale mainstream fiction which attempts to dig deep into social malaise, here the gulf between Argentina’s privileged elite and put-upon workers and a society where everyone, it seems, are scam artists, beginning with a construction company which doesn’t observe elementary safety regulations.
“Dark Buildings” begins with a beautiful young woman turning up at an architect’s firm, Borla & Associates, to ask for the whereabouts of one Nelson Jara. Its partners, Mario Borla and Marta Hovart and exploited architect-come-construction overseer Pablo Simó all claim total ignorance about Jara. They are all of course lying.
As a first trailer suggests, and Simó recalls in the film’s main body of flashbacks, Jara lived in the building next to a construction site whose cost-cutting irregular construction by Borla & Associates, causes a crack to appear in Jara’s living room wall. Jara alleges, demanding compensation for his silence.
“Dark Buildings” has several things going for it. Lavedra drew an upbeat reaction for his debut, “Verdades verdaderas”;
“Dark Buildings” is based on Claudia Piñeiro’s bestseller, published in Spain and Latin America (Alfaguara), Italy (Feltrinelli), Serbia (Profil), Greece (Nikonopoulos), the U.S. and U.K, Australia/New Zealand (Bitter Lemon Press), Germany (Fisher) and France (Actes Sud).
Above all, perhaps, Disney and Telefe have proved the most powerful distribution/marketing players in recent Argentine film history, one of the two being involved in near all of its biggest hits, and here they are working together.
Disney has grabbed prime box office real estate for its launch, on Jan. 18, in Argentina’s high-Summer, when the movie will be released on about 250 screens.