News Column

Cinema Puerto Rico Launches at the American Film Market

PR Newswire



LOS ANGELES, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- While Hollywood executives bang their heads, looking for the key to Hispanics' hearts and pockets, Puerto Rico will launch Cinema Puerto Rico, a promising strategy to market films that will woo the Hispanic market with their visual quality and genuine stories. Cinema Puerto Rico will debut at the American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica, CA, announced the Puerto Rico Film Corporation's Executive Director, Luis Riefkohl.

Cinema Puerto Rico is the new effort by the Film Corporation to promote the renovated Puerto Rican film industry. Cinema Puerto Rico will showcase its portfolio both in English and Spanish, of over a dozen completed titles, as well as an additional nine in development.

This is no small feat for the Island, (a commonwealth of the US since 1952 with a population of four million), which in the 1950's and 1960's had a burgeoning film and television industry as well as numerous Latin American co-productions. Although the Island has some 260-movie theaters with long lines in front of them (Puerto Ricans are frequent moviegoers), national productions dwindled. The Corporation's strategy is to promote its 40% tax-credit incentive to attract foreign productions to the Island and keep funding and educating the new generations of die-hard creative filmmakers that are flourishing at this moment.

Puerto Rico's Film Industry has been reborn with the guidance of the Film Fund which started in 2001. The Film Fund helped promote the development of the film industry by providing the necessary incentives to stimulate the expansion of film production to Puerto Rico.

"Cinema Puerto Rico is possible because we have an active film industry, very talented filmmakers and a vision to share with the world. We offer a no-warranty loan available only to resident filmmakers that finances 80% of their budgets up to $1.2 million," explained Riefkohl.

"We are very lucky to have a government so active in providing the needed incentives for Puerto Rican films. Most of our films have been financed by either the Film Fund, salary incentives from the Department of Labor or pre-sales," said producer Frances Lausell, spokesperson for the Cinema Puerto Rico initiative and producer of Manuela y Manuel, an official selection of AFI's Film Festival which is premiering on November 5th at the Archlight Theatres in Los Angeles, CA.

"Puerto Rico deals with the same growing pains as other markets to make our feature films financially profitable. We do the low budget, sincere story, great production values and passion formula," she added.

The film industry has also survived thanks to the advertising industry, which keeps filmmakers working and experimenting between their own films and their work on foreign films produced on the Island. "This also means," Riefkohl pointed out, "Puerto Rico has a sophisticated talent pool from both the technical and creative disciplines."

As an example Riefkohl mentioned acclaimed veteran and newcomer filmmakers. Both veterans Jacobo Morales and Pedro Muniz had their movie, Lo que le paso a Santiago nominated for the Academy Award's Foreign Film category in 1989. Newcomers Carlitos Ruiz and Mariem Perez's, Maldeamores, executive produced by Benicio del Toro, was one of the hottest premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival this year and will represent the Island in the Foreign Film category at the 2008 Academy Awards. All of these films and artists will be represented by Cinema Puerto Rico at their booth at AFM.

International co-productions also feed the industry, as is the case of a TV series currently in production, which will be broadcast simultaneously in Chile, Puerto Rico, the US and other Latin American countries. "Being bilingual, with a multicultural background and experienced at different types of productions puts Puerto Rico in an ideal position to fill a void for Hispanic or Latino themed films. We do not want to go to the movies to see how others portray us. We just want to enjoy believable stories about life as we know it, as Salma Hayek's 'Ugly Betty' has demonstrated. That is what Cinema Puerto Rico offers," Lausell commented.

The biggest challenge, as with other budding industries around the world, is distribution. According to Riefkohl, this is where Cinema Puerto Rico comes to action. "Unbeknownst to many around the world, we have all these excellent filmmakers, some upcoming and some veterans in the field. We have a cultural diversity that sounds real to Latin Americans, Hispanics in the US, and Europeans. We also have the edge and savvy that comes from dealing with the Hollywood industry and international co-productions. Cinema Puerto Rico showcases our products at key industry markets around the world."

Below, please find some of the films in Cinema Puerto Rico's portfolio, which will be showcased at AFM. Additional information on these films can be found at http://www.cinemapuertorico.info/.

New Titles: Manuela y Manuel Maldeamores Angel El Cimarron Casi Casi El Clown Meteoro. Isla Chatarra Carnivals of the Caribbean Desamores Ladrones y Mentirosos Agua con Sal In Production Party Time Kabo y Platon Las Caras de Jano La Mala In Development Marina Viejos Negocios El Sueno de America Lie with Me 1954 Invencible FilibertoRasgos For more information on Cinema Puerto Rico: http://www.cinemapuertorico.info/ or contact, Frances Lausell, isladigital@aol.com. Media contact, Monica M. Jaramillo, mjaramillo@normmarshall.com.Cinema Puerto Rico

Web site: http://www.cinemapuertorico.info/



Source: PR Newswire


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