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Argentina into the fry looks to co-produce novelas.

Entunese Manana (Tune In Tomorrow) can be seen on Argentine TV stations nationwide. Producers are looking at Manana as a possible product for co-production. Like other Latin American producers of novelas, this country is proud of its product.

Unlike its sister Brazilian novelas, soaps in Argentina are more conservative, like their Mexican counterparts. They center around the home and deal with the human condition and relationships.

Pedro Felix Leda, president of Ledafilms S.A., promotes the idea of romance. "Latin American-produced telenovelas are popular internationally, probably for the same reason that soap operas are popular in the U.S. They are romantic stories with a touch of drama and humor.

"Maybe what makes them particularly attractive is the fact that the stories don't go on for years and years. Telenovelas have a total of 140 to 200 one hour episodes, which means that as successful as a particular title may be, the audience knows that the story will end within the TV season." (In Argentina, they play Monday through Friday and last seven to nine months.)

As in the sister Latin American countries, a powerful story is the most important ingredient for Argentine soaps. "If the story is well told and believably acted, all you need are good production values," said Leda.

"Because the production costs are so high, only major countries in Latin America can afford to produce on a continuous basis," Leda continued. "Taking into consideration the amount of episodes involved, every project represents an investment of over $4 million."

Leda seeks "sexy" looking actors for his soaps. "But more than a sexuality, the actors must be credible to the viewers." Soaps play both in the afternoon and evening in Argentina, but the story can be "racier" in the evening. "We even add adult humor to the soaps in the evening hours," added Leda.

Ledafilms is looking at co-productions for the future. "Discussions have started between Latin American producers and European partners. We are interested in many projects," enthused Leda. The film executive undertakes two to three new projects per year. "Even telenovelas from Venezuela and Mexico have succeeded in the Argentina's market," he said.

According to Leda, one can distinguish Argentina novelas from the other Latin American soaps since "the novelas have the highest quality. When you keep the international markets in mind, that is a very important factor." At this time, the largest Mexican and Venezuelan production companies are making arrangements to start working in Argentina as early as this year.

"Without European partners, production in Europe can cost as much as 10 times more. Also, telenovelas are a Latin American specialty. We have an undisputed know-how. For example, one of the leading executives of Spain's Telecinco is in Buenos Aires today. Next week, we are expecting the visit of a senior producer from Australia."
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Title Annotation:Ledafilms S.A.
Publication:Video Age International
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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