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York's Latino Division Hits the Ground Running

28 Feb, 2002 By: Jessica Wolf

It's full steam ahead for York Entertainment's plans to expand into the Latin American video market.

Last week, the independent supplier gave the greenlight for its first all-Latino-cast film, hired a director of Latin American sales and hit the ground running toward international distribution at this year's American Film Market (AFM) trade-show/film festival held in Santa Monica, Calif. Feb 2 to -27.

“I'm excited about expanding into the Latino market,” York Entertainment president Tanya York said. “I kind of see it now where the urban market was about four years ago and I've developed the largest catalog of urban product in the industry.

“Now we're starting into the Latino market hoping it will end up where we are now with urban, if not surpassing it.”

One way to ensure that, York said, was to bring on a video industry veteran who has a strong understanding of, and ties to, the Latin market.

Mauricio Buendia, new director of Latin American sales will be based in York's Los Angeles offices and will not only focus on sales and marketing of York titles in Latin America and Spain, but also help with licensing agreements and acquisitions for the company's York En Español video line.

Buendia joins York from Latin Vision, a consulting firm he founded in 1994, based in the United States. He has also served as director of domestic and international Spanish markets for Handleman Co.'s Spanish music and video division, opening mass merchant accounts domestically with Kmart and Wal-Mart, and launching video sellthrough operations in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. Buendia also served as VP of domestic Spanish markets and Latin America with Full Moon Entertainment and Vestron.

York's first Latin title, called Barrio Wars, an action-drama with a romantic twist á la Romeo and Juliet is already in the casting process and will be made for less than $1 million. The studio has plans for 10 urban or Latin original productions this year.

For the first time, Tanya York and her company participated as sellers at AFM last week. York has participated in AFM as a buying entity for years, she said, but this year part of the focus was to find new Latin American distribution partners and further develop existing deals for the company's international expansion.

York said in the next few weeks the supplier will have a schedule set for international releases.

York also said the company is taking some of its better performing catalog product that is available subtitled in Spanish and repromoting it in the Latin market.

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