Thursday, April 8, 2010

RIP Oscar Kramer

Oscar Kramer, one of Argentina's most distinguished and international-minded producers, died Wednesday following a long illness in Buenos Aires. He was 72.

Kramer came to film production relatively late in life, producing Carlos Sorin's "Eversmile, New Jersey" in 1989 after working with Marcelo Pineyro on the production of Luis Puenzo's "The Official Story" in 1985, the country's first film to win an Oscar.

He broke through with Pineyro's "Burnt Money," a hit at the box office in 2000, and worked with Pineyro again "Kamchatka," the country's submission for the 2002 Oscars.Kramer, chairman of his indie label Kramer & Sigman Films, also worked with other established directors like Hector Babenco, producing his "Carandiru" and "The Past" starring Gael Garcia Bernal, and with new voices: Carlos Sorin, Israel Adrian Caetano and Damian Szifron. These directors embodied an ever-more dominant strain of new Argentina cinema: auteurs seeking widening audiences beyond the festival circuit. "Carandiru" and Caetano's "Buenos Aires 1977" both played in competition at Cannes. Gentlemanly, Kramer's dream was to produce a bigscreen adaptation of "El eternauta," a sci-fi graphic novel about people fighting invading aliens, giant insects and enslaved humans that was set up as a co-production with Pedro and Augustin Almodovar's El Deseo in Madrid. At the time of his death, he was producing "Los marziano," by Ana Katz, while in development was Szifron's "El extranjero," a sci-fi thriller.

Kramer also was a big proponent of attracting more foreign shoots to Argentina, helping to fund the local industry. He line-produced UGC's "Lucky Luke," (2009) directed by James Huth.

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