PEDRO LEDA: ADAPTING TO LATIN AMERICA'S FLUCTUATIONS.

Position:Interview
 
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Video Age: When did you start in the entertainment business?

Pedro Leda: In 1957, at the age of 19, I had two jobs. First I started with an advertising company, Lowe Argentina, as a copywriter. My immediate supervisor at Lowe was Carlos D'Agostino, a well-known newscaster at the recently started television station, Channel 7. D'Agostino became one of the first independent producers for the new media. I also worked as a freelance children's news researcher for D'Agostino. The following year I became the head of the television department for Ricardo de Luca, one of the largest advertising agents in Argentina.

VA: We understand you speak German fluently. Why?

P.L.: Because I was born in Hamburg. My parents barely made it out of Germany before the Holocaust.

VA: What was television distribution like in Argentina in the late '50s?

P.L.: It was very primitive in a way because there was no video tape and everything was produced live in black and white. But it was fun. There was only one network in Buenos Aires in those days, Channel 7. We did not have to carry a projector because everybody had 16 mm projectors, but we traveled with a lot of 16 mm reels. They were very heavy!

VA: When you were the head of the television department of the large ad agency, what did you do?

P.L.: I produced live programs along with the commercials. As I said, there was no video tape. In those days we had 11 shows per week. Everything was made with few tools, very low budgets and a lot of work, especially when the spots didn't go as planned. I remember when we were working on a commercial for a cognac and didn't realize to put tea inside the bottle instead of real cognac. When the taster took a sip of the cognac, he started to cough like mad, and we had to cut and go to something else!

VA: How long were you with Ricardo de Luca?

P.L.: Two years. I left the company in January of 1960 and started to work independently.

VA: That was the beginning of Ledafilms?

P.L.: No, not yet. I met a man with whom I formed a company. We worked together for 14 years until 1974, when I sold my stock to him and started Ledafilms on my own.

VA: What was the company you created in 1960?

P.L.: The company still exists -- Telefilms. It's now run by the Darcyl brothers. The partnership I started was with their dad, who has since passed away, Leon Darcyl. He was in charge of acquisitions and I was in charge of sales, which included production, advertising and the distribution of films in Latin America.

VA: Ledafilms distributed a lot of Twentieth Century Fox product. How did that relationship develop?

P.L.: Between 1974 and 1996, for 22 years, we were the Twentieth Century Fox Television International sales agent in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. I formed Ledafilms in July of 1974, and I took over as the Fox sales agent in September of that year. Recently, as of 1998, we became the sales agents for basic pay TV and free TV in all of Latin America for Dreamworks.

VA...

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