Diego Luna, Garcia Bernal's co. producing film

Fresh off Sundance hit “Sin nombre,” Mexico’s production-distribution shingle Canana, founded by Pablo Cruz, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, has inked with Spain’s Irusoin to produce “Cefalopodo.”

“Cefalopodo” marks the sophomore feature of Ruben Imaz, whose debut, “Tortoise Family” is a Canana release, and is co-produced with Mexico’s Axolote Cine and government arthouse film fund Foprocine.

Drama toplines Basque thesp Unax Ugalde (“Che,” “Rosario Tijeras”), who won best actor at October’s Valladolid fest for “The Good News,” and Mexico’s Alejandra Ambrosi (“Navidad S.A.,” “Eavesdrop”).

Shooting starts this week in Mexico City and Bahia de Kino in the northern Mexican state of Sonora. “Cefalopodo” turns on a young Basque-Mexican, who travels to the limits of the Sonoran desert to attempt to overcome the sudden death of the girl he loved.

Canana has also greenlit “Jean Gentil,” the next film from Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas, whose first feature, “Cochochi,” won the 2007 Toronto fest Discovery Award.

“Gentil” will roll in late May-early June, Cruz said in Berlin Wednesday. It tracks a Haitian intellectual desperately looking for work in Santo Domingo, having lost his job as a French teacher, his only expertise.

Resorting to the same use of non-pros and authenticity of “Cochochi,” the lead will be played by the real-life Jean Remy Gentil. Pic is produced by Canana and the Dominican Republic’s Aurora Films. Film also received Ibermedia and Locarno fest funding.

Cruz said taht the two projects meet Canana’s original mandate, which is “empowering Latin American stories so that they cross over into the mainstream, and cross borders.”

Simltaneously, in what Cruz calls “a new era,” Canana is raising the ante both on production budgets and its distribution slate.

New films on Canana’s distributin lineup include Pablo Larrain’s “Tony Manero,” Matteo Garrone’s “Gomorra,” vampire tale “Let the Right One In,” “Mister Lonely” from Harmony Korine, and Jonas Cuaron’s debut, “Year of the Nail.”

Produced by Amy Kaufman, and exec produced by Canana, “Sin nombre” is the first fruit of Canana’s first-look production-distribution deal with Focus.

Gerardo Naranjo’s “I’m Gonna Explode” will have its Mexican preem at March’s Guadalajara fest, which forseeably will screen a bevy of Canana films.

“Guadalajara marks the beginning of our commercial identity,” said Cruz. “We know we can make arthouse movies; we’re now moving into bigger projects.”

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