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Franco, Rowe open ‘Hotel’

Skein will be made by their new Lucia Films for Mexico TV

MORELIA, Mexico

Cannes laureates Michel Franco and Michael Rowe are teaming up to create “Hotel Garage” for the smallscreen in Mexico via Franco’s new shingle, Lucia Films.

The 13-episode skein is the latest shepherded by Canal 11 prexy Rafael Lugo who over the last couple of years has commissioned programs including “Soy tu fan” and “Nino Santo” from indie Canana Films — Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna and producer Pablo Cruz’s shingle — lining up some of Mexico’s top talent in front of and behind the camera.

“We have to really give credit to Canal 11, because they are doing what nobody else has done, Franco told Variety.

Franco said Rowe would direct most or all episodes of “Hotel Garage” — a generic term in Mexico for clandestine love hotels. While Franco may direct a few episodes, his role will be more as producer.

Franco, whose “After Lucia” won Un Certain Regard this year and is Mexico’s choice for foreign language Oscar consideration, met Rowe at Cannes in 2010, when Rowe’s “Leap Year” won the Camera d’Or, where Franco was premiering his first feature, “Daniel & Ana.” The pair quickly developed a friendship and professional relationship.

“We see films the same way, cinema the same way,” said Franco, adding he would like to write his next project with Rowe.

Franco and Rowe made the announcement at the Morelia Film Festival, which wraps this weekend, where they also launched Lucia Films with Moises Zonana, who will run the company’s financial side.

In addition to “Hotel Garage,” Lucia’s first slate includes “Buffalo of the Night” director Jorge Hernandez Aldana’s “Los herederos” (The Heirs), a coming-of-age tale set in mid-90s Monterrey; first-time helmer Gabriel Ripstein’s “600 millas” (600 Miles), a drug-war drama set on the Arizona-Sonora border; and docu “Ancora” directed by Vicky Franco, Michel’s sister, with whom he co-directed “A los ojos” (To the Eyes), which is set for festival play in 2013.

Monica del Carmen, who won a Silver Ariel for her performance in Rowe’s “Leap Year,” tops “A los ojos.”

Franco said Lucia Films is also co-producing Tony Gatlif’s upcoming “Gypsy Star” along with producer Claudie Ossard. “Star” turns on a group of Flamenco dancers stranded on tour in Mexico and is shot on location. Franco said Lucia Films is currently assisting in script development.

“It’s very exciting, because he’s a director I admire,” added Franco. “I’m going to be on the set all the time learning from Tony.”

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