SAN SEBASTIAN – Highlighting exceptional early international business on an exceptional Latin American arthouse title, Films Boutique has sold Diego Quemada-Diez’s “La jaula de oro” to a slew of territories.
World preeming in this year’s Cannes Un Certain Regard, “Jaula,” an immigration drama-thriller, opens San Sebastian’s Horizontes Latinos showcase of recent Latin America movies Friday, competing for its Horizontes Award, which comes with a €35,000 ($46,000) cash prize.
The feature debut of Quemada-Diez, a former Ken Loach camera assistant born in Spain but now based out of Mexico and L.A., “Jaula” has added the U.K. (Peccadillo), Spain (Golem), Italy (Parthenos), Brazil (Cafco/Cicurel Art Film) and Colombia (Cineplex) to already-announced deals with Pretty Pictures for France and Wild Bunch Benelux.
Other new deals include Switzerland (Xenix Films), Norway (Fidalgo), Taiwan (Maison Motion), Greece (Strada Films) and Hungary (Cirko Films).
Films Boutique’s Jean-Christophe Simon told Variety on the eve of San Sebastian that the sales company had different offers to acquire “Jaula’s” rights for the U.S., Latin America pay TV and Germany. Films Boutique expects to close these three zones this month.
It is growing industry lore that these days only name foreign-language or arthouse directors sell worldwide. “Jaula” looks to be proving an exception. It tracks three 14-year-olds from Guatemala who attempt to make it to the U.S. in search of a better life.
Mexican and Central American immigration movies are now legion, forming almost a genre in themselves. The stars have aligned on “La jaula de oro,” however.
Bowing in Un Certain Regard, it was one of the most raved-about titles. Its prize – for its young ensemble cast – was the most applauded of the section’s plaudits.
The film packs a sense of new talent not only in its cast and director but also producers, yoking two of Mexico’s most exciting young production houses: Edher Campos’ Machete Productions, the company behind Michael Rowe’s Cannes Camera d’Or winner “Leap Year,” and Inma Payan’s Animal de Luz, whose co-production credits include Adrian Caetano’s “Mala” and Beatriz Sanchis’ “Everyone Is Dead.”
Above all, however, the film stands on its own merits.
“There have been many films about illegal immigration in the U.S. Probably what makes ‘La jaula de oro’ so different and so strong is that the film always focuses on its characters, their feelings, fears and hopes,” Simon said. “The film makes you sometimes laugh, often cry and you are not the same at the end of this trip.”