Ecuador and Mexico Float Submarine Thriller

Sophomore pic by Ecuador’s Alfredo Leon (‘Open Wound’)

GUADALAJARA — Four people are trapped inside a stalled, makeshift submarine for a week. This is “Submersible,” a rare co-production between Ecuador and Mexico among the myriad projects at Guadalajara’s 10th Ibero-American Co-Production Meeting.

Penned and to be helmed by Ecuador’s Alfredo Leon, “Submersible” channels Wolfgang Petersen’s “Das Boot” among its cinematic references to present a suspense thriller with mainstream potential.

Co-producers Diego Ortuno of Dominio Digital, Ecuador, and Laura Irene Arvizu of Teeka Films, Mexico, are on the lookout for production partners from Colombia and Europe.

So far, drama has up to 22% of its $1.3 million budget covered by funds from co-production fund Ibermedia and Ecuador while it will be looking to tap Mexican incentives.

“We hope to find distribution and an international sales agent aside from co-production partners,” said Arvizu. Pic is also taking part in Cartagena’s and Toulouse’s co-production meetings.

Now on its third draft, Leon’s screenplay is inspired by real accounts of home-made submarines being deployed by drug traffickers.

“My story explores the people in the sub, many of them simple, humble fishermen, who the drug traffickers convince to make this dangerous voyage,” said Leon. Leon’s directorial debut “Mono con Gallinas” (Open Wound) was also produced by Dominio Digital.

While 90% of the film will be shot inside the sub, pic will require the use of a water tank so talks are underway with Baja Studios, where James Cameron’s “Titanic” was shot. Teeka Films will draw on its ocean-set shoot experience with various docus and Richard Parkin’s short “Contra el Mar,” (Against the Sea), a finalist for the 2012 Student Academy Awards.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more