MIAMI – Following up “Satan – Profile of a Killer,” “The Hidden Face,” “Roa,” and “Metastasis” – the Sony Television-produced Latino version of “Breaking Bad” – Andres Baiz (pictured), one of new Colombia cinema’s founding fathers, will direct “Domestic Animals,” a Miami-set dramedy which marks his first – if only part – English-language feature.
“Animals” is set up at Colombia’s Dynamo – where Baiz is a partner – a member of Participant PanAmerica, and a driving force in Colombia and Latin American film production.
Since bursting on the scene with 2007’s “Satan,” Baiz has attracted large international attention. “The Hidden Face” was co-produced and co-sold by Fox International Productions (FIP); Disney-backed Patagonik co-produced “Roa,” which is nominated for a Best Picture kudo at the 1st Platino Ibero-American Film Awards on April 5.
Though varying widely – “Satan,” starring Mexico’s Damian Alcazar (“The Chronicles of Narnia: Lord Caspian”), studied what turns a neurotic loner into a serial killer; “Face” was a psychological thriller, and “Roa,” the 1948-set story of the alleged assassin of Colombian presidential candidate Jorge Gaitan – Baiz’s first three films, are all dark genre pieces with anti-heroes, as he himself pointed out at the Miami Festival’s ACE Co-Production Lab.
“Domestic Animals” marking a decidedly new direction, something more “everyday,” Baiz said.
It turns on Marien, an illegal Columbian maid in Miami, who works at the house of Claudia, a well off Colombian and ex-beauty pageant queen. Marien dreams of buying a computer, learning English and saving up enough to bring her daughter over from Colombia. Claudia’s marriage is falling apart; Marien befriends Luis, a zoo watchman.
All the characters, like the animals at the zoo, live in a context that is alien to their nature, Baiz said of the film’s titular metaphor.
“Domestic Animals” will shoot in Miami in Spanish with some English dialogue, he added. He conceives it as a dramedy in the line of “Lost in Translation,” “Nebraska” or “Gloria.” It has already won about $350,000 from Colombia’s Development Fund.
Options for further funding include international co-production funds such as Ibermedia or, if a U.S. company becomes involved, Florida film incentives, Baiz said.
“Miami is a melting pot for Latin immigration. The film deals with both types of Latin immigration, rich and poor people. It is a ‘Latin film.’ Audiences all over Latin America can identify with this story, make it theirs.”