Colombia’s Ruben Mendoza Preps ‘El Patron

Pic marks follow-up to Cartagena Fest winner ‘Dust on the Tongue’

BOGOTA – Multi-laurelled Colombian director Ruben Mendoza, whose “Dust on the Tongue” swept best Colombian film and director at 2014’s Cartagena Fest, the country’s biggest film meet, has set his next film, “El patron ultravioleta.”

Produced by the Bogota-based Dia Fragma Fabrica de Peliculas and Thierry Lenouvel’s Cine-Sud Promotion, plus Hangar Films, “Dust,” which Cineplex opens Thursday in Colombia, portrays an iron-fisted but dying family patriarch who begs his grandchildren to put him out of his misery.

Delivering a more optimistic take on family dynamics, “Patron” narrates how three semi-estranged step-sisters unite to accompany their 12-year-old half-sister to her new home in Colombia after their father’s death. On the trip to an aunt’s home, they give advice to the girl about life, who is in the throes of pubescence.

Mendoza’s fourth feature – after “The Stoplight Society,” “Dust” and “Practically Dead,” “Patron” is once more set up at Bogota’s Dia Fragma, which is headed by Mendoza and producer Daniel Garcia. Unspooling over a week between Cali, South-West of Bogota, and Mompox, a colonial city in Northern Colombia, “Patron” talks about the reconstitution of a family along far more egalitarian lines than the moribund patriarchy of “Dust.”

“A film about a family gathering, ‘El Patron’ now has a completed screenplay, Garcia said at the Bogota Audiovisual Market.

To finance “Patron,” Diafragma will look towards funding from Colombia’s FDC Film Development Fund, co-production in France, or Norway’s Sorfond, and Ibermedia funding for co-production, Garcia added.

Late-life redemption tale “Practically Dead,” the latest film from Ruben Mendoza (“The Stoplight Society”), won the Cinecolor Colombia Prize, worth $15,000 in production services, at last year’s BAM.

Dia Fragma’s slate underscores the key role often played by France for a Colombia-based art film producer. “Dust” is one of two Dia Fragma-Cine-Sud Promotion co-productions set for release this summer. On Aug. 28, Elba McAllister’s Cineplex will bow in Colombia the second, Maria Gambao’s “Mateo,” about a young man dispatched by his extortionist uncle to infiltrate a theater group. “Mateo” received a special mention at 2013’s BAM.

Of other Dia-Fragma productions, Nicolas Buenaventura’s “Kairos: el momento oportuno” has received aid from France’s World Cinema Support fund.

France can also offer training – “Dust” was written at Cannes Cinefondation-Residence, as well as Chile’s Australab and Mexico’s Morelia Lab – as well as wide-ranging expertise.

‘Thierry Lenouvel knows how to deal with things, can advise when to push and when to pull back with stories, and he can bring a European vision to projects,” said Garcia.

Mendoza is currently shooting a docu-feature, “Senorita Maria Luisa: La falta de la montana,” about a now 40-something man who was disguised as a girl when a young boy.

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