TALENT: ‘The Hours With You’ World

Directorial debut by Catalina Aguilar Mastretta moves auds

If copious audience tears are anything to judge a film by, then Guadalajara Mezcal Prize contender “Las horas contigo,” (The Hours With You), by Catalina Aguilar Mastretta, is set to be one of the buzz films at Guadalajara.

Aguilar, who holds an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute (AFI) and has lived in L.A. the past five years, also penned screenplay. Her mother is Angeles Mastretta whose bestselling novels include “Arrancame la vida,” which helmer/producer Roberto Sneider took to the big screen.

Sneider, who has known Aguilar since she was in her teens, produced “Las horas contigo” after Aguilar showed him her first draft.

“I told her this would be a perfect first film after reading it,” said Sneider, whose other producing credits include “Frida,” “Dos crimenes” and most recently, “Deserted Cities,” which he also penned and helmed, starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Budgeted at $2 million, “Hours” was backed by funds from Mexican film incentive system Eficine 189 as well as Sneider’s Cuevano Films and U.S.-based La Banda Films.

Family drama revolves around three generations of women, the youngest of which, played by Cassandra Ciangherotti, is made to re-evaluate her set beliefs and ideas about love, family and motherhood while she and her estranged mother hold vigil by her dying grandmother. Pic also stars prominent Mexican thesps Maria Rojo and Isela Vega who play the mother and grandmother, respectively.

Shot for nearly six weeks at her own grandmother’s house in Puebla, pic is loosely based on Aguilar’s own experience when her grandmother was moribund for six months. “There is something about the routine of sadness, of being close to death that makes people say things they wouldn’t normally say,” said Aguilar.

Distrib Videocine is set to release pic in June.

Meanwhile, Aguilar has penned the script for romantic drama “Drawing Maple” for Andy Fickman to helm and is co writing the screenplay for Patricia Velasco’s sophomore pic, “Blanca Rosa” (a working title). She’s also developing her next feature to helm, based on her teen years. “I would like to cast real teenagers aged 15 or 16 for this one,” said Aguilar.

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