Mexican Fest funds 10 titles
LOS CABOS — Jeff Unay’s “Greywater,” Kyzza Terrazas’ “We Are Tongue” and Rodrigo Cervantes’ “Landscapes” were among the big winners of 2015 Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund grants, all awarded the equivalent of $52,000 in post-production services by LaboDigital, a Latin American film service group.
An initiative of Los Cabos Festival, the GFFF also adjudicated $5,000 development awards to seven projects, including two at this year’s Cabos’ Discovery co-pro forum: Andrea Pallaoro’s “Beauty Salon” and Paulina del Paso’s “Skin Deep.”
In a further award, producer Nicolas Celis took home a $25,000 worth of services from Splendor Omnia-Mantarraya for “Soy Negro,” a war film that marks a change of direction for Iran-born Rafi Pitts that Celis co-produced with Thanassis Karathanos (“Clouds of Sils Maria,” “Ajami”).
Sourced from the Tribeca Film Institute Documentary Film Fund, in a project exchange relationship between Los Cabos and the TFI, “Grey Water” is a profile of Mixed Martial Art fighter Joe Carman helmed by Unay, a director, cinematographer and VFX specialist, whose post-pro credits include “Avatar” and “King Kong.”
Produced by Carlos Sosa (“Sopladora de Hojas”) and vet Laura Imperiale (“Of Love and Other Demons,” “Nora’s Will”), docu feature “We Are Tongue” charts how Mexicans find a sense of group identity and self respect in rap. A film about “the power of words,” rap and hip-hop culture and a chronicle of youth and violence in Mexico, per Sosa, “We Are Tongue” is directed by Terrazas, an industry all-rounder who wrote Gael Garcia Bernal’s directorial debut “Deficit,” exec-produced Gerardo Naranjo’s “Voy a explotar” and “Cochochi” and made his own feature debut with “Machete Language.”
A broken family narrative feature, and the feature debut of London Film School alum Cervantes, “Landscapes” charts the relationship between two estranged brothers, living out a directionless self exile in Paris, and their corrupt father. Events force one to follow his father’s footsteps in crime.
One of the talked up projects pitched this week at Cabos Discovery, “Skin Deep” sees director Elisa Miller – whose “The Pleasure is Mine,” a tale of fractured love, won best First/Second Feature at Morelia last month – share production duties with Nicolas and Sebastian Celis at Pimienta Films. An exploration of female sexuality and its social mediation via a girl’s sexual awakening in a bakery, “Skin Deep” marks respected video artist/docu director Paulina del Paso’s fiction feature deb.
Set during a plague, “Beauty Salon” turns on a cross-dressing hair stylist offering a shelter to the dying. Andrea Pallaoro, whose “Medeas” won Marrakech, directs.
Five other feature projects also pulled down Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund development awards: Marcelino Islas’ teacher-student friendship drama “History Lessons”; “F.B.I.,” from respected docu filmmaker Gustavo Gamou (“The Return of the Dead”): docu feature “Outside of Prison,” by Catalan Pau Ortiz; “Rush Hour,” from Argentina-born Luciana Kaplan (“Eufrosina’s Revolution”); and Pedro Garcia Mejia’s drama “Tree.”