Mexico: Up Next! – Julio Chavezmontes, Tapping Carlos Reygadas for ‘Opus Zero’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Portrait of Mexican producer-scribe Julio Chavezmontes

Piano’s Chavezmontes fires up ambitious slate

LOS CABOS – Carlos Reygadas, whose directorial debut “Japan” brought down the flag on a new generation of director-producers that have revolutionized filmmaking in Mexico, has boarded Daniel Graham’s “Opus Zero.” Reygadas will take an associate producer credit. His involvement in “Opus Zero” follows British director Graham served as U.K. line-producer on Reygadas’ “Post Tenebras Lux.” It also marks one of the latest coups at Julio Chavezmontes’ production-distribution house, which is firing up an ambitious production slate with multiple Mexico-U.S. links.

“An important American actor,” said Chavezmontes, will star in “Opus Zero,” playing a U.S. musicologist who, after the death of his father, settles in Real de Catorce, a village in Northern Mexico, surrounded by remote desert, to reconstruct the end of an early twentieth century symphony written by a Norwegian composer. He also begins to investigate the disappearance of a woman from the village in 1980. Obsessed on both fronts, he becomes increasingly unhinged.

Piano is also prepping “Tiempo Compartido,” Sebastian Hofmann’s follow-up to “Halley,” and a large step-up in scale, a “big budget” – by Mexican standards. Featuring a star Mexican cast, “Tiempo,” “an unsettling comedy, a bit like a “’Poltergeist’ with laughs,” in Chavezmontes’ words, will be produced with the U.S. and U.K., he added. Influenced by “Dogtooth,” shot near totally in Spanish, with some scenes in English, “it’s a film with commercial elements without losing a sense of vanguard,” he added.

With Piano’s indie distribution op run by Andrea Castex, while Gabriel Stavenhageb heads up production, Piano is an attempt to create a real industry” in Mexico, Chavezmontes said.

Piano has three hallmarks, he added. “It bets on a different kind of cinema, films with international reach; it pushes the envelope on whatever it does; the other fundamental is international co-production.”

Co-written by Chavezmontes, like “Tiempo Compartido,” “Halley,” Hofmann’s debut, and Piano’s industry calling card was produced with the Netherlands. Also produced by Piano, “Echo of the Mountain,” Nicholas Echeverria’s 2014 Guadalajara winner, was exec produced by Michael Fitzgerald, who produced John Huston’s “The Dead.”

“Co-productions are not just to tap money but four partners to bring ideas, expertise,” Chavezmontes commented.

Expect Piano to see more illustrious collaborations.

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