“I always wanted to make films, but I knew that if I didn’t understand the business behind it, it would be a challenge,” he says. Living and studying in a multicultural environment like Austin profoundly changed his life. “I feel I had lived in a bubble in Mexico before that,” he muses.
After his studies, he hooked up with his childhood friend Michel Franco to executive produce Franco’s searing bully drama “Despues de Lucia” (“After Lucia”), which snagged the 2012 Un Certain Regard Prize at Cannes. They decided to make their partnership official, naming their shingle Lucia Films in honor of that title, and produced Franco’s first English-language pic, “Chronic,” and Gabriel Ripstein’s directorial debut, “600 Miles,” both starring Tim Roth.
It was an auspicious start. “600 Miles” won the 2015 Berlinale Best First Feature award in February while “Chronic” took home the Cannes Best Screenplay award in May. Lucia Films also co-produced Lorenzo Vigas’ feature debut, “Desde Alla,”(“From Afar”), which made cinematic history by being the first Venezuelan pic to win the Venice Golden Lion this year.
Aside from managing the production of other Lucia Films projects, including shorts, commercials and institutional ads, Zonana is prepping the next films by Vigas and Franco. Also in the pipeline is a Spanish-language pic that Roth wants to helm in Mexico.