Mexico: Up Next! Mayra Espinosa Castro, Auteur Genre and Beyond

Portrait of Mexican producer Mayra Espinosa
Courtesy of Mayra Espinosa Castro

A Producers Network Badge winner at Los Cabos and Jorge Michel Grau’s producer partner at Velarium Arts

LOS CABOS – Winner at Mexico’s Los Cabos Festival of a Cannes Film Market Producers Network Badge Award for “Keep Quiet,” presented at Cabos Discovery, Mayra Espinosa Castro, Jorge Michel Grau’s producer partner at Mexico City’s Velarium Arts, belongs to a modern Mexican humanistic tradition of genre auteur production first fostered by Guillermo del Toro.

Most of those films, including some highly courted titles, come from Grau himself. He wrapped the shoot on Sunday Nov. 15 on the Elle Driver-sold “7:19,” a suspense drama with social dimensions set around Mexico City’s 1985 earthquake, exec-produced by Daniel Birman Ripstein’s at Alameda Films (“The Crime of Father Amaro”), and co-produced by “Instructions Not Included” producer Monica Lopez who will distribute in Mexico via her new Alebrije Distribution shingle.

Ready for delivery in April 2016, “7:19” portrays how a politician, played by Oscar-nominated Demian Bichir (“A Better Life”), and a humble night watchman (Hector Bonilla) are trapped together when nine storeys of a building crash down on them. They have only each other as they face death.

“The film turns on breaching class divides,” said Mayra Espinosa Castro adding that one of its ironies is that the politician stole from the public purse to construct the building without the requisite safeguards.

As in his breakout “We Are What We Are,” Grau’s horror-thriller “Keep Quiet,” in development, offers a genre take on dysfunctional family relations, turning on an increasingly violent adolescent son who thinks his father’s a werewolf, whom he’ll have to slaughter. “Keep Quiet” is in final draft, and majority financed thanks to Mexican Eficine 189 tax coin, she said. Velarium isnow seeking gap finance, Castro said.

At Berlin, Mayra Espinosa Castro will present “Yamaha 300,” a Miami-set thriller, thanks to a prize won at March Guadalajara Talents. At Berlin, she will seek investors and pre-sales. Cast by then will be attached. It turns on two drug mules waiting for hours on a small boat at open sea for a plane to throw them a cocaine consignment. Both know that only one of them will survive.

“We’re an independent production company, making mid-sized or small films, always seeking international co-production, with an interest in new talent,” said Espinosa Castro. “And our productions don’t necessarily have to be horror films.”

Of new talent, Velarium is producing the Fundacion Carolina supported debut of Mexican Ernesto Anaya and will co-produce Edgar Nito’s “Tatewari,” produced by Varios Lobos.

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