Mexican pix get fund boost

New state production fund financing 7 pix

MEXICO CITY — Going some way to show that 1998 will at last see a recovery for Mexican film, new state production fund, Foprocine, has approved $4.8 million in financing for an initial seven pics, two of which are already in post.

Of the seven, two are currently lensing: Antonio Serrano’s “Sexo, Pudor y Lagrimas” and Gabriel Retes’ “Un Dulce Olor a Muerte,” a Mexican-Spanish and Argentine co-production backed in part by top Spanish producer Andres Vicente Gomez.

Pics in pre-production are: Benjamin Cann’s “Cronica de un Desayuno,” starring Maria Rojo and Bruno Bichir, who co-scripted and will produce; Eduardo Rossoff’s “Ave Maria,” a co-prod with Spain starring Damian Alcazar; and Luis Estrada’s “La Ley y la Pistola,” which will feature Jesus Ochoa, Pedro Armendariz Jr. and Blanca Guerra.

Alejandro Springall’s “Santitos” and Carlos Carrera’s “El Embrujo” will get coin to complete post. Foprocine also will provide up to $50,000 to all seven for marketing.

Eduardo Amerena, head of film institute Imcine and supervisor of the fund, touts the aid as part risk capital and part loans but not handouts. He intends for Foprocine to recoup as producers sell domestic distribution rights.

Jaime Humberto Hermosillo’s comedy “Esmeralda Comes by Night” recently recouped via a distribution deal with Buena Vista Intl., Imcine production director Gustavo Montiel noted.

Foprocine, created last December, has a total $16 million to disburse. Altogether, Amerena intends to fund 18 features this year with his combined Imcine/Foprocine budget of $24 million.