WB leans on Lemon

Mexico shingle inks for first-look deal

Warner Bros. Mexico has inked a one-year first-look option with Mexico City-based Lemon Films, the second Hollywood studio to pact with a Mexican shingle in the past six months.

WB will distribute Lemon’s films in Mexico and possibly other Spanish-speaking countries.

In October, Focus Features pacted with Canana Films, the shingle formed by thesps Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna with L.A.-based Mexican producer Pablo Cruz.

Lemon, founded by U.S.-educated brothers Billy and Fernando Rovzar, is ramping up productions and aims to put out two or three pictures a year.

Although WB was reluctant to announce titles, Lemon is working on helmer Alejandro Lozano’s bank-heist thriller “Sultanes del sur” (Sultans of the South). Pic is in the final stages of casting and will begin shooting in June in Argentina. Spain’s Filmax recently boarded pic, pushing budget to around $2.5 million.

Lemon’s first film, “Matando cabos,” Lozano’s dark comedy about a kidnapping, became Mexico’s highest-grossing local film of 2004. That drew the interest of Warner Bros. Mexico director Juan Manuel Borbolla. Pic was later screened at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. 

Shingle’s second film, psychological chiller “KM 31,” co-produced with Filmax, is set for release this summer.

Warner Bros. Mexico is finishing post on its first release, Issa Lopez’s “Side Effects,” co-produced with Videocine and government film institute Imcine.  

Lemon also operates a commercial biz and is prepping a pilot for Mexico’s top broadcaster Televisa. Expanding operations pushed Rovzars to hire former Televisa and Televisa Cine exec Erica Sanchez as shingle’s CEO in January.