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Films d’Ici, Penrose board ‘Juan’

Guerrero's debut lead-produced by Mexico's Artepepan

GUADALAJARA — France’s Les Films d’Ici and Germany’s Penrose Films have boarded “Juan and Vanesa,” lead-produced by Mexico’s Artepepan Films.

Written and directed by Mexican Ianis Guerrero, his feature debut is a love story between a truck driver and ex-alcoholic, and Vanesa, a 17-year-old, pink-haired middle-class rebel who persuades him to give her a ride.

In Mexico City, the two social rejects’ relationship blooms. But Vanesa is taken away by her family. When Juan sees her five years later, it’s too late: she has changed.

Project is being presented at the Guadalajara fest’s 6th Ibero-American Co-Production Meeting where Guerrero called “‘Juan” “a contemporary film that speaks of modern characters in a very classist society, where people do not mix.”

He added: “The tragedy of these characters is that they are enclosed in a destiny that depends on their place in society and this place is immutable.”

“Juan” is largely set in the cabarets, cafes, bars and hotels of Mexico City’s colorful and cramped working-class downtown district, a world destined to disappear, Guerrero said.

Films Guerrero cited as inspiration include Fatih Akin’s “Head On,” “Wild at Heart” and Wong Kar-wai’s “Chungking Express.” “Juan” will be shot in 35mm, with a hand-held camera and natural light, “like a documentary, but never in-your-face,” Guerrero said.

Artepepan’s Ixchel Coutino produces with Charlotte Uzu at Les Films d’Ici, which produced “Waltz With Bashir,” and Felix Eisele at Stuttgart’s Penrose.

Mexican producer-distributor Jorge Sanchez, the former Guadalajara fest director, serves as associate producer.

Juan will be played by Marco Perez (“Amores Perros”).

Berlin-based Bulgarian Julian Atanassov, who lensed Tokyo Fest Grand Prix winner “Eastern Plays,” serves as cinematographer.

Now courting international fund financing, “Juan” is skedded to roll early 2012, Coutino said.

Guerrero wrote and co-produced Pedro Ramirez’s “Malamados,” which won foreign film and director at the 2006 New York Intl. Independent Film and Video Festival. Since then, he received writing grants from France’s Poitou-Charentes and Germany’s Binger Film Lab.

Guadalajara’s Co-Production Meeting runs March 27-29.