BUENOS AIRES – Juan Andres Arango, whose feature debut “La Playa DC” is Colombia’s foreign-language Oscar submission, has set his sophomore pic, “X Quinientos,’ a true Pan-American tale whose three parts range between Canada, Mexico and Colombia.
Written by Arango, all three intertwining stories turn on individuals who, after the death of a loved-one, go through physical transformation.
In the Mexican episode, for example, a 16-year-old, David, from X Quinientos, an indigenous village in Mexico, cannot face his community’s strict mourning rituals after the death of his father, flees to Mexico City, becomes a punk with other indigenous kids, parties, does the pogo, finds a sense of respect and belonging and of who he really is, and is able to accept the death of his father.
A second story strand turns on Alex, 19, deported from the U.S. after his brother dies, who makes up a big story about his sibling being whacked in a police sting. The local cartel gets wind of this, forcing him to join their ranks.
A third segment focuses on a 70-year-old Filipino maid, who’s spent 40 years in Canada, takes in her grand-daughter after her daughter’s death, but when the daughter joins a Filipino gang, decides both should return to the Philippines.
Coming as Canada’s Telefilm Canada has been reinforcing its focus on co-production with Latin America – strong Canadian delegations visited July’s Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM) and Mexico’s Baja Fest this November – “X Quinientos” will be lead-produced by Yanick Letourneau’s Montreal-based Peripheria Productions.
Also a producer on “La Playa,” Jorge Andres Botero’s Septima Films will co-produce out of Colombia. Botero is attending Ventana Sur.
Letourneau and Botero, who will be at Ventana Sur, have been meeting with Mexican producers to tie down remaining minority equity.
“X Quinientos” received development support from Quebec’s SODEC funding agency this May, plus Quebec Arts Council and Ibermedia development coin, allowing Arango to carry out extensive research on first nation communities in Mexico and Filipino communities in Montreal, Letourneau said.
Arango is now Buenaventura, Colombia’s toughest port, where Alex’s story is set, completing his research.
Producers are aiming for a strong first draft by mid-February. Production is set to go before the cameras at the end of 2014, aiming for a Cannes world premiere in 2015, Letourneau added.