You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Wladyka Moves Into Post On ‘Manos sucias’

Social-issue thriller a groundbreaking U.S.-Colombia production

MADRID  — U.S. director Josef Wladyka is advancing in post-production on his feature film debut, “Manos sucias,” a groundbreaking U.S.-Colombian production which has drawn both inspiration and co-financing from Latin America.

As it becomes increasingly hard to make independent films in Hollywood, such groundbreaking cases attain a cardinal importance.

Co-written by Wladyka and Alan Blanco, also the movie’s D.P., and filmed in Spanish, often using the local area’s colloquial dialect, “Manos sucias” turns on two Afro-Colombian fisherman, one desperate, the other young and naive, who are forced to tow a “narco torpedo” carrying millions of dollars worth of cocaine up the Pacific Coast of Colombia to Panama. Together they must navigate the war-torn region and the rising friction between them.

Of the films leads, Jarlin Javier Martinez graduated from the Dramatic Arts Program at Buenaventura’s Universidad del Valle. Cristian James Abvincula is still enrolled in the same department.

Wrapping production June 29, “Manos sucias” is produced by U.S.-based Elena Greenlee and Marcia Nunes, a former sales and acquisitions exec for London-based Goldcrest Films Intl.

During film development, it became clear that “however difficult it might be to shoot in this area of Colombia on a logistics level, it would be impossible to re-create this world, its texture and authenticity anywhere else,” Greenlee said.

Given that, one challenge and achievement of “Manos sucias” has been to mesh U.S. and Colombian financing.

Exec produced by Regency Boies, Marisa Polvino and Kate Cohen at Santa Monica-based Heart Headed Productions, “Manos sucias” tapped a Canon Filmmaker Award through Film Independent, a SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant for production from the San Francisco Film Society, a Spike Lee Fellowship Award, and coin from U.S. private investors.

In Colombia, “Manos sucias” is co-produced by former Dynamo producer Mirlanda Torres Zapata at her shingle El Colectivo Grupo Creativo. One of Colombia’s two largest broadcast networks, Caracol TV, will air “Manos sucias” in Colombia. Cine Colombia, the country’s biggest distributor-exhibitor, has acquired theatrical rights. Colombian investors benefit from a 41% tax credit.

“It’s important to establish talent relationships with directors and think of co-productions,” said Pia Barragan, Cine Colombia’s alternative content manager.

For Barragan, “Josef has a special talent and we want to grow with him. His sensibility and vision will be very enriching for our cinema.”

Kickstarter funding, which reached targets, supplied gap financing. “Manos sucias” straddles borders in more than financing terms, however.

“There has never been a film that takes audiences into such an authentically Colombian world, executed with a U.S. indie film production strategy. Nor one that blends local talent so seamlessly with more classical American genre elements,” Nunes claimed.

While “Manos sucias” uses the naturalistic, handheld shots common to other independent films shot in developing locations, Wladyka and Blanco were also inspired by classic American films, she added.

That led them to make what Nunes called “bold choices” when designing the film’s aesthetic and motifs.

“We believe it is this combination of local and genre elements that will attract audiences to the film.”

Production did present challenges: “Especially with cash-flowing production since most things had to be paid in cash on location and Colombian funds are dispersed by fiduciary account designed to pay third parties directly,” Greenlee said.

Neither Greenlee nor Nunes are complaining much, however. Start of development to delivery will be just 15 months. Both producers would be highly interested in shooting another Latin American subject in Latin America.

More Film

  • Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Vaclav

    Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Václav Havel Biopic

    Viktor Dvorak has been cast in “Havel,” a biopic of Václav Havel, as the Czech playwright, dissident and national leader. Anna Geislerova, who starred in Oscar nominated “Zelary,” plays his wife, Olga Havlova. Jiri Bartoska, the president of Karlovy Vary Film Festival, will appear in the film as “Professor,” inspired by Czech philosopher Jan Patocka. [...]

  • Daniel Craig

    'Bond 25' First Footage Sees Daniel Craig Back as 007

    After suffering a series of setbacks, including finding a new director and Daniel Craig’s on-set injury, “Bond 25” production is officially underway. A new behind-the-scenes clip of the upcoming James Bond film features Craig and helmer Cary Joji Fukunaga at work in the Caribbean. The minute-long footage didn’t reveal much about the still-untitled movie, though [...]

  • (L to R) Marco Graf as

    ‘Roma,’ ‘The Good Girls’ Top Mexico’s Ariel Academy Awards

    The Mexican Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences hosted the 61st edition of their Ariel Awards on Monday evening, where Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” and Alejandra Márquez Abella’s “The Good Girls” stood out among the winners. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Cuarón’s “Roma” scooping best picture is that it’s only the second of his films to [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Already Pulled From Shanghai Festival, 'The Eight Hundred' Cancels Its China Release

    Already pulled from its prestigious spot as the opener of the Shanghai International Film Festival, war epic “The Eight Hundred” has been dealt a further below with the cancellation of its scheduled release in China next week. In a terse announcement on its official Weibo account, the film said late Tuesday that, “after consultation between [...]

  • Méndez Esparza, Fernando Franco, Villaronga Projects

    Projects By Mendez Esparza, Fernando Franco and Villaronga at Small Is Biutiful

    Antonio Méndez Esparza’s “Que nadie duerma,” Fernando Franco’s “La consagración de la primavera” and Agustí Villaronga’s “3.000 obstáculos” figure among the seven projects to be pitched at Paris’ Small Is Biutiful forum. The closing event for the alternative Spanish film festival Dífferent 12!, Small Is Biutiful takes place June 26, bringing together French distributors and [...]

  • Judi Dench

    Judi Dench Says Works by Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey Should Be Respected

    Veteran British star Judi Dench has said that the work produced by Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey should be separated from the offenses they are alleged to have committed. Both Weinstein and Spacey face charges of sexual assault in the U.S., which they deny, and have been investigated in other jurisdictions as well, including Britain. [...]

  • Karlovy Vary Honorees

    Karlovy Vary Fetes Julianne Moore, Patricia Clarkson, Vladimir Smutny

    The Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival Honorees JULIANNE MOORE, Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema An actress, author and activist, Moore has long earned accolades on her diverse career path. The North Carolina native won a Daytime Emmy with her first major TV role on the soap opera “As the World Turns,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content