LOS CABOS –New York’s Dodgeville Films, producer of Sundance selected “To Be Takei,” is teaming with Mexico’s Varios Lobos to produce “Ya no estoy aqui” (I’m No Longer Here”), the second movie from Mexico’s Fernando Frias (“Receta”).
A Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund recipient, “Here” also competes in Los Cabos Fest’s Mexico-U.S.-Canada Co-production Forum. Dodgeville’s Gerry Kim and Mayuran Tiruechelvam will produce with Varios Lobos’ Pablo Zimbron and Luis Arenas.
Written and directed by Frias, currently a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia U’s Graduate School of the Arts, “Here” was put through a 2014 Sundance Screenwriters Lab and its investor pitching Catalyst Weekend. A Spanish/English-language movie, it tracks Ulises, a 17-year-old Cholombiano – an urban tribe distinguished by a seeming sheet of straight hair pulled over their cheeks and bald back of the head – forced to emigrate from the mean streets of Mexico’s Monterrey when his elder brother is killed in gang violence.
Dispatched to New York City, he quickly realizes his hometown violence is no match for his feelings of isolation and loneliness in America. Admired or mocked, his counter-culture is seen as just a commodity, and he loses a sense of self.
“Gueros” DP Damian Garcia will serve as d.p.Said Frias: “The film tries to raise questions about how history is written these days where even counter-cultural movements can become another product on supermarket shelves.”
With “Here’s” shoot set for summer 2015 in Monterrey and Jackson Heights, a cultural melting pot, producers aim to raise 70% of financing from Mexico’s IMCINE, the remainder via equity and grants.
Created in 2011, Dodgeville’s credits include “Farewell, Ferris Wheel,” an ITVS/LPD funded docu; “Denis Seviyesi,” part funded by Turkey’s Culture Ministry; and “Nancy,” selected for Venice’s Biennale College Cinema and IFP’s Emerging Storytellers.
“Here’s” U.S.-Mexico co-pro structure sees a Mexican company stepping up to the table with majority financing on a New York story. Energized by state funding, particularly Efecine 189 tax coin, for the U.S. indie film industry, Mexico is no longer a dirt poor neighbor.
Rolling off Mexican film funding, Varios Lobos” is fast upping its ante. It now has three producers –Zimbron, Arenas and Victor Leycegui. It is best known for winning a brace of development awards – selection for Cannes Atelier, prizes at Guadalajara and Panama’s Meets – for Daniel Zimbron’s psychological thriller “Darkness,” an exploration of family dynamics turning on a father (Brontis Jodorosky) and two children living in a cabin in the woods who are terrorized by a wild beast.
Having tapped Mexican Efecine tax coin and a Foprocine subsidy, “Darkness” is skedded to roll in February. Varios Lobos is in talks for an international sales agent to handle world sales, Zimbron added.
Another auteur genre movie, Edgar Nito’s feature deb “Tatewari,” an Austin 2013 Fantastic Market runner-up, about two Americans and a Mexican girl on a bloody Peyote-laced road trip across the Real de Catorce desert, is in development. “Nito is one of Mexican’s big genre promises,” Zimbron said.
But Varios Lobos is diversifying fast outside genre, into social drama (“I’m No Longer Here”), a historical drama marking a prelude to Spain’s conquest of Mexico (“Epitaph,” from Yulene Olaizola and Ruben Imaz, about a 1519 conquistador ascent of Popocatepetl, skedded for delivery in April), and relationship thrillers: Wild love triangle tale “El Estero,” also in post, and the third film from Sebastian Hiriart, director of “A Stone’s Throw Away.”
Also in the lineup is a family political documentary (“Where Are You?” from Costa Rica’s Maricarmen Merino) and a coming of age story, Jimena Montemayor’s second pic, “Wind Traces,” in the line of “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” said Zimbron.
One interest is international and domestic co-production, both as majority and minority co-producers, another movies targeting the Mexican market, he added.