“Hung” co-creator Colette Burson’s “Permanent,” Alonso Ruizpalacios’s “Museum” and Rodrigo Plá’s “The Other Tom” are among 13 projects at Los Cabos Festival’s first Mexico-U.S.-Canada Co-production Forum, a drive to consolidate movie partnerships throughout North America.
Taking place during the third Los Cabos Festival, which unspools Nov. 12-16, and awarding a total $227,000 in prize money to a bevy of industry competitions, the Forum will also showcase projects by rising Latin American auteurs – Mexico’s Jorge Michel Grau, Colombia’s Juan Andrés Arango and Ciro Guerra.
Supported by the Tribeca All Access program, comedy “Permanent,” about a teen who makes a life-defining perm choice, is described as a coming-of- age tale for the entire family. “Permanent” is to be helmed by Colette Burson, co-creator of HBO series “Hung.” Haroula Rose (“Fruitvale Station”) and Joshua Blum (“A Most Violent Year,” “Margin Call”) produce.
The first English-language movie from Rodrigo Plá (“The Zone”), whose 2012 “The Wait” won Berlin Fest’s Ecumenical and Tagesspiegel prizes, “The Other Tom” chronicles a revelatory mother-son road trip.
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A step-up in scale for Alonso Ruizpalacios’, after 2014 Berlin Panorama hit “Güeros,” “Museum” relates the fated 1982 heist by two veterinary students of 140 precious exhibits from Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology.
Set up as a Quebec-Colombia co-production, produced by Katrin Pons and Serge Noel, and set on the Colombian coast, Ciro Guerra’s “Taganga” weighs in as the nuanced tragedy of a fisherman, who can’t afford to comply with a security norm obliging fishermen to update the motor of their boats. It marks the forth feature from Colombia’s Guerra, director of Cannes’ 2009 Un Certain Regard hit “The Wind Journeys.”
Some projects have already pulled down Mexico-U.S. or Mexico-Canada co-production. Miami coast set-thriller “Yamaha 300,” from Jorge Michel Grau – whose feature debut, the Wild Bunch-sold cannibal family drama “Somos lo que hay,” is regarded as a high-point of recent Latin American genre filmmaking – is produced by Grau and Mayra Espinosa Castro’s Mexico City-based Velarium Arts and Andrew Corkin’s Uncorked Productions in New York.
Intertwining tales of individuals’ transformation, set in Mexico, Colombia and Canada, and saying much about the huge social change sweeping the Americas, “X Quinientos” (pictured) is set up at Montreal’s Peripheria Productions, Mexico’s Machete Producciones and Colombia’s Septima. Colombian Juan Andres Arango (“La Playa”) directs. Peripheria’s Yanick Letourneau first started discussing a potential co-production with Machete’s Edher Campos at last year’s Los Cabos.
“X Quinientos” was presented at September’s San Sebastián Europe-Latin America’s Co-production Forum. Also drumming up buzz at the San Sebastián and now at Los Cabos is a kidnap thriller where nobody comes off well, “Coward,” from Boris Rodriguez. Produced by Anne-Marie Gélinas at Montreal’s EMA Films, whose credits include Berlin Silver Bear-winner “Rebelle,” it follows up Rodriguez’s debut, 2011’s “Eddie-the Sleepwalking Cannibal,” winner of a Silver Meliès from the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation.
Two projects, both from the U.S., play off hit shorts. Helmed by Olivia Newman, produced by Veronica Nikel and Chanelle Elain, “First Match” builds on an multi-award winning short, made by Newman as a student, about 14-year-old Monique “Mo” Morris, the only girl on her co-ed high school wrestling team, who takes up the sport to reach out to her imprisoned father.
Frances Bodomo’s feature film “Afronauts,” expands on his Sundance 2014-preemed short about Zambia’s early ’60s space-girl moon-shot project. Backing includes the Tribeca Film Institute, IFP’s 2014 RBC Emerging Storytellers, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Spike Lee.
Some of the 13 projects to be pitched at the Los Cabos look like natural fits: Produced by Gerry Kim and Mayuran Tiruchelvam, partners at Dodgeville Films, the company behind Sundance 2014 selected docu “To Be Takei,” Fernando Frias’ “I’m No Longer Here” tracks a Mexico teen forced to migrate to New York City. He discovers that he has exchanged the violence of Mexico for the alienation of New York.
Helmed by Maria Saakyan, (“The Lighthouse,” “I’m Going to Change My Name”) and produced by Jeff Kalousdian, “Butterfly” tracks an evolutionary biologist from Mexico City to Texas as he researches the disappearance of the monarch butterfly then on to Montreal, in search of his estranged son.
Further co-pro projects include Olivia Luengas Magaña’s docu “Lejos del sentido,” portraying the life of a 50-year-old schizophrenic, and Patricia Chica’s fiction project “Wolverine Hotel,” about three lowlifes’ downward spiral.
CAA’s Nick Ogiony, WestEnd Films’ Fabien Westerhoff and Canada-based producer Lyse Lafontaine make up the Forum jury, which awards an $8,000 cash prize.
Splendid Omnia-Mantarraya will prize a film with the equivalent of $30,000 in post-production work, plus accommodation and food for two people at their dazzling installations in Tepoztlán, Mexico.