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‘Yamaha 300’ Gets First Good Film Fund Feature Award (EXCLUSIVE)

Canada-U.S.-Mexico deal sealed by Amy Darling, Mayra Espinosa Castro at Los Cabos Fest

LOS CABOS – Miami-set thriller “Yamaha 300,” from Mexico’s Jorge Michel Grau, will be the inaugural feature film recipient of grant finance from the Good Film Fund, a joint initiative of Canada’s Media Darling and the Chattanooga Film Festival in Tennessee.

Agreement was reached at Los Cabos Festival, where Andrew Huculiak’s breakout “Violent,” produced by Media Darling, played in the main Los Cabos Competition, while “Yamaha 300” was a standout at the fest’s first Mexico-U.S.-Canada Co-Production Forum.

“Yamaha 300” joins fund’s first recipient, short “Giant Sloth,” an existential animation written and directed by New York Times bestselling author Paul Hornschemeier, and voiced by Paul Giamatti and “Saturday Night Live’s” Kate McKinnon, as well as Jason Mantzoukas and Scott Aukerman.

Co-founded and co-directed by Media Darling’s Amy Darling and the Chattanooga Fest’s exec director Christopher Dortch, the fund’s mandate is broad: To support good film.

Chattanooga launched the Fund to continue to exhibit stellar independent films, and facilitate the creation and promotion of visionary works of cinema, with an eye on creating future opportunities for more film production, film education and motion picture music licensing in the state of Tennessee, Darling said.

In the case of “Yamaha 300,” produced by Mexico’s Velarium Arts, run by Grau and Mayra Espinosa Castro, and Andrew Horkin’s New York-based Uncorked Productions, the movie receives $5,000 in cash for development and another $5,000 for post-production.

Potentially the second U.S. film from Jorge Michel Grau whose feature debut, the Wild Bunch-sold cannibal family drama “Somos lo que hay,” was remade by Jim Mickle in 2013 Sundance hit “We Are What We Are,” “Yamaha 300” is an early example of a Mexico-U.S. crossover, a movie which melds U.S. genre tradition –it’s a suspense thriller with action elements – English-language and a U.S. location with a Latino-U.S. subject, Mexican source material and a Latin American director’s singular auteurist concerns.

Adapting the same-titled stage play by Mexico’s Cuberto Lopez, “Yamaha 300” turns on two drug mules waiting for hours on a small boat at open sea for a plane to throw them a cocaine consignment. They both know that only one of them will survive. Grau has called the project “the deepest and darkest exploration I’ve done in my career. A one-way trip to the most aged of man’s passions: Envy.”

Per Darling, Fund initially aimed at targeting films in post-production, allowing talented filmmakers not to miss out on opportunities to travel with their films to festivals, and focus, among other things, on choosing sales agents and distributors that are a good fit, working alongside them to promote the work.

Having become acquainted with Grau and Espinosa Castro – and how Grau is the only director to have his Spanish-language original and its English-language remake selected for Cannes, said Darling – the Fund’s remit has developed to include films in development as well.

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