GUADALAJARA – With offices in L.A., Mexico City and now Brazil and Colombia, Alex Garcia’s AG Studios is in pre-production on “Mind Puppets,” a New Orleans-set comedy thriller produced by AG’s Itaca USA.
Written and to be directed by Mexico’s Juan Curi, the English-language “Puppets” turns on a hypnotist whose stage act is to give audience members completely contrasting personalities: One believes she’s pregnant, another thinks he will save the earth. Half way through the show, having hypnotized ten victims, he suffers a stroke, and falls into coma. The 10 victims have no way of regressing.
Currently casting, “Puppets” will initiate pre-production this week in New Orleans, where it will shoot, tapping into tax credits.
“Mind Puppets” is Curi’s first feature. Via its network of companies, AG Studios produces, co-produces and co-finances a vast range of varying talent and contrasting movies.
“It’s in our interest to have a wider range of context,” argued Mineko Mori Co-CEO of Latam Pictures, the distribution arm of AG Studios.
But one defining characteristic of AG Studios is its frequent backing for a new generation of directors from Mexico and the U.S., whose sensibilities are often closer to cinema-going audiences.
“At AG Studios, Alex Garcia is giving opportunities to new talent. In our office, most people are in their late twenties thirties, we may work with the new Alfonso Cuaron,” said Federica Quijano, AG Studios director of public and sales relations.
Via Itaca in Mexico City, for instance, AG Studios is in post-production on “Amor de mis amores,” a stage-to-screen adaptation which marks writer-scribe Manolo Caro’s second solo feature after “No se si cortarme las venas o dejarmelas largas.”
As on “No se…,” a breakout box office hit, Latam Pictures will release in Mexico.
Turning on a woman who has second-doubts just before her wedding, “Amor de mis amores” is set in Mexico and Spain, where the fiance goes to help his best friend.
“This is a romantic comedy with touches of drama. There’s a lot going on, a lot of funny, moving and dramatic moments: It’s very much a Manolo Caro film,” said Mori, signaling the film has remake potential outside Mexico.
Handles both AG Studios movies and third-party pick-ups, Latam Pictures is lining up three big releases, among other movies, for Mexico for 2014: “Obediencia Perfecta,” released May 1,” Beto Gomez’s “Volando bajo,” and Jose Manuel Craviotto’s “Mexico’s Most Wanted,” which is produced by Lemon Films and sold abroad by Mundial.
AG Studios production push comes as Mexico – as a market and production force – looks to be on a roll.
“We have great movies, talent and investment. Right now, this is Mexico’s moment. But we have to move fast,” Quijano said.
“And we have to listen to theatergoers. We’re getting a clearer vision of what they want to see: Feel-good comedies with tinges of drama or melodrama. The challenge is to get films made which people want to see, “ Mori added.