BH5 Group, a burgeoning Mexican production-finance hub which co-produces Atom Egoyan’s upcoming “Remember,” has attached Alonso Ruizpalacios, director of “Güeros,” one of the most notable feature debut of 2014, to direct “Museum.”
Written by Manuel Alcala, who originated the project, set up at BH5 Group and Detalle Films, part of the BH5 Group, and a step-up in scale for Ruizpalacios, the story of the extraordinary-but-true 1985 heist of 140 objects, some priceless, from Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology, will be pitched at Mexico’s Los Cabos Festival.
Kicking off next Wednesday, Los Cabos will also see Egoyan present “Remember” and BH5 Group showcase a third title, now in post, Katina Medina Mora’s “You’ll Know What To Do With Me.”
That spread is a sign of the range and large activity of BH5Group, an production-financing group of five production partners which produces and finances Mexican and international movies, TV and content.
Scheduled to shoot in 2015, per Detalle Films head of production, Alberto Muffelmann, “Museum” is a chronicle of incompetence, a “dark comedy” in Alcala’s words, about how two friends Carlos Perches and Ramon Sardina, who had flunked out of vet school, crawled through an air vent to purloin 140 pieces. The loot included, for example, the jade mosaic funerary mask of K’inich Janaab’ Pakal who ruled the Classic Maya polity of Palenque for sixty-eight years until his death on Aug. 23 683 at age 80.
The Museum had not installed any electric alarm system; its nine police guards were celebrating Christmas. Coming just months after Mexico’s 1985 8:1 magnitude earthquake, which killed 10,000-40,000 people, the robbery horrified Mexicans.
But Perches and Sardina had no idea how to sell the loot. Hitting the Acalpulco nightclub underworld, they begin a descent into hell.
“Museum” is a comedy of errors, on the part of the government and the kids. The robbery just blew up in their hands,” said Alcala.
Though, rather like “Güeros,” film will deliver an acid critique of Mexico, it will also be very much character-driven, focusing on the two robbers’ friendship, he added.
By Mexican standards, “Museum” is an ambitious project, a period piece with two large locations –the Museum and Acalpulco’s ‘80s nightlife – multiple characters and a four-year span. BH5 aims to tap core finance for “Museum” via Mexican Fidecine subsidy coin and Mexican tax-break investment, Muffelmann said.
“Museum” will be pitched by BG5’s CEO Gerardo Gatica, Alcala and Muffelmann at Los Cabos’ first Mexico-U.S.-Canada co-production Forum. Gatica will also join Egoyan, producer Robert Lantos and moderator Cameron Bailey, Toronto Fest’s artistic director, for a Masterclass on Nov. 15 at Los Cabos on “Remember.”
Via Detalle Films, the company of BH5 development head Moises Coise, BH Group has taken a minority equity participation in Egoyan’s revenge drama-thriller that stars Academy Award winners Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau, plus Germany’s Bruno Ganz, Adolf Hitler in “Downfall.”
The story of a charged–though not impossible – love between an epileptic and a commitment-shy woman, “You’ll Know What To Do With Me” stars Spaniard Pablo Derqui (“Isabel”) and Ilse Salas, one of the rising stars of Mexican cinema after turns in “Cantinflas,” as the legendary comic’s wife, and “Güeros” as a radio DJ student activist. BH produced Medina Moro’s low-budget feature debut “LuTo,” which played in competition at last year’s Los Cabos Festival. “You’ll Know” will screen in fest’s Work in Progress – Mexico.
Run by five partners –Gatica, Cossio, Muffelmann, Rodrigo Trujillo, and CFO Jacobo Nazar, BH5 Group incorporates multiple entertainment business companies: Detalle Films, Cacao Production Services, CoCo, Detalle TV, and Balero Films and La Rama de Teatro, where Trujillo heads up production.
While BH5 Group launched in 2011, its companies have jointly or independently produced about two-dozen films. Production credits include Alejandro Jodorowski’s Pathe distribbed and sold “The Dance of Reality,” a semi autobiography produced by Cosio and a Cannes 2013 Directors’ Fortnight hit; Samuel Jackson co-starrer “Kite,” a remake of the Japanese cult anime movie, co-produced by Detalle Films with Anant Singh’s Distant Horizons, and writer Brian Cox (“Don’t Look Up”).
Theater productions include, most recently, Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
In TV, it is producing coverage of November’s Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz.
“Producing or investing, thinking about content production rather than focusing on film or TV in particular, we’d like to have a broad profile so that people think of us for anything, not specific productions,” said Muffelmann.