Rodrigo Pla, Sandino Saravia Vinay Back ‘Bull,’ Advance on ‘Monster,’ ‘Tom’

Partners’ production ops now take in Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil

LOS CABOS – Mexican-Uruguayan director Rodrigo Pla (“The Zone,” “Revolution,” “The Delay”), and wife and screenwriter Laura Santullo, two of the leading lights of Mexico’s new wave, has two new films in the pipeline: “A Thousand-Headed Monster,” now in post, and “The Other Tom,” his English-language debut.

Teaming with producer partner Sandino Saravai Vinay, in production operations that now straddle Mexico, Uruguay and Brazil, Pla and Saravai’s Uruguay-based Malbicho Cine is also co-producing “Bull Down!” It marks the second feature by Brazil’s Gabriel Mascaro whose debut, “Autumn Winds,” is proving one of 2014’s festival sleepers.

Both “Monster” and “Tom” are set up at Buenaventura, Pla and Saravai’s Mexico City label, with Saravai producing,

Now in post after a low-profile shoot, and skedded for a 2015 release, “Monster” is a mix that is becoming increasingly common in Latin American cinema and indeed beyond: a movie that combines social issues – the abuse of corporations, and an entertainment driven thriller format.

Written by Laura Santullo, adapting her own novel, it centers on a woman who, forced into a corner by a corrupt and negligent insurance company, takes desperate measures to obtain the treatment her husband needs. Jara Raluy (“Capadocia”) and Sebastian Aguirre, “Güeros’” protagonist, star. “Monster” has shot in Mexico City financed by Efecine Mexican tax coin and support from Fidecine, a Mexico Film Institute film aid scheme for quality titles with some commercial potential.

Popular on Variety

Presented at Los Cabos’ 1st Mexico-U.S.-Canada Co-production Forum, and one of its buzz projects, and oncemore written by Santullo, “The Other Tom” centers on Tom, aged eight, who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),according to his psychiatrist and tells his mother. Megan,that the only cure is to be found at he drugstore. Facing a potential custody battle, mother and son set off across the U.S. to see a specialist who questions the diagnosis. That road trip produces reconciliation between mother and son.

Pla and Saravai Vinay imagine setting up “Tom” as a U.S.-Mexico co-production, the latter said.

Pla imagines the journey beginning in the mountains, ending at the sea, he said. The film frames a larger picture, “We came to make this film simply because we’re parents. These days it’s almost impossible to be one and remain oblivious to the myriad of syndromes and mental disorders our children are diagnosed with, based exclusively on their behavior,” Santullo and Plá said.

They continued: “To deal with this epidemic,’ more and more teachers are demanding that their students be put on psychiatric drugs and more and more doctors are prescribing them as if they were handing out candy, but more and more parents, too, are throwing in the towel when it comes to raising and educating their children and end up medicating them out of convenience, ignorance or sheer desperation.

Malbicho Cine has teamed with Brazil’s Desvia Filmes and Netherlands’ Viking Films to produce “Bull Down!” Now in post, and a step-up in scale for Mascaro, Saravai Vinay said, the rodeo-world-set aspirational drama was shot in the arid landscapes of Brazil’s North East Pernambuco region, unspooling against the background of the region’s rapid economic development. It turns on a stable-lad who dreams of becoming a fashion designer. The title’s expression refers to one rodeo challenge where cowboys prove their valor throwing a bull to the ground by its tail, said Saravai Vinay, who produces with Desvia’s Rachel Ellis, and Vikings’ Marlene Slot produce. Celebrated Uruguayan producer Fernando Epstein is editing.

A winner of the bilateral Brazil-Uruguay co-production fund, “Bull Down!” is supported by Brazil’s ANCINE Film-TV board, Uruguay’s ICAU agency, the Netherlands’ Hubert Bals Plus and Funcultura Pernambuco, a regional film fund, “Bull Down!” was shot March-April in Pernambuco and Paraiba.

More Film

  • My Name is Baghdad

    Reel Suspects Acquires Berlinale Generation Title 'My Name is Baghdad' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Reel Suspects has acquired international sales rights to Caru Alves de Souza’s coming-of-age tale “My Name is Baghdad,” which will world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in the Generation 14 section. The film was produced by Manjericão Filmes and Tangerina Entretenimento. It follows a 17-year-old female skater named Baghdad who lives in a working-class [...]

  • My Salinger Year

    Berlin Film Festival to Open With Sigourney Weaver, Margaret Qualley Starrer 'My Salinger Year'

    The 70th edition of the Berlinale will open with Philippe Falardeau’s anticipated “My Salinger Year,” headlined by a powerful female duo, Sigourney Weaver and Margaret Qualley. Set in New York’s literary world in the 90’s, the coming-of-age story is based on Joanna Rakoff’s international bestseller and follows Joanna (Qualley), who leaves graduate school to pursue [...]

  • Bad Hair

    'Bad Hair': Film Review

    The year is 1989 and New Jack Swing is about to push black culture from the margins to the mainstream. The question for the black employees of Culture, the music TV station at the center of writer-director Justin Simien’s delightfully macabre horror-dramedy “Bad Hair,” is what image do they — and their white executive Grant [...]

  • Bad Hair

    Justin Simien's 'Bad Hair' is a Tribute to Exploited Black Women Everywhere, Director Says

    Deeply personal but indulgently campy, Justin Simien’s Sundance opener “Bad Hair” is a genre-blending horror show that the director said serves as a tribute to the struggles of black women. The mind behind  “Dear White People” staged the world premiere for the project at Park City’s Ray Theater on Thursday night, before a cast that [...]

  • Taylor Swift: Miss Americana

    'Taylor Swift: Miss Americana': Film Review

    Fly-on-the-wall portraits of pop-music stars used to be dominated by, you know, pop music. The life and personality and woe-is-me-I’m-caught-in-the-media-fishbowl spectacle of the star herself was part of the equation, yet all that stuff had a way of dancing around the edges. Now, though, it’s front and center. In “Taylor Swift: Miss Americana,” we catch [...]

  • Taylor Swift attends the premiere of

    Sundance Crowd Goes Wild as Taylor Swift Becomes Powerful Voice of Trump Resistance

    At the outset of the first screening of the documentary “Miss Americana” Thursday night at the Sundance Film Festival, it was clear at the outset that it was not necessarily Taylor Swift’s core audience filling the Eccles Theater for the premiere. The opening scene has Swift trying to write a song at the piano while [...]

  • wanda Imax China

    China Closes Thousands of Theaters in Response to Coronavirus Outbreak

    China closed swathes of cinemas on Friday in response to the outbreak of novel coronavirus, which started in the city of Wuhan and has now killed 26 people. The closures come a day after the distributors and producers of the seven major blockbusters that had expected to launch from Jan. 25 cancelled their films’ releases. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content