“Amateurs,” “Paradise Hills” and “Kiken” feature among 13 genre pic projects to be pitched at 2015’s 3rd Austin Fantastic Market that offers a tantalizing mix for Latin genre cognoscenti of cutting edge Latin American, U.S. and European horror/fantasy fare.
Seven of the 13 projects are freshmen (or women) films, pointing to a new wave of genre directors breaking through often supported by producers – Gerardo Naranjo, Isaac Ezban, Andre Pereira – who have only emerged in the last decade. As Austin itself points out, pitch projects involve talent from “Miss Bala,” “Redeemer,” “Open Windows,” “”Shrew’s Nest,” “Elite Squad-The Enemy Within,” High Five” and “The Incident.”
In such a context, Argentina’s Ramiro Garcia Bogliano, at Austin with “Demon Driven,” or Uruguay’s Carlos Ameglia, “Kiken’s” helmer, seem positively veteran. The Market also features “Bandit Heroes,” from Chilean genre pioneer Ernesto Diza Espinosa (“Redeemer”), a Robin Hood-ish bank heists tale.
“Since its inception in 2013, Fantastic Market has helped many filmmakers move their films from concept to reality,” says market director Rodney Perkins. “We are extremely confident in the quality of this year’s projects and we look forward to sharing them with the world.”
Helmed by Mexico’s Santiago Cendejas (“Plan Sexenal”), “Amateurs” is described as a point of view horror film, seen through the lens of a group of amateur pornographers working for a doomsday cult. Adding edge to the project, it is produced by two figures central to Canana over its first decade: Director Gerardo Naranjo (“Miss Bala,” “Voy a Explotar” and producer Vanessa Perez, who has hung her own shingle.
Bearing some similarity to John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” said producer Mariana Secco (“Mr. Kaplan,” “High Five”), and to shoot in part in a huge “Mad Max”-ish sand-dune desert waste, it turns on Nina and Daniel, who visit a small fishing village to try to rekindle their relationship, until a substance mutates the villagers. Ameglio, a reputed commercials director, has a large knowledge of prosthetics, animatronics and CGI post-production, Secco added.
Broadening its scope to Spain whose filmmakers, bereft of large subsidy options, look increasingly abroad for seed finance, FM will also feature “Paradise Hills,” helmed by first-timer Alice Waddington, and set in a dystopia where social networks connect young women with rich men: Marriages areno longer about love but about feeding monsters. Waddington co-writes with Sofia Cuenca, a co-scribe on Alex de la Iglesia’s “Shrew’s Nest.” Yadira Avalos (“Open Windows”) produces.
Marking a collaboration with Ventana Sur genre market Blood Window, two projects – “Demon Driven,” from Garcia Bogliano, and Brazilian zombi suspense-actioner. “Desalmados” – were presented at Beyond the Window last December.
Helmed by Garcia Bogliano (“No morire sola,” “Penumbra”), a founding father with brother Adrian of Argentina’s modern genre scene, “Demon Driven” has friends try to exorcize a demon at one hell of a party. Pity their drugged out of their brains. Longtime Bogliano associate Federico Rocaldoni (”Agua,” “Rooms for Tourists”) produces.
Underscoring the emergence of regional genre hubs in Latin America, post-Apocalypse-set “Desalmados,” from directors Armando Fonseca and Raphael Borghi hails from Brazil’s Porto Alegre, home to its biggest fantasy fest, Fantaspoa, where it won best short. Elo Company sells the feature upgrade.
Austin will unveil three first feature pitch projects from Mexico, a sign of the strength of its building genre scene and Mexican movie production at large: U.S.-Mexico co-pro, “Becoming An Action Hero,” from Maru Buendia-Santos, about how an ageing Hollywood B-lister a Mexican producer create Mexico’s first action hero; “Blood Tissue,” from Fabian Archondo Arce, which has a cowardly candy salesman facing off with a Mexican vampire cartel assassin for he love of his wife; and “The Dump,” about a garbage dump demotic being which a psychotic old man confronts via human sacrifice. It is produced by Ezban (“The Incident,” “The Similars”), Miriam Mercado (“The Incident,” “The Similars”) and Amapola Rosillo. Newbies Fernando Montes de Oca and Xavier Sanchez Mercado direct.
Helmed by first timer Joao Caetano Foyer, a respected Brazilian commercials director, “The Trace’s” producers are Malu Miranda, who produced action unit scenes of “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within,” the highest-grossing Brazilian film ever, and producer-screenwriter Andre Pereira (“The Dognapper), who co-writes “The Trace.” In it, a man struggling for answers discovers the Trace, which brings people together in death.
Another debutant, Brazilian Ramon Porto Mota’s “The Yellow Night,” produced by Lara Lima, is billed as a spiritual slasher, a teen movie about fearing the future, the unknown, the dark and death.
Rounding up a Fantastic Market rich in genre sub-genres and talent to check out, Colombia’s Alfonso Acosta, director of “The Crack,” a grieving family chiller that was picked up by eOne Intl., will pitch “Devil’s Breath.” “Cold, quiet, brutal,” in Acosta’s words, it turns on a woman’s return to the village where she was born – a place horrified by legends of femme shape-shifters who seduce and kill men- just as she’s begins to regress to the state of a she-wolf.
“Breath” was one of the highest-profile projects at last weekend’s Locarno Fest Match Me! Meshing a werewolf thriller and gender issues is underscores how many young directors in Latin America are turning to genre to talk about core concerns in societies struggling to emerge from darker pasts.
That may well be the case, as well, with yet another first feature director, Gigi Saul Guerrero, helmer of “El Gigante,” a U.S-Canada co-pro set against the background of the disappearance of illegal immigrants. Raynor Shima and Paulina Trujillo produce.
Market director Rodney Perkins, market coordinator Jean Anne Lauer and Fantastic Fest director Kristen Bell organize Austin’s Fantastic Market. Canana—the Mexican production-distribution house headed by Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Pablo Cruz and Julian Levin—co-produces the market. Cristina Garza, vice president of Mundial, a Canana-IM Global joint sales venture for films from Latin America, is sourcing projects from the region.
3RD AUSTIN FANTASTIC MARKET, SEPT. 24-26, THE LINE-UP:
“Amateurs,” (Santiago Cendejas, Mexico)
“Bandit Heroes,” (Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, Chile)
“Becoming an Action Hero,” (Maru Buendia-Senties, U.S., Mexico)
“Blood Tissue,” (Fabian Archondo Arce, Mexico)
“Demon Driven,” (Ramiro Garcia Bogliano, Argentina)
“Desalmados,” (Armando Fonseca, Raphael Borghi, Brazil)
“The Dump,” (Fernando Montes de Oca, Xavier Sanchez Mercado, Mexico)
“El Gigante,” (Gigi Saul Guerrero, U.S., Canada)
“Kiken,” (Carlos Ameglio, Uruguay)
“Paradise Hills,” (Alice Waddington, Spain)
“The Trace,” (Joao Caetano Feyer, Brazil)
“The Wolf’s Breath,” (Alfonso Acosta, Colombia, Chile)
“The Yellow Night,” (Ramon Porto Mota, Brazil)
Emilio Mayorga contributed to this article