Cannes: Memento Takes Horror Fairy Tale ‘Darkness’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Mexican horror fairytale a Cannes 2014 Atelier highlight and multiple works in progress winner.

CANNES – Bringing into the market one of Latin America’s most-awaited fantasy genre titles, Memento Films International has acquired world sales rights to writer-director Daniel Castro Zimbron’s “The Darkness.”

Co-written with David Pablos, whose “The Chosen Ones” plays Un Certain Regard, as well as France’s Denis Languerand, “The Darkness” is a new addition to Spain and Mexico’s burgeoning modern tradition, bowed by Guillermo del Toro, of auteur genre movies that explore the dysfunctional family dynamics: Think “Pan’s Labyrinth,” Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Orphanage,” and Jorge Michel Grau’s “We Are What We Are.”

In production, and ready for delivery in 2016,  “The Darkness,” a psychological thriller, is set in a world where the earth has stopped spinning. Argel (Aliocha Sotnikoff) has spent his life, with his two siblings, locked inside the basement of a cabin in a forest whorled in dense toxic fog, fearful of a wild beast that wanders the forest depths.  Then his older brother disappears. Argel sets to find him, confronting the darkest secrets and mysteries the forest and his father (Brontis Jodorosky) hide.

“’The Darkness’ is one of these intriguing original projects that don’t come along often: a terrifying fairy tale from Mexico, a special mix of Shyamalan’s early films, ‘Dogtooth’ and the poetic fantasy of Guillermo del Toro,” said Tanja Meissner, MFI head of sales.

Pablo Zimbron Alva lead-produces at Mexico’s Varios Lobos, one of Mexico’s most active young production houses.

Rolling off state subsidies and an Efecine 189 tax shelter, Varios Lobos’ slate of up-and-coming Mexican directors takes in “I’m No Longer Here,” the second film by Fernando Frias (“Receta”), Edgar Bito’s “Tatewari,” an Austin 2013 Fantastic Market runner-up, “Epitath,” from Yulene Olaizola (Directors’ Fortnight’s “Fogo”) and Ruben Imaz (“Cephalopod”), and “El Estero,” by Sebastian Hiriart (“A Stone Throw’s Away”).

Philippe Avril (“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”) co-produces for France’s Les Films de l’Etranger. Selected for Cannes’ 2014 Cinefondation Atelier, a co-production forum,

“The Darkness” won last year a brace of screenwriters’ labs and project competitions, such as the Guadalajara Co-production Meeting, Panama’s Meets and Morelia Lab.

Key crew features d.p Diego Garcia (“Gueros,” Apichatpong’s Weerasethakul’s “Cemetery of Splendor”), editor Natalia Lopez (“Heli,” “Post Tenebras Lux,” “”Jauja”) and production designer Alisarine Ducolomb, art department co-ordinator on “Amores Perros,” and “Babel.”


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