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MIA: ‘Gueros’ Producers Prep ‘Oliver and the Pool’

Arcadi Palerm-Artis' feature debut, set up at Mexico's Catatonia Cine, pitched at Rome's NCN Co-Pro Forum

Catatonia Cine, the Mexican prodco behind arthouse hit “Gueros,” Mexican Alonso Ruizpalacios’ standout feature debut, is prepping “Oliver and the Pool,” a coming of age comedy directed by first-timer Arcadi Palerm-Artis, also from Mexico.

“Oliver and the Pool” has been selected at the Rome Fest’s Co-production Forum, MIA New Ciname Network, focused on projects in development suitable for co-production and wider audiences, which runs Oct. 18-20.

The project turns on Oliver, a 12-year old boy who loses the joy of living after his father’s death and sits in a deck chair next to the swimming pool, waiting to be struck down by a aneurysm. Only love will allow Oliver to get his mojo back.

Co-penned by Palerm-Artis and “Gueros”-co-writer Gibran Portela, “Oliver” is “a dramatic comedy that portrays the universality of both being an orphan and loss,” in Palerm-Artis’ words.

It is “a story in which you learn to forgive others and oneself, where love is a vital fuel,” he added.

Produced by Mariana Monroy Lopez at Catatonia, “Oliver” is also backed by Mexican company Optika and has financed to date 21% of its €843,859 ($956,805) budget. Project received a grant from Mexico’s Imcine film institute, which was invested in developing the screenplay, and awaits

Furtherfinancing from Imcine’s Foprocine film fund, Monroy Lopez said.

The producer, who’s pitching “Oliver” in Rome alongside helmer Palerm-Artis, added that there are negotiations with further production companies to join the project, after taking part at San Sebastian Fest’s 4th Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum in September.

Run by Monroy, Ramiro Ruiz and Anais Flores, Catatonia produces features, documentaries, TV series and Internet shorts, betting on contents based on simple but strong ideas, that audiences can identify with.

Catatonia’s biggest cinema hit to date, dramedy “Gueros,” handled by Mundial and acquired for the U.S. by Kino Lorber, won Berlin Festival’s Best First Feature award, San Sebastian’s Horizontes Latinos, Mexico’s Los Cabos, and an audience award at the AFI Fest, among other plaudits, establishing it as one of the standout debuts of 2014.

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