Alejandro Springall to Direct ‘Sonora,’ in Talks With China Film Group

John Sayles co-penning; Bertha Navarro of Tequila Gang producing

Producer-helmer-scribe Alejandro Springall is set to go behind the cameras once more with his long-gestating road movie that could be the first Latin American pic to be distributed in China.

Springall is in talks with the China Film Group for a possible theatrical release in the hermetic country.

“China currently allows an average 26 foreign titles a year, but the market is expected to open up next year,” said Springall who has visited the country. Producer Bertha Navarro, a partner of Guillermo del Toro in Tequila Gang, estimates the budget will fall under $3 million.

Best known for his acclaimed cross-border dramedy, “Santitos,” in 1999, the last feature Springall directed was the 2010 Eugenio Derbez romcom “No eres tu, soy yo.”

“I rarely direct features, but this project greatly appeals to me,” said Springall, who admits he is a history buff.  Titled “Sonora,” the drama is based on the story “La Ruta de los Caidos” by historian Guillermo Munro Palacio, about a motley group of migrants who crossed the world’s second driest desert (after Death Valley), the Sonora. It is set during the Great Depression in 1931 when the roads between Mexico and the U.S. were closed off to Mexicans and foreigners, and Chinese were being expelled from the state of Sonora by an over-zealous, xenophobic governor. In their flight to the Baja California peninsula, the group of Chinese and Mexicans traverse the lunar landscape of the Sonora desert on a 1928 Ford Model A.

“The movie becomes an exploration of human passions: Racism, avarice, greed, egoism, which turn out to be more treacherous than the desert,” said Springall, who co-penned the screenplay with John Sayles. “This would be the seventh movie we’ve collaborated on,” he said. Edher Campos and Luis Salinas of Machete Prods. will serve as line producers. Both are presenting their Machete productions, “X Quinientos” and “La Habitation,” at Los Cabos.

The “Sonora” cast includes Joaquin Cosio (“The Strain,” “Quantum of Solace”), Juan Manuel Bernal (“Perfect Obedience”) and a cast of Chinese and American actors, yet to be selected.

Plans are to shoot in March and April when it is coolest, with most of the story to be filmed at Pinacate, renowned for its fields of black lava and lunar landscape.

More Film


    Brazil’s Ancine Freezes Incentives, Threatening Film-TV Industry Paralysis

    Brazil’s Ancine agency, its foremost public-sector source of film funding, has frozen all of its incentive programs, potentially near paralyzing new production in Latin America’s biggest film-TV industry. The dramatic decision, which has left Brazil’s industry is a state of shock and intense fear for its future, comes as it has taken further hits. In [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez Reteams With STXfilms on Romantic-Comedy Co-Starring Owen Wilson

    Jennifer Lopez is reteaming with STXfilms on the upcoming romantic-comedy “Marry Me.” Kat Coiro is directing the film and Owen Wilson is in final negotiations to join the pic, which will likely shoot this fall. The script was written by John Rogers and Tami Sagher, with a rewrite by Harper Dill. Lopez and Wilson both [...]

  • Steve Golin The Revenant Spotlight Producer

    Steve Golin, Prolific Producer and Founder of Anonymous Content, Dies at 64

    Steve Golin, an Oscar-winning producer who was founder and CEO of Anonymous Content, died Sunday in Los Angeles of cancer. He was 64. Golin was a pioneer in blending the business of talent management with production. Anonymous Content, which Golin founded in 1999, worked with a stable of big name artists such as Steven Soderbergh, [...]

  • Kelly McCormick David Leitch

    'Hobbs & Shaw' Director David Leitch, Kelly McCormick Sign First-Look Deal With Universal (EXCLUSIVE)

    Universal Pictures is signing David Leitch, his longtime producing partner, Kelly McCormick and their recently founded 87North Production banner to a first-look production deal. “David and Kelly have established themselves as a distinctive, stylish filmmaking team who can do it all, from contained thrillers to franchise tentpoles,” said Universal’s president Peter Cramer. “We are confident [...]

  • Still from cannes competition film "Parasite"

    Cannes: Bong Joon-ho Says ‘Parasite’ Is Too Local to Win Competition

    Having been partially responsible for the Netflix fall out with the Cannes Film Festival, “Okja” and “Snowpiercer” director Bong Joon-ho returns to Cannes competition this year with conventionally- financed “Parasite.” But the Korean-language film is a tragicomedy that Bong says may be too nuanced for the festival. “Cannes always makes me feel excited, fresh, and [...]

  • Summer Box Office: 'Avengers: Endgame,' 'Lion

    Summer Box Office: Five Weekends to Watch

    Popcorn season is upon us, and it’ll be up to comic-book heroes, a wise-cracking genie, and a lion who would be king to ensure movie theaters are still the hottest place to spend the summer. Last summer, blockbusters like “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” Ocean’s 8,” and “The Meg” drove moviegoers to their [...]

  • Critics Week

    Cannes Critics’ Week Unveils Its Lineup

    Lorcan Finnegan’s science-fiction thriller “Vivarium” with Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, Jérémy Clapin’s fantasy-filled animated feature “I Lost My Body,” and Hlynur Pálmason’s Icelandic drama “A White, White Day” are among the 11 films set to compete at Critics’ Week, the section dedicated to first and second films that runs parallel with the Cannes Film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content