×

Netflix Acquires IM Global/Canana’s Mundial Title ‘The Chosen Ones’

Deal on Mexican David Pablos’ second feature teams Netflix with two icons of the independent movie industry

Netflix has acquired global rights to David Pablos’ “Las Elegidas” from Mundial, the joint sales venture of Stuart Ford’s IM Global and Canana, the production-sales company of Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Pablo Cruz.

Produced by Cruz, Pablos’ breakthrough movie recently scored 13 nominations for Mexico’s Ariel Academy Awards. “The Chosen Ones” was also the first Spanish-speaking title to be announced last year for the Cannes Festival, where it screened in Un Certain Regard. It will bow on Netflix from May 8. Global deal obviously does not not include territories licensed by Mundial. ARP Selection, one of France’s premier art-house distributors, acquired French rights to “The Chosen Ones” in the run-up to Cannes last-year, for instance.

Written by Pablos – with Pedro Peirano, the screenwriter of Pablo Larrain’s Oscar-nominated “No” and co-scribe on Sebastian Silva’s “The Maid” serving as a script consultant – “The Chosen Ones” followed on Pablos’ debut, “The Life After,” a teen brother road movie that, remarkably for a graduation film, played Venice Horizons in 2013. Shot in Tijuana, Pablos’ native town – the film’s leads, Oscar Torres, and Nancy Lourdes Talamantes are locals – “The Chosen Ones” turns on 15-year-old, Ulises, groomed by his father to enamor young girls, tricking them into prostitution. But he falls for Sofia, his first victim, who’s just 14. To save her, his father demands he seduces a second girl, entangling Ulises in the world of juvenile prostitution that he was trying to avoid. Escape from it comes at a very high price.

“Though set in the world of juvenile prostitution, this is a film about characters, the relationship between Ulises and Sofia, how it’s transformed,” Pablos told Variety.

He added: “The story’s seen from the masculine point of view. What moved me was to have someone born into a specific context, where he’s obliged to do certain things because of family tradition, suddenly question the world he’s in and doubt what he’s doing.”

Pablos and Cruz are now teaming on an adapatation of Roberto Bolaño’s “The Savage Detectives,” for many the towering achievement of recent Latin American literature, with Pablos writing and set to direct and Cruz producing for Canana.

Deal typifies Netflix’s M.O. of linking with top players in foreign territories as it drives to build catalogue, sometimes facing off with fierce and far more established local players, with a far higher percentage of local product.

Headed by V.P. Cristina Garza, and dedicated sales operation for movies from Latin America, the Latino U.S., Spain and Portugal, IM Global/Canana’s Mundial has cherry-picked many of the region’s top titles, both high-profile plays – Edgar Ramirez starrer “Libertador,” Carlos Moreno’s – and key fiction debuts: Brazilian Fernando Coimbra’s “Wolf at the Door,” and Mexicans Alonso Ruizpalacios’ “Gueros” and, more recently, Alejandra Marquez Abella’s “Semana Santa.” Mundial also taps titles from Canana itself whose credits include Gerardo Naranjo’s “Miss Bala,” Cary Fukunaga’s “Sin Nombre” and the Luna-directed “Abel,” “Cesar Chavez” and “Mr. Pig,” selected for Sundance this year.

IM Global/Canana also moved waves at 2014’s AFM striking for Mundial an exclusive output deal for Spanish-language titles from Alex Garcia’s AG Studios, a film production-financing empire with companies in Mexico, the U.S., Colombia and Brazil.

Though Netflix strives for 100% global first TV rights on series, as it builds catalog, it looks to be taking a more flexible position on movies, boarding early to acquire global or at least international rights or on finished movies, taking outstanding unsold territories. Paying top dollar, its offer is often one which neither producers nor sales agents want to refuse.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content