Among the few genre films to vie for a Premio Mezcal for best Mexican movie, Guadalajara Int’l Film Fest official competition entry “Veronica” premieres March 15 at the festival with Mexican co-directors Carlos Algara and Alejandro Martinez and cast on hand.
Algara and Martinez have worked together for the past six years under their label The Visualists, where they produced ads, shorts and music videos, co-creating the TV series “Blue Demon” for Sony Pictures Television. The bio-series about iconic Mexican wrestler Alejandro Munoz Moreno airs on Televisa’s streaming service Blim, and Univision in the U.S.
Psychological thriller “Veronica” is their joint debut feature, a co-production with Juan Carlos Segura’s Producciones a Ciegas. Drama is filmed mostly in black and white as its two protagonists, a retired psychologist and her patient, face off in an isolated house. The film participated in the Berlinale European Film Market last month where sales agent Corazon Films kicked off European sales.
How did you come up with the concept for “Veronica”?
Carlos Algara: I wrote the screenplay with my fellow Vancouver Film School alum Tomas Nepomuceno soon after graduating. We were inspired by such noirish suspense thrillers as Ingrid Bergman’s “Persona,” Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion” and Alfred Hitchcock’s work. We were fresh out of school and wrote the script in a record seven days.
How do you split the work between you?
Alejandro Martinez: I focus on the camera work while Carlos works with the cast.
Algara: We worked closely in pre-production, jointly deciding on the cast and camera movements. We even storyboarded the entire film.
Why did you choose to film it in black and white?
Algara: Two reasons: Firstly, because we like the medium and secondly, as a visual tool: It starts off in black and white but color seeps in as the real story emerges.
What was your budget for “Veronica”?
Algara: We had a budget of $400,000, which includes pre-production and post.
Where did you shoot the film?
Martinez: We shot it on location at the Bosques de Monterreal resort in Arteaga, Coahuila, Northern Mexico. The house in the film is actually a hybrid of three houses in the resort. But the place could be anywhere.
What do you hope to accomplish in Guadalajara?
Algara: We’d like to win something, of course. It will be our first time to show it in public so we’re very excited. It will also be a reunion with our cast and crew since we wrapped some two years ago.
What’s next for The Visualists ?
Algara: If all goes well, we’ll be making dramedy “Amor en Cursivas,” (“Handwritten Love”), which will be more straightforward than “Veronica,” about a young man who falls in love with a jaded older woman.