Cinepolis Distribution, the fledgling distribution arm of Mexico’s giant exhibition circuit Cinepolis, has picked up Amat Escalante’s “The Untamed,” which is slated for a platform release on July 21 in Mexico. Escalante won the Silver Lion best director award for his sci-fi drama at September’s 73rd Venice Int’l Film Festival where it had its world premiere.
In 2013, he won the Cannes best director award for his direction of “Heli,” about the devastating impact of cartel violence on one family.
“We have great respect for Amat’s work; he’s grown quite a large fan base,” said Cinepolis Distribution head Leonardo Cordero. “We’d like to help widen his reach,” said Cordero who plans to kickstart the “Untamed” release to as many as 100 screens.
“Heli” was only on 30 screens,” he noted.
Although it had picked up some films the year prior such as “Cartel Land,” “A Most Violent Year” and “Suite Francaise,” Cinepolis Distribution officially launched in 2016 with the release of Jonas Cuaron’s “Desierto” with a mandate to release up to 20 pics a year, among which six to eight would be homegrown titles.
“Our main focus is on supporting Mexican cinema” said Cordero. “Desierto” ran for 11 weeks on some 600 screens, racking up nearly one million admissions. Towards the end of last year, Cinepolis released family comedy “Un Padre no tan Padre,” which lured close to two million admissions, making it the fifth top Mexican release of the year. “With this comedy, we joined the ranks of the leading ten distributors of the country last year,” said Cordero.
In February, it had its first hit of the year with Joseph Hemsani’s coming-of-age thriller “Mientras el lobo no esta,” which racked up more than a million admissions.
Based out of Morelia, Cinepolis is the fourth-largest exhibition circuit in the world in terms of screen count, with close to 5,000 screens in Mexico and a dozen other countries, including the U.S, Spain, Latin America and India.
Currently the only exhibitor in Mexico to venture into distribution, Cinepolis has been boarding films at the development stage. As the main backer of the Morelia Int’l Film Festival, Cinepolis awarded a distribution guarantee and P&A valued at 250,000 pesos ($13,282) to work-in-progress program Impulso Morelia winner Everardo Gonzalez for his striking documentary “La Libertad del Diablo.”
“We boarded ‘The Godbyes’ after seeing the first cut in Ventana Sur,“ Cordero said of Natalia Bersitain’s delicate portrait of Mexican poetess and pioneering feminist Rosario Castellanos. Others picked up at the development phase include Manolo Caro’s “La Vida Inmoral de la Pareja Ideal,” “Un Padre no tan Padre,” and comedy “Cuando los Hijos Regresan,” which opens in December and is expected to be a big draw.