LOS CABOS, Mexico – Ricardo Silva, director of low-budget breakout hit “Navajazo” and “William, the New Judo Master,” brought his third, most ambitious project to Los Cabos’ Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund development forum. Produced by his partners in full service film and TV production company Specola, Tijuana-based Paulina Valencia and U.S.-based Ryan Zacarias, “Sleepwalk” picks up from where “Navajazo” left off, revisiting the world of misfits dominated by U.S.-bred Mexicans who have been deported from the U.S. to a country that is foreign to them.
In contrast to his two earlier films – “Navajazo” was made for about $6,000 while “William…” was funded by all the prize money made by the former – “Sleepwalk” will have an estimated budget of $500,000. Silva, who can see the prototype border walls built by the Trump administration from his home in Tijuana, sees his new film’s overriding theme on the loss of identity even more relevant in the times we live in. “Sleepwalk” follows the members of the Yunta 55 neighborhood gang members, many of whom have turned to evangelism, to find meaning in their new lives. When their former leader Mano Frita was murdered some 30 years ago, the gang fell apart, with some becoming drug dealers while others found God. Silva revisits them, bringing an actor who closely resembles Mano Frita to allow them to bid him a proper farewell and hold the funeral he was denied.
Described as a “cinematic exercise, where both crew and loved ones will collectively believe in a miracle: the resurrection of Mano Frita,” “Sleepwalk” is not quite a documentary nor a fiction drama, said Silva. “I fight against the categorization of my films; it’s simply cinema,” he said. Specola is comprised of general director/cinematographer Adrian Durazo, Valencia, Silva and helmer-d.p. Alejandro Montalvo. “Sleepwalk” has won funding from the Hubert Bals Selection Script and Project Development Fund and participated in the Locarno Festival’s Match Me! market this year, sparking interest from various European players. Plans are to shoot the film by the fall of next year in Tijuana.