You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Neto Villalobos’ ‘Untamed Helmets’ Casts a Light on Male Friendship

Costa Rican Glam-Rock Music heats up the soundtrack

SANTIAGO DE CHILE  — A deadpan comedic ode to male friendship and budding adulthood on the streets of San José, Costa Rica, Neto Villalobos’ “Untamed Helmets” (“Los Cascos Indomables”) is among the eight rough cuts participating at SANFIC’s work in progress section.

Armed with a degree in sociology and subsequent studies in film direction from Barcelona, Villalobos used his investigative field work skills to identify a set of non-pro actors to play the band of motorcycle messengers in his film. Just like in his feature debut “All About the Feathers” (“Por las Plumas”), only the female role is played by an actor. In “Untamed Helmets,” theatre actress Daniela Mora plays the girlfriend of lead character Mancha (“Blotch”), named after the wine-colored birthmark on his face. Glam-rock music plays an integral element in the comedy.

“Helmets” was developed at the Cannes Festival’s Cinefondation Residence, Puertos Cine, Paris Co-production Village, Produire aud Sud, the Br Lab and the Cinéma Développement program of the 27th Toulouse Cinelatino Fest. Financial backing came from Ibermedia, the now defunct Costa Rican fund Cinergia, Costa Rican arts fund ProArtes and state fund El Fauno. Its producers are Pacifica Grey, la Sucia Centroamericana and Dominga Sotomayor’s Cinestación of Chile.

This is your second film, what was your feature debut “All About the Feathers” about? 

It was about a security guard whose life changes for both the better and the worse after he secures a fighting cock. It also has a deadpan comedic tone. It premiered at Toronto’s Discovery sidebar and New Directors at San Sebastian in 2013.

What did you do between your feature films?

I’ve been working on an experimental feature film, “Jamón,” which is backed by the Tribeca Latin America Fund, where I’ve been tracking a couple for one day a month for some three, four years now. I don’t know when it will end. I also co-wrote and co-directed a short, “El Gran Libano,” with Lebanese filmmaker Mounia Akl, who studied at Columbia U. It screened at Directors’ Fortnight this year.

How did you find your lead actor, Arturo Pardo, and the rest of the cast for “Untamed Helmets”?

I wanted to find someone with a familiar-looking face, someone we can all identify with. Pardo’s actually a folk singer. I met with a number of these motorcycle messengers and asked them to join the cast. For Mora, this is her film debut.

You’ve said that glam-rock will be an important element in “Untamed Helmets.” How are you planning to achieve this?

I’m working with Pablo Rojas, who is pretty well known on Costa Rica’s indie music circuit; he’s certainly the most talented. He’ll be composing and performing the glam-rock music in the film, a first for Costa Rican cinema. I’ve directed video clips of his band.

How is the state of Costa Rican cinema these days?

It’s a small country of just four million inhabitants, but more films are being made, an average of four to eight a year. There are various film funds to tap, including ProArtes, and the two-year old state fund, El Fauno. Cinergia, which backed my film, is now gone.

What is your next project?

I’m focusing on completing “Untamed Helmets” at the moment, but then am also moving to Atlanta with my wife who is getting a PhD there, possibly by September or October. We have no kids yet; the films are our kids. With all the movies being made in Atlanta, I hope I find new work opportunities there.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Love You Forever

    'Love You Forever' Heads for Valentine's Day Release

    Hong Kong’s Edko Films has set a February 2020 release for upcoming romantic drama “Love You Forever.” The film is directed by Yao Tingting, who previously made another nostalgic romance “Yesterday Once More,” which went on to enjoy a $27 million global success in 2016. Edko’s Bill Kong is named as producer. The new film [...]

  • The Irishman

    Film News Roundup: 'The Irishman' Wins Capri Film Festival Screenplay Award

    In today’s film news roundup, Steven Zaillian’s script for “The Irishman” wins an award, MGM hires a trio of marketing execs, MTV Documentary Films sets three new projects; and “The Caretaker of Lorne Field” is becoming a movie. AWARDS Steven Zaillian’s screenplay for Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” will receive the best original screenplay award at [...]

  • Saturday Fiction

    'Saturday Fiction' Yanked From China's Golden Rooster Film Festival on Eve of Debut

    Just a day before its scheduled China debut, director Lou Ye’s latest film, “Saturday Fiction,” has been pulled from its slot as the opener of the mainland’s Golden Rooster Film Festival because of unspecified “internal production problems,” according to Chinese film website Mtime. Speculation has been spreading online that it will also be yanked from [...]

  • DeVon Franklin

    DeVon Franklin Signs First-Look Deal at Paramount Pictures

    DeVon Franklin has signed a first-look producing deal at Paramount Pictures. Under his Franklin Entertainment banner, Franklin previously produced inspirational and faith-based films, including this year’s “Breakthrough,” starring Chrissy Metz, as well as “Miracles From Heaven,” with Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah, and the animated film “The Star,” toplined by Zachary Levi, Gina Rodriguez, Oprah [...]

  • Harriet Movie BTS

    'Harriet' Costume Designer Paul Tazewell on How He Crafted Harriet Tubman's Look

    For many, Harriet Tubman’s journey is one we’re taught about in school. We know she’s a heroine, an abolitionist who led slaves to their freedom via the underground railroad. Unless you’ve read the books by Kate Clifford Larson or Beverly Lowry, “We didn’t receive the whole story,” says costume designer Paul Tazewell. Until now. Kasi [...]

  • Viacom HQ LA

    ViacomCBS Sets HR and Inclusion Chiefs

    ViacomCBS has named corporate heads of HR and inclusion as the companies prepare for the merger that is set to close early next month. The soon-to-combine Viacom and CBS have tapped Nielsen alum Nancy Phillips to serve as exec VP and chief people officer. Viacom alum Marva Smalls will serve as global head of inclusion, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content