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Femme-Power Drives Ecuadorian Gabriela Calvache’s Feature Debut ‘La Mala Noche’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Movie is co-produced by Geminiano Pineda of Mexico’s Cine Canibal

Seeking to redress the paucity of women playing key roles in the film industry, Gabriela Calvache deliberately sought out women to fill department head positions in her feature debut, “La Mala Noche” (“The Longest Night”). 

As a result, 80% of her crew are made up of women. Most of them are from Ecuador with the exception of her DoP, Gris Jordana, who hails from Spain. She also did not discriminate against age, with at least two of her key department heads over 65 years old.

“La Mala Noche” deals with the real-world issues of human trafficking and the mafia which preys on the victims, oftentimes children, of natural disasters in Latin America. Drama centers on a prostitute in her forties who struggles to pay off a debt in order to reunite with her daughter in Colombia.

Calvache’s deep experience in docu filmmaking called for rigorous research in the prevalent issues at the core of her film. To prep in the direction of actors, she took several acting classes herself, and rehearsed for a month with her cast, most of them theatre actors. 

“Shooting the film itself was a breeze compared to its pre-production,” she said.

Popular on Variety

A co-production between Calvache’s Cineatica Films and Geminiano Pineda’s Cine Canibal of Mexico, “La Mala Noche,” based on Calvache’s screenplay, recently wrapped principal photography in Ecuador. Pineda is in Cannes to seek a French co-producer to help in the financing of its post- production aside from acquiring titles for Canibal’s distribution arm.

Pineda just picked up Mexican distribution rights and Latin American PayTV/VOD rights to Cannes 2017 official competition entry, Robin Campillo’s aids drama “BPM (Beats per Minute)” from Films Distribution.

“I think we have gained the confidence of Mexican audiences in the Cine Canibal brand, which has focused on releasing films from Cannes, Toronto and riskier auteur titles like “Tangerine” or “Swiss Army Man,” said Pineda. The five-year old production-distribution company releases an average of 10-12 pics a year.  

Canibal is about to release “It Comes at Night” by Trey Edward Shults, in Mexico and recently picked up “The Night Eats the World” (“Le nuit a Devore le Monde”) by Dominique Rocher, currently in post.

Other Canibal releases include “Grave” by Julia Ducournau, “Ken Loach’s “Personal Shopper” and his 2016 Cannes Palme d’Or-winning drama, “I, Daniel Blake.

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