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Mantarraya Prods. Kicks Off Shoot of ‘Nahui’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Gerardo Tort helms ambitious biopic on iconic artist

Principal photography on Mantarraya’s artist biopic “Nahui” kicks off Monday in Mexico City with Irene Azuela, who has starred in “Miss Bala” and in Netflix’s “Sense8,” in the titular role.

“It’s our most ambitious film to date,” said Mantarraya’s Jaime Romandia, who describes it as a period piece and the first biopic in the company’s slate.

Azuela plays opposite Julio Bracho whose credits include TV series “El Capo” and Jorge Negrete’s biopic “Cantinflas,” as Dr. Atl, a painter and writer with whom Nahui had a tumultuous affair. Her real name was Carmen Mondragon but Dr. Atl gave her the moniker Nahui Olin, a symbol of Aztec renewal meaning “four movements.” At the peak of her career in the ‘20s and ‘30s, Nahui also posed as a model for the likes of Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot and Edward Weston.

Mantarraya is also prepping another pic with Tort, “Los Años Rotos” (“Broken Years”) with plans to start principal photography by June 2018. “I think he’s a very versatile director and one of the most dependable ones in Mexico,” said Romandia. Set in Mexico in 2001, “Broken Years” centers on a man who finds out that his brother, who vanished during Mexico’s “Dirty War” of the ‘70s, may still be alive. Tort’s long-time collaborator and spouse Marina Stavenhagen has written both screenplays.

Mantarraya is also in post on Carlos Reygadas’ “Where Life is Born” where Reygadas himself plays a husband in an open relationship. Drama is lead-produced by Mantarraya in co-production with Reygadas’s Nodream Cinema, Le Pacte, Luxbox, Cinema du Monde, ZDF, Sorfond, Denmark’s Snowglobe and Mer Film. With the Match Factory as its international sales agent, pic is expected to be ready by the end of 2017.

Its second animated feature, in partnership with Mexico City-based Fotosintesis Media, “An Angel in the Clock,” is completed and a third one, “A Costume for Nicolas” is in production. “The Angel in the Clock” pivots on Amelia, a girl with leukemia who wants to stop time. She meets Malachi, an angel who lives inside her cuckoo clock.

“A Costume for Nicolas” tracks a 10-year-old child with Down Syndrome whose late mother used to make him a costume on every one of his birthdays.

Company is also finalizing “Just Meet,” Fernanda Romandia’s documentary about Pacific Coast artists’ residence Casa Wabi and its renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando.

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