LOS CABOS, Mexico — Cinematographer-turned-director Joaquín del Paso is at this year’s Los Cabos Festival with his highly anticipated sophomore feature, the 1986-set suspense-thriller, “The Hole in the Fence,” pitching at the festival’s Works in Development section. Del Paso also announced to Variety that “It Follows” and “Under the Silver Lake” composer Disasterpiece will score the film, and that the production has been awarded Mexico’s Eficine production fund.
Two years ago, Del Paso burst onto the scene with “Maquinaria Panamericana,” which competed at Berlin’s Forum and won him two Ariel Awards in Mexico, as well as recognition at the Guadalajara, Guanajuanto, Raindance and Torino festivals, just to name a few.
Along with Fernanda de la Peza, a rising star producer in Mexican cinema in her own right, the two founded Amondo Cine, the Mexican branch of Amondo Films, a company with offices in Delhi and Warsaw – Del Paso lived and studied film in Poland at the Polish National Film School. In addition to Del Paso’s “The Hole in the Fence,” Amondo Cine is also developing the debut feature of Natalia López Gallardo, “Supernova.”
Keeping the Poland-Mexico connection going, the screenplay was co-written by Lucy Pawlak, a Londoner with Polish roots who now lives and works in Mexico City. The partnership aims to harvest fruit from a familiar crop, as Pawlak also co-wrote the aforementioned “Maquinaria Panamericana.”
“The Hole in the Fence” kicks off at a prestigious Catholic school for boys from Mexico’s upper-class, Centro Escolar Los Pinos. The school organizes a trip for the young men, sending them into a secluded part of the countryside for an adolescent get-away. It’s not long, the first day in fact, when the boys find a disconcerting hole in the fence which protects the camp’s perimeter. The mood quickly turns dour with the implication that an intruder must have made their way into the boy’s camp.
Imaginations run wild and stories begin to circulate about the dangerous village adjacent to the camp, full of bad men, kidnappings and gruesome stories about organ trafficking. Things only get more frantic when a second hole is found, and questions begin to arise about the possibly sinister pre-meditated nature of the trip, and the connections between the camp and the nearby village.
“This ensemble film aims to explore various themes through depicting a group of boys and staff in a school camp,” explained del Paso. “I wish to consider how young minds are subjected to collective religious indoctrination, as well as reconsider the idea of mass hysteria from a new angle – also a key theme of my previous film. “
He added: “I would also like to explore the structure and function of the education system that serves to form the future economic elite in Mexico. I believe in the universality of the story, and hope to make an exciting, energetic thriller that will reach different audiences.”
The project is currently financing, and has already secured nearly 80% of its proposed budget. Del Paso and De la Peza are in Los Cabos looking to pick up a sales agent, distribution and to secure additional equity. They plan to begin filming in July 2019.