LOS CABOS, Mexico — Gerardo Gatica and Alberto Muffelmann’s Panorama Global, the company behind Alfonso Ruizpalacios’ “Museo,” are partnering with its co-screenwriter, Manuel Alcalá, and Mauricio Katz, screenwriter of “Miss Bala,” and Netflix “Maniac,” on futuristic thriller “Frogtown.”
As talent become one – if not the – key competitive issue in the world’s new film-TV landscape for every company from Netflix downwards, the deal sees Panorama, fast emerging as a Mexican movie powerhouse, teaming with two of Mexico’s top writing talents. “Frogtown” will mark both the writers’ directorial debuts.
Alcala co-won a Berlin screenwriting Silver Bear with Ruizpalacios for “Museo”; Katz co-wrote “Miss Bala,” produced by Canana, wrote and executive produced Netflix original series “Maniac,” and is a co-creator on one of the biggest upcoming TV series from continental Europe, the Sky-Canal Plus “ZeroZeroZero,” starring Gabriel Byrne and Andrea Riseborough, and from the creative team behind “Gomorrah.”
“Manuel and Mauricio are two of the most interesting and creative minds I’ve ever met, with unique voices and bold ideas, so we couldn’t be happier about partnering up with them in this project and, hopefully, future ventures,” Muffelmann commented.
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Set between Mexico and Los Angeles, “Frogtown” will be shot in English and Spanish, a growing feature of ahead-of-the-curve Mexican fiction as it seeks to appeal to bilingual youth in Mexico and the U.S.
Co-written by Katz and Alcalá, “Frogtown” is a thriller portraying a dystopic future of food and its intoxicating pleasures, set between a fishing village in Mexico and the world of high cuisine in Los Ángeles at a time of looming extinction for humanity, where the future is fish. And the future of fish lies in Frogtown.
Alcalá and Katz partnered in a film rental/distribution company, Videdromo, more than a decade ago. Many aspects and characters of “Frogtown” have been looming in our minds for a long time, from exotic foods to the people that fish, cook and eat them. We are thrilled to create this offbeat world populated with peculiar characters,” Alcala said.
“It’s exciting to me because it melds the thriller elements that I’ve worked with before in the likes of ‘Miss Bala’ and the upcoming ‘Zero Zero Zero’ with an alternative universe in the vein of ‘Maniac,’ Katz added.
“Panorama is the perfect fit for a project like this, they take chances and make great films because of it,” he added.
“We just want to make great films with and bet on great/talented people,” Gatica commented, saying that “Frogtown” can reach broader audiences and film buffs alike.
“Frogtown” marks a furher collaboration between Panorama and Alcalá. In co-production with Detalle Films and Alcalá himself, Panorama is currently working on the production of Manuel’s documentary “Red Privada.” Drawing on Alcala’s encyclopedic knowledge of recent history of Mexico, it turns on the life and work of Manuel Buendía, one of Mexico’s most renowned investigative journalists who concentrated on exposing CIA activities in Mexico and the connections between politics, spectacle, cartels and journalism in the 1980s.
Produced by Panorama and Mr Woo, Kyzza Terrazas’ narrative feature “Bayoneta,” a novel take on immigration staring “Club of Crows’” Luis Gerardo Méndez hits Mexican theaters today, Nov. 9.
Panorama plans to release three feature films in 2019: Romantic comedy “Solteras” by Luis Javier Henaine; coming of age comedy “Todas Las Pecas del Mundo” by Yibrán Asuad; and social drama “I’m No Longer Here” by Fernando Frías, an early highlight at Los Cabos’ Work in Progress this year.
All of them ar currently in post-production. The distribution of these films will be handled by Cinepolis Distribución, the distribution arm of Mexico’s Cinepolis, one of the world’s biggest exhibition chains, which is fast emerging as a powerhouse distributor for upscale Mexican movies.