MORELIA, Mexico — Mexican helmer-scribe Marcelo Tobar is teaming up for the third time with producer Elsa Reyes of Zensky Cine to make his most ambitious film to date. Contrary to his earlier features, which cost roughly $150,000 each to make, Tobar’s latest film, “Los Idealistas,” boasts a $1 million budget.
Zensky Cine produced and distributed Tobar’s 2017 hit “Polar Bear,” the first Mexican movie to be shot entirely on an iPhone and winner of last year’s Best Mexican Feature at Morelia, and his earlier 2014 film, “Asteroid.”
“It was a challenge to raise the financing for “Los Idealistas” (literal translation, “The Idealists”) but after several attempts, we were finally able to tap Mexico’s film incentives,” said Reyes, who added that Cinepolis Distribution has shown interest in releasing the film.
“It’s the first comedy I direct,” said Tobar, adding: “What greater challenge after ‘Polar Bear’ than to make a comedy for the general public without betraying the authenticity that I like to capture in my films; in that sense it’s another experiment!”
“I also believe that an optimistic movie is much harder to pull off than a tragic one,” he said.
Penned by Tobar and Marcela Fuentes Barain, “Los Idealistas” is set in a country house outside of Mexico City where a group of old friends get together to reminisce about their university days. As the holiday progresses, long buried resentments and issues of unresolved romances begin to surface.
“Los Idealistas” is an attempt to make an auteur film for the mainstream audience; it’s inspired by the great Hollywood cinema of the ‘70s,” said Tobar.
Starring some of Mexico’s most renowned actors led by Claudia Ramirez (“Solo con tu Pareja”) and Juan Pablo Medina (“La Casa de las Flores”), “Los Idealistas” is currently in pre-production and scheduled to start principal photography in two weeks.
Zensky is also the lead producer in Bani Khoshnoudi’s exile drama “Fireflies” which competes this year at Morelia, and was picked up by FiGa Films for all Latin America. “We’ve normally made niche, auteur films so “Los Idealistas” is our first mainstream production,” said Reyes. Given that seven of the top 10 Mexican movies in Mexico this year have been comedies, this seems a sound move.
Reyes is also developing a light coming-of-age film with writer Montserrat Larque, who has penned and directed such shorts as “Veneno” and “Welcome to the Newlyweds.”