Breaking Glass Pictures, founded in 2009 by industry veterans Richard Wolff and Richard Ross, has announced the acquisition of the Colombian Academy Award submission “Guilty Men,” which swept Colombia’s Macondo Awards last December.
The deal was negotiated by Breaking Glass’ CEO Richard Wolfe and Films Boutique’s Jean-Christophe Simon.
Sharing the signature trait of many of Colombia’s best-known films, most famously 1998’s Palme d’Or nominee “The Rose Seller,” “Guilty Men” was shot using all non-professional, local actors.
Variety’s Jay Weissberg reviewed the film saying: “’Guilty Men’ mines a great deal of its power from a precocious visual language that contrasts sunshine with darkness for added effect,” and gave credit to first-time director Iván D. Gaona: “He’s done an impressive job working with the amateur actors.”
The film world premiered at Venice Days, and held its North American premiere at Toronto. Since then it has participated in a host of international festivals such as Palm Springs, as well as playing at the AFI Latin American Festival and the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York.
Described as a “human film” in its Variety review, the story focuses on Mariana as she prepares to marry René, her ex-boyfriend’s cousin. When her long-time true love Willington tries to win her back before losing her forever, a rumor of a town thief begins to spread and a series of violent deaths stir up old stories of the town’s violent past. As the turmoil escalates, a paramilitary group is sent in to establish order in the region destabilizing the townspeople’s best-laid plans.
For those unaware of the inner workings of Colombian politics circa 2005, it’s important to note that at the time, the demobilization of paramilitary groups by the government was a hot button issue, and cause for great confusion, particularly in smaller rural areas.
“Director Gaona’s feature debut, about two men in love with the same woman, is a wild and thrilling ride through the terrifying, dark corners and back alleys of Colombia,” said Richard Ross, co-president of Breaking Glass via a press statement: “Betrayal, power, greed, and murder set the stage for a dizzying, jaw-dropping chase through a sugarcane field, and a gasp-inducing final standoff that should satisfy even the most discerning genre fans.”
“Guilty Men” was produced by Bogotá-based La Banda del Carro Rojo Producciones, whose other titles include the shorts “Portraits,” which received a special mention at Locarno in 2012, and Clermont Ferrand player “Completo,” as well as the in-production feature “Güepsa, Short Stories from Santander.”
A Philadelphia-based distribution company, Breaking Glass focuses on the distribution of independent films of all genres from around the world. Recent titles include 2017’s “Inheritance” and “Assholes,” and 2016’s “Claire in Motion.” Each film competed at Austin’s SXSW Festival, where “Assholes” came away with the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award.