×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lila Aviles’ ‘The Chambermaid’ Set for Toronto, San Sebastian; Drops Trailer, Poster (EXCLUSIVE)

Sold by Alpha Violet, Mexican Lila Avilés first feature forms part of a new wave of women directors forging Mexico’s cinema

MADRID — In a strong year for Mexican cinema – think Sebastián Hofmann’s “Time Share,” Alfonso Ruizpalacios’ “Museo” – the world premiere at Venice of the latest films by two of Mexico’s biggest names – Alfonso Cuarón and Carlos Reygadas – shouldn’t distract from another narrative: the ever increasing number of movies by Mexican women directors hitting major festivals, scoring deals and winning post-production plaudits.

“The Good Girls,” from Alejandra Marquez Abella (“Semana Santa”), selected for Toronto Platform, has just been picked up by Luxbox.

Now Lila Avilés’ “The Chambermaid” (“La camarista”), one of the most-awaited of Mexico’s feature film debuts, made the Toronto Discovery cut, announced Tuesday, after already being selected for the New Directors’ competition at later-September’s San Sebastian Festival in Spain. Variety has had exclusive access to its first trailer and poster, dropped by sales agent Alpha Violet, which suggests the film’s tenor and charm.

A winningly grounded fiction film, it follows Eve, a chambermaid, on her daily grind around Mexico City’s Hotel Presidente Internacional, a high-rise glass tower with wooden paneled walls interiors which director Avilés calls a kind of “high-class prison.”

The film’s near-documentary attention to detail mixes however with a humanistic vision – which Los Cabos and Ventana Sur audiences found touching – of the search for identity of a young woman who seems invisible to some clients, is already a mother, but not yet her own person.

The Chambermaid” is produced by Limerencia, Avilés and Tatiana Graullera’s Mexico-based company, Foprocine, a investment line at Mexico’s Imcine film agency, Shalson at Bad Boy Billy Production, L.A-based producers Jana Diaz-Juhl and Pau Brunet, and Bambú Audiovisual.

Avilés found the key into the film befriending chambermaids at the Hotel Presidente and, following them about their work. “By understanding their humanity, I was able to discover my own point of view as an artist,” Avilés says.

At one disarming point in the film, Eve lets drop that she has to travel nearly two hours just to get to work.

Enrolling in the hotel’s adult education program, befriending a co-worker, wondering at the capricious hotel guests’ belongings, tentatively exploring her sexual attraction, putting in punishingly long hours – she has to take showers just to stay awake, hard-working Eve dreams of promotion at the hotel. She has no contact in the hotel hierarchy, but her determination to better her lot, and sense of self, grows.

“While I was filming, I couldn’t stop thinking about the working class, all that great labor force. Mexico is not only about violence and drug trafficking, there are also a lot of people who work non-stop to have a better way of life for them and their families,” Avilés observes in a director’s statement.

Though it is never on the nose, “The Chambermaid” builds as a compassionate tribute to Mexico’s anonymous laboring classes.

Actress Gabriela Cartol (“I Dream in Another Language”) plays Eve in a performance likely to catch attention as the film travels the festival circuit.

Written by Avilés and Juan Carlos Márquez, “The Chambermaid” hits Toronto and San Sebastián with notable industry pedigree, having scored prizes and industry deals throughout its post-production. First seen in Mexico at November’s Los Cabos Festival’s Gabriel Figueroa Work in Progress competition, where it scooped a Labo Award, “The Chambermaid” was the first film to see investment from a new fund set up by Shalson’s Bad Boy Billy and Brunet and Diaz-Juh, who boarded as co-producers. “The Chambermaid” was among the biggest winners at December’s Ventana Sur Primer Corte pix-in-post showcase. Paris-based Alpha Violet swooped on the title, acquiring international sales rights, soon afterwards.

More Film

  • The-Ancient-Law

    Lumière Festival’s MIFC Broadens International Spotlight with Focus on Germany

    The 7th Lumière Film Festival’s International Classic Film Market (MIFC) is expanding its international scope this year with more foreign companies than ever before taking part in the event, high-profile guests and an examination of Germany’s heritage cinema sector. With 17 international firms from 25 countries at the event, the MIFC has reported a 20% [...]

  • US actor Donald Sutherland poses for

    Donald Sutherland Reflects in Lyon On A Life And Career Marked By Cinema

    In a loose and free-flowing on-stage interview held at the Lumière Festival this past Sunday, Donald Sutherland reflected on his decade-spanning career with a tone that mixed personal irreverence alongside genuine veneration for the art form that brought him this far. “I love filmmakers, I really do,” said the Canadian actor, who delighted the local [...]

  • Terry Back chairman ACF

    Veteran U.K. Media Investor Terry Back Joins ACF as Chairman

    CANNES — Veteran U.K. film industry investor Terry Back has joined ACF investment bank as chairman. ACF, headed by CEO Thomas Dey, has been at the forefront of the M&A activity around independent TV and film production outfits, mostly in the unscripted TV arena. ACF is in the midst of expanding its activities in the [...]

  • Joker

    Korea Box Office: 'Joker' Remains on Top, 'Gemini Man' Lands in Fourth

    Warner Bros.’ “Joker” remained on top of the South Korean box office in its second weekend. The American psychological thriller earned $5.71 million from 768,000 admissions between Friday and Sunday, for a total of $28.3 million from 3.85 million admissions after two weekends. It accounted for 46% of total weekend box office in the country. [...]

  • dolittle-DRD_Tsr1Sht_1011_RGB_4_rgb-1

    Robert Downey Jr. Embarks on Perilous Journey in First 'Dolittle' Trailer (Watch)

    Robert Downey Jr. is setting sail with some furry friends in the first trailer for “Dolittle,” Universal Pictures’ reimagining of the classic story about a man who could speak to animals. “We have no choice but to embark on this perilous journey,” he says. Set to a rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” [...]

  • Parasite

    Bong Joon Ho's 'Parasite' Posts Powerful Opening in North America

    Bong Joon-Ho’s dark comedy “Parasite,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, has launched with a spectacular $376,264 at three U.S. theaters.  Neon opened “Parasite” at The Landmark and Arclight Hollywood in Los Angeles and at the IFC Center in New York, where it broke the opening record set by 2014’s “Boyhood.” Its per-screen average of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content