Underscoring the growing appeal of Dominican Republic productions for the international industry, Media Luna New Films has acquired world sales rights to two new film productions: “Mosh,” starring “The Chronicles of Narnia’s” Damian Alcazar, and “Dominicanas,” about how Dominican models have taken the fashion world by storm.
Both films, as well as a third pick-up, “El Rezador,” from Ecuador’s Tito Jara H., will be introduced to buyers at the next week’s Ventana Sur, Latin America’s biggest film market.
Directed by Dominican Juan Antonio Bisonó, in his debut feature, and currently in post-production, “Mosh” toplines Alcázar, who starred in “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” and “Narcos,” the experimental hip-hop singer and songwriter Omar Augusto Luis (aka Acentoh) and newcomer Rebeca Dalmasí. It turns on Mosh, a contemporary dancer, and her cousin Geronimo, an aspiring rapper. “Set in a colorful and vibrant Dominican Republic, the two will have to face many challenges in an absurd world where no one is what it seems and God is the greatest pianist,” the synopsis runs. Bison’s label Gluck Audiovisual Productions produces with (Ricky Gluski’s Lone Coconut.
From Carlos Lamarche at Producciones G&W, “Dominicanas” explores the explosion onto the fashion scene of a multitude of Dominican models such as Lineisy Montero, Arlenis Sosa, Omahyra Mota and Rose Cordero.
“Forget Brazil, the models everyone is talking about today are from the Dominican Republic,” Vogue proclaimed in October 2015. The documentary asks why.
Media Luna already acquired a third Dominican title at the Cannes Festival, “The Projectionist,” the new film from José Maria Cabral, director of “Woodpeckers,” which made a splash at Ventana Sur two years ago, was acquired by Film Factory, and selected for Sundance. Latido acquired “Miriam Lies,” a hit at Ventana Sur last year, which went on to compete at Karlovy Vary.
The Dominican Republic was once best known for a mainstream cinema which proved the most popular of any in Latin America, hitting domestic market shares which are the highest of any film industry in Latin American. In place since a new film law in 2010, tax credits have allowed filmmakers to step up in production values and attempt more exportable movies with a social edge.
“Thanks to the spotlight that festivals such as Sundance and Tribeca among others put on filmmakers like Cabral in recent years, there is a new generation of talented filmmakers who are being nurtured in their country because of the film fund of DGCine and the tax credit, for example,” Media Luna CEO Ida Martins stated.
She went on: “It is exciting time and it is only the beginning: There are many filmmakers on their first feature with an incredible voice, therefore we pride ourselves of taking part to the fast evolution of Dominican cinema.”
A social issue thriller to be shot in high contrast, inspired by Goya’s “black series” paintings, capturing the texture of the walls, streets and objects of Ecuador’s Quito that “expose a corrupt and organic environment, in a total moral decline,” its makers claim, “El Rezador” centers on a preacher who builds a huge business out of claiming that a little girl has had miraculous visions. His scam gets out of hand.
In late development, “The Preacher” is a thriller which joins the dots between power, amorality and the corruption of faith business,” Jara H. said.
Corruption and criminality are more and more common in Latin American cinema, said Martins. “They are truly part of pretty much everyone’s reality, social issues cannot be escaped when trying to depict no matter what story.”
She added that audiences are also fascinated by the charismatic characters in crime stories, citing “Narcos.” “‘El Rezador’ offers a brilliant example in that direction.”
At Ventana Sur, Media Luna will present market screenings of four of its freshest films: “Being Impossible,” the portrait of among intersex person, from Venezuela’s Patricia Ortega, which screened at the Valladolid and Habana Festivals); thriller “Persecuted,” by Colombia’s Yesid Leone; “Averno,” by Marcos Loayza, weaving La Paz’s nightlife with Andean mythology; and Dutch movie “My Foolish Heart,” directed by Rolf van Eijk, about the final days of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker.