BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development.
The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime friend of manny of the leading lights of a new creative generation of Mexican directors which has made its marks in cinema but is often now diversifying into TV.
It also builds on past relationships: a longtime friend and work colleague of both García Bernal and Luna, Terrazas co-wrote García Bernal’s feature debut “Deficit,” headed up development at Canana, the company Garcia Bernal and Luna created with Pablo Cruz from 2005. Terrazas ankled Canana in 2009 to make his feature debut, “Machete Language,” produced by Mexico City shingle Mr. Woo and exec-produced by García Bernal and Diego Luna.
An alum of New York’s Columbia U, where he studied film, Terrazas was also co-creator and co-writer with García Bernal of Season 1 of Fox Networks Group Latin America’s’ high-end drama series “Aquí en la Tierra,” one of Mexico’s first truly high-end drama series, a searing indictment of Mexico’s corruption sodden ruling elite and the first production of La Corriente del Golfo, the new production house set up by the duo, announced in April this year.
Produced by García Bernal, Kyzza Terrazas, Leandro Helperín and Stacy Perskie at RedRum, as well as Fox Networks Group Latin America, and also co-written by Jorge Dorantes, “Here on Earth’s” Season 1 was the only Latin American series to compete at the first Canneseries TV festival. It won the inaugural Golden Eye award for best series at September’s Zurich Intl. Film Festival.
As head of development, Terrazas will work alongside Paula Amor, La Corriente del Golfo’s general director, with Terrazas overseeing creative development and production, such as Season 2 of “Here on Earth.” There, Terrazas has done much of the heavy lifting, co-writing with Mariana Chenillo, who has gone on to direct episodes with Gabriel Ripstein, fresh off “A Strange Enemy,” a hit Amazon Prime Video original.
At least in a first phase, La Corriente del Golfo’s projects will all come from its partners. Terrazas’ not inconsiderable responsibility will be to implement those ideas, whether working on “how to develop a project, or who should develop it, establishing a communications structure between the company’s partners and whoever is developing the projects,” he said.
A fully-fledged film director in his own right, Terrazas said he would focus full time on La Corriente del Golfo’s projects, all sourced from its partners, in at least a first phase. To this job he can bring a large versatility. His first feature, “Machete Language,” records the downward spiral of a self-destructive political activist, bent on an act of poetic terrorism, and his cooky goth punk singer g.f. Terrazas’ second movie as a director, 2016’s “We Are Tongue,” explored the meaning of rap for new generations.
“Bayoneta,” Terrazas’ just-out third feature, stars “Club of Crows’” Luis Gerardo Méndez in a melancholy Western-tinged tale of emotional immigration – a boxer leaving Mexico for the snowy wastes of Finland hoping for atonement and maybe redemption in one last fight.
“Here on Earth” skewers the Mexico’s ruling elite, turning on the horse-trading, corruption, demonstrations of near-surreal luxury, blackmail and murder practiced by one of Mexico’s most influential families as its patriarch, Governor Mario Rocha (Daniel Giménez-Cacho) prepares to run for president.
“I’m always swimming in different waters,” Terrazas said. It’s how I feel comfortable. I don’t feel comfortable with just one label.”
La Corriente del Golfo’s aim, he added, is to make a “highly select number of projects, which speak of relevant things, given the contemporary world context.”
Time is on La Corriente’s side. There’s a huge demand for series – Argos Comunicación, Mexico’s oldest independent producer, used to make three series a year; now it makes eight, Argos founder Epigmenio Ibarra said at MipCancun.
The success of “Here on Earth,” Luna, fresh of “Narcos Mexico,” and García Bernal, a Golden Globe winner for “Mozart in the Jungle,” the addition of Terrazas and Amor, and their combined contacts, give La Corriente del Golfo huge leverage with traditional players and OTT platforms alike and for the novel positive social action initiatives they want to put into place in Mexico.
“We are in a good position,” said Terrazas. “But, above all, our heart is in the right place.”