Mexico’s Everardo González has established him as one of the country’s, and indeed world’s premier documentary filmmakers, but even more so, he has built a team around him that consistently produces high quality, groundbreaking cinema. That team will assemble once again on the upcoming feature “A Wolfpack Called Ernesto.”
At last month’s Morelia Intl. Film Festival, he screened a nearly-finished cut of “Wilderness,” an observation of the nomadic peoples of Namibia, Mexico, Australia, Pakistan, India, Mongolia, the Moroccan Sahara and the Navajo people of Arizona. That same week his U.S.-Mexico border documentary short “A 3 Minute Hug” premiered on Netflix, about an embankment of the Rio Bravo River where families separated by the U.S. immigration are allowed to reunite, if only for a few precious moments.
With “A Wolfpack Called Ernesto,” González will flirt with the line between documentary and fiction, combining true stories to create its titular character, and paralleling that story with the manufacturing of a gun in Argentina. The two stories’ convergent paths twist in a double helix of violence which leaves one person in Mexico dead by firearms every 41 minutes.
Ernesto, the character, represents a generation of teenagers that has become disposable to Mexican society at large and paints the portrait of an institutionalized structure of victims and victimizers. The film will propose a Mexico that is afraid of its own children. And, while Ernesto the character is a composite of stories told by the children who have lived them, he won’t have a voice.
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The gun however, will.
Personified as a dominant female character, the 9mm is an all-too-real reminder that in the end, only the tools of violence survive. The gun’s journey will be tracked from birth in an Argentine foundry to its sale at a Texas gun fair and its eventual arrival in Mexico City’s black market before falling into Ernesto’s hands.
Oscar Balderas’ 2012 article La matachilangos y sus complicit was a major inspiration in González’s decision to use the pistol as a character, and Balderas is working on the production as a researcher and important voice in the film’s message.
“That article is a chronicle I have used for many years to teach how narrative journalism, non-fiction, and documentary encounter similarities and nurture each other,” González told Variety.
Shooting in dangerous areas and activities has become something of a second nature to González.
“For now, my biggest concern is to safeguard the anonymity of those who will give us their testimony,” he explained, pointing out that his crew has already received authorization to shoot in several gang-controlled territories.
According to González, research should be finished in early December, and if all goes according to plan with interviews and scene recreation over the summer, filming should be finished by the end of 2020.