Leading international sales agency-production-distribution company, FiGa Films, has snagged all worldwide rights to “This is Cristina” (“Ella es Cristina”), the directorial debut of Chilean scribe Gonzalo Maza, who has co-written four of Sebastian Lelio’s films, including his Oscar-winning “A Fantastic Woman” and Berlin Festival winner “Gloria.”
“It’s a pleasure to collaborate with Gonzalo, whose writing we’ve admired so much in the past. He’s got a great future as a director and we’re fortunate to be behind his lovely feature,” said FiGa’s Sandro Fiorin who has already sold it to China’s Beijing Hualu NewMedia.
Produced by Primate Lab, Noise Media and Maza’s Mar Humano, the black and white dramedy revolves around the titular Cristina and her best friend, played by Mariana Derderian and Paloma Salas, who are both in their 30s. After a major bust up between them, Cristina’s life spirals just when she could use the support of a good friend.
Salma Hayek, who met Maza at the Independent Spirit Awards last year, and Siobhan Flynn, her development exec at Ventanarosa Prods., serve as executive producers of the film.
“I was drawn towards ‘Ella es Cristina’ for its unique portrait of a generation of urban young Chilean women struggling for recognition and respect but in a fresh and funny way,” Hayek told Variety. “I am always looking to support fellow artists – Gonzalo is one of the most talented screenwriters in the Latin American community so I was excited to be involved in his directorial debut,” she continued.
Storyboard Media released the dramedy in Chile, where it received critical and audience acclaim on the alternative circuit last June.
“We found the indie format of the film very appealing so our company Primate Lab decided to join forces with Chilean digital marketing agency Noise Media to co-produce it,” said producer Nicolas San Martin, a partner in Primate Lab with Alejandro Wise.
“Cristina” was lensed by Chilean DP Benjamin Echazarreta, whose notable credits include “A Fantastic Woman,” “Gloria” and Luis Felipe Fernandez-Salvador’s stunning docudrama, “A Son of Man,” which represented Ecuador at the 91st Academy Awards.
Aside from presenting the international premiere of “This is Cristina” at Morelia, Maza is one of the mentors at the 3rd Sundance Morelia Lab, running Oct. 18-21 at the Morelia Int’l Film Festival (FICM).
“I filmed it in black and white firstly because the format lends a nostalgic tone, reminiscent of a time that has passed, which is the point of view of the film: Someone who remembers a time in her life she’d rather forget,” said Maza, who is now based in London.
“Secondly, it reminds me of many black and white films that I admire, that have always been honest, sincere and direct. I want to be part of this family of films, from ‘Tres Tristes Tigres’ by Raul Ruiz to ‘Permanent Vacation’ by Jim Jarmusch or ‘Paper Moon’ by Peter Bogdanovich,” he mused.
“John Cassavetes, Andrew Bujalski, Wim Wenders and ’25 Watts’ directors Pablo Stoll and Juan Pablo Rebella are among my many other references,” he added.