Julio Hernández Cordón, one of Mexico’s most-awarded independent filmmakers over the last decade, has found the leading man for his next feature “The Day is Long and Dark (My Friends are Vampires),” in Fantastic Fest best actor winner Francisco Barreiro, star of Adrián García Bogliano’s “Here Comes the Devil.”.

Barreiro’s casting was shared with Variety from Buenos Aires’ Ventana Sur Market where the project was pitched for the first time publicly at the event’s Proyecta sidebar for Latin American projects.

Since his debut feature “Gasolina” swept San Sebastian’s in progress awards in 2007 before returning the following year and winning the Latino Horizons Award, Hernández Cordón has been one of Latin America’s most prolific filmmakers, releasing a new feature almost every year.

In “The Day is Long and Dark,” Ariel is a Mexican gore film director and an actual vampire. He tours Europe and Latin America’s most important festivals with his latest film, “My Friends are Vampires,” spending sleepless nights in random hotel rooms across Europe and Latin America, seeking out dealers who can score him some blood. The struggle finds him weaker all the time.

Ariel has a son in Spain that he can’t see but desperately wishes he could, aware that the only way he will ever be able to rest and and begin to get well is to reunite with the boy.

“It’s a movie about a monster that doesn’t want to be one anymore,” Hernández told Variety. “That is his conflict, and sometimes he even succeeds. The motivation is to use the vampire myth to portray a man divided in two.”

Putting the film in context with his other work and where he is in his career, Hernández says, “As a director I am at an introspective stage with the theme of fatherhood, an idea that I began to work on with my previous film (San Sebastián Horizontes Latino player) ‘Buy Me a Gun.’”

Hernández says that visually the film will be heavily inspired by the work of illustrator Raymond Pettibon.

“In his drawings, which intersperse text and image and drink from comics and illustration, Pettibon focuses on historical reflection, emotional longing, poetic ingenuity and strident criticism of his environment,” Hernández explained.

“That particularity of aesthetics and discourse is what I want in my film,” he added, saying that Ariel will be constantly reading poetry by Lorca, Panero, Whitman, Verlaine and Akabal. “I want to frame it the way Pettibon does.”

Daniela Leyva Becerra Acosta and Andrea Toca from Mexico’s Un Beso are producing and looking for co-producers in France and Spain to help with the film’s European shoots. They are also planning to apply for Eficine financial support in February.

“The plan is to film in several cities and recreate their film festivals, or better still at them, if they authorize us to record during the festivals,” Hernández explained. “The film is inspired by Locarno, Venice, Mar del Plata, Bafici, Toulouse and San Sebastian.”

Shooting is scheduled to begin at the end of 2020, with a sure-to-be meta festival release sometime in 2021.

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Julio Hernández Cordón