SANTIAGO, Chile — Call it the “Roma” effect but Mexican newcomer Lila Aviles’ engaging portrait of a hotel servant, “The Chambermaid” (“La Camarista”) has found outstanding reception in the U.S. and in multiple territories, giving hope to other arthouse films from Latin America and elsewhere that seek distribution in “fortress America.”
“‘Roma’ was a beautiful, brawny and no denying, brilliant period drama – with a huge budget, said “The Chambermaid’s” U.S. distributor, Richard Lorber, President and CEO of Kino Lorber. “We were more than thrilled to be able to make so much noise with our quiet film – one with a minuscule budget in both production and promotion,” he noted, adding: “It’s possible that audiences were primed to experience ‘The Chambermaid,’ given some similarities to “Roma,” but they encountered a very different creation with a depth of insight into character and a narrative sensibility that was wholly different.”
According to Lorber, the company started the film’s platform release late June in New York and Los Angeles before rolling out nationwide. “We’re firm believers in the theatrical experience and the power of word-of-mouth, and the film has garnered rave reviews and enthusiastic audiences around the country,” he pronounced.
“It’s a tribute to the persistence of discerning cinephile audiences who don’t need a $30 million Oscar campaign to discover a true cinematic gem,” he continued.
“The Chambermaid” remains on Rotten Tomatoes’ “The Best Movies of 2019 (so far)” list, said its U.S.-based executive producer Pau Brunet of Amplitud. It could likely end its U.S. theatrical run in the early fall with close to $100,000 in box office earnings.
“It might have helped that the film had a U.S. connection to champion its release here,” said Brunet. “The fact that it’s from a first-time female director is also a boon given all the media attention given to women filmmakers these days,” he added.
Founded in L.A. with the express purpose to foster co-productions between Latin America and the U.S., Amplitud, launched by Brunet, Axel Shalson and Jana Díaz Juhl, has brought its fourth film, Paola Ochoa’s “Hermanas,” to Sanfic’s works in progress.
Their past credits include SXSW Special Jury winner “10,000 Km,” Tribeca Jury Award winner “We are the Heat” and Catalan Academy Gaudi Award winner “Anchor and Hope.”
According to Kino Lorber’s Wendy Lidell, senior VP, theatrical and non-theatrical distribution, the drama will be released on TVOD on Sept. 24, DVD Oct. 22 and on Starz starting Nov. 1.
Meanwhile “The Chambermaid” has been to some 50 festivals worldwide and has also bowed in France (Bodega Films), the U.K. (New Wave Films), and in Mexico where its distributor, Canibal Films, reported that while its overall box office dropped a 49% on its third weekend in Mexico, its screen average dipped only 12%.
Its release in China, Australia, Germany, Spain and a host of other territories is still pending.