GUADALAJARA, Mexico — New Mexican production shingle Zafiro Cinema, launched by Machete Prods. founder Edher Campos and Bolivian producer Gabriela Maire late last year, is gearing up to make its first film, “Perros” (“Dogs”), written and to be directed by Chilean director Vinko Tomičić.
Chilean thesp Alfredo Castro, who broke out internationally in Pablo Larraín’s films and then Lorenzo Vigas’ Venice Golden Lion winner “From Afar” (“Desde Alla”), will play opposite a yet-to-be discovered non-pro from La Paz, Bolivia.
This will be Tomičić’s sophomore feature. His debut film “Cockroach” (“Fumigador”), co-directed with Francisco Hevia, won the best film at the 2016 Santiago International Film Festival (Sanfic) among others.
Tomičić is currently polishing his script at the Cannes Festival’s Cinefondation Residence program in Paris, one of two Chilean filmmakers selected for its 38th session.
Set to begin shooting later this year in La Paz on an estimated $450,000 budget, “Perros” turns on a shoeshine boy in the Bolivian capital who, like his peers, wears a ski mask out of shame for what is considered the lowliest job on the streets. He fixates on a customer, played by Castro, who he thinks is his long-lost father. He kidnaps the customer’s dog and uses this as a pretext to help the man “find” his dog and establish a bond.
With “Perros,” Tomičić delves deeper into the theme of his short, “Aicha,” which is now playing at the Guadalajara Int’l Film Festival (FICG) where Chile is the country guest of honor. To make this short, Tomičić set up an acting workshop for the shoeshine boys in La Paz where he found his lead actor. “Most of these kids are orphans, but they are educated and even publish their own fund-raising newspaper,” said Maire.
The drama is likely the first co-production involving Mexico (Zafiro), Chile (Calamar Cine) and Bolivia (Color Monster), the latter two co-producers of “Aicha.”
“Gabriela and I first came across this project exactly a year ago at Guadalajara’s Co-Production Meeting where Vinko and Color Monster’s Alvaro Manzano were participating. Since then we followed its development and are now preparing to shoot it this year,” said Campos.
“Perros” dovetails with Zafiro’s mandate, which is to co-produce titles from countries presently underserved by state film funding and industry infrastructure, such as Bolivia and Central America.
Bolivia has a new film law but it has yet to be regulated. “They’re still deciding how to finance the upcoming funds,” said Maire whose credits include Juan Carlos Valdivia’s 2009 title “Southern District” and Alejandra Márquez’s Toronto Platform entry “The Good Girls.”
Campos’ Machete Prods. is in the financing phase of its upcoming production “Journey to the Land of the Tarahumara” by Federico Cecchetti. Tentatively slated for a November shoot, “Journey…” is about the life-changing trip of French playwright Antonin Artaud in the Mexican highlands. Machete’s other credits include such notable titles as Michael Rowe’s “Leap Year,” Diego Quemada-Díez’s “La Jaula de Oro” and Juan Andrés Arango’s “X500.”