You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Christian Camargo, Michael Chernus Set for Mandarina’s ‘Ona Sur’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Christian Camargo (“Hurt Locker,” “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”) and Michael Chernus (“Spiderman: Homecoming,” “Captain Phillips”) are attached to co-star in “Ona Sur,” one of the buzzed-up projects at Match Me!, one of Locarno Festival’s industry sections.

Brazilian actress Barbara Colen is in preliminary talks to play Maria, one of the film’s female leads, “Ona Sur” producer Gabriela Gavica at Mexico’s Mandarina Cine said at Locarno’s Match Me! forum.

Lead-produced by Gavica and producer-director Carlos Hernández at Mandarina Cine, a Mexico City production-distribution house, “Ona Sur” is co-produced by Switzerland’s Lunica Productions, headed by Yves Bouzaglo.

Joseph Mastantuono, whose first feature as a producer, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s “As You Are,” won the Special Jury Prize in the U.S. Dramatic category at the Sundance Film Festival, is also on board as a co-producer.

Presented at Los Cabos Festival in November, “Ona Sur” marks the feature debut of Spain’s Brooklyn-based Begoña Colomar, who has worked as a CG and color grading artist on “A.I. Minority Report” and “The Day After Tomorrow,” and games such as “James Bond 007: From Russia with Love” and “The Godfather.”

Camargo and Chernus’ commitments for “Ona Sur” represents recognition for a project which captures the spirit of the times, and the female focus on a significant number of the most compelling projects being made outside the U.S.

Also written by Colomar, “Ona Sur” is, the director says, a “psychological comedy.” It turns on Ona, described as an intelligent and exuberant Italian architect working out of Mexico City who is now cut adrift, mourning a difficult divorce. She befriends Maria, a Belizean Creole and accomplished musician who is also in freefall, near to nervous breakdown, after losing her home and husband in a recent earthquake.

Over a Holy Week vacation, a close friendship and a new sense of purpose develops between them as they drink mezcal, listen to music, play with Pancho, Ona’s dog, and talk. Choosing to play “to defy their trauma – joy against the pain and levity to move forward with resilience,” a synopsis reads.

Meanwhile, and adding a surrealistic edge to events, uncorroborated number of large felines to escape into the streets. The compromised local police force impose a curfew, patrolling the streets with loudspeakers warning residents of the danger.

Mocking the rigidity of rules which for the two women have ceased to be important, “Ona Sur” is a tale of spiritual rebirth.

Camargo will play Ivo, Ona’s ex-husband, described as a famous and self-centered jazz pianist-composer who has put his career above his marriage with the unsurprising consequence of divorce.

Chernus is Anton, “a self declared nihilist, a writer of esoteric fiction novels and a beloved neighbor of Ona. His brutal honesty and good heart unite the two making them perfect accomplices in the face of any political hypocrisy,” according to an “Ona Sur” lookbook.

“Ona Sur” paints the life and particularities of two strong female characters, resilient, idealist and empowered whom through their friendship, liberty and creativity will overcome their traumas; complex feminine roles that are scarcely represented on the screen,” Gavica and Hernández said in a statement.

“The film will be steeped in meticulously crafted style, paying homage to Mexico City, and its contrasting styles, a tangle of beautiful disparities,” says Colomar.

She adds: “It is not accidental that the film is greatly influenced by the spirit of the Dadá movement and the modern architects who envisioned a world of structural beauty to affect human emotions.”

Founded in 2014 by Hernandez, betting on a new generation of national talents, Mandarina’s recent credits include Gabriel Mariño’s body transmigration tale and 2017 Morelia winner “Yesterday Wonder I Was” and Alvaro Curiel’s “Marionette,” a romantic drama take on Cuban immigration to Mexico and the plight of women exposed to mob patriarchy. It was selected for Ventana Sur’s Copia Final and a 2019 Guadalajara Festival Fipresci Award winner.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Joaquin Phoenix'Joker' film premiere, Arrivals, 57th

    Film News Roundup: Joaquin Phoenix Honored by Palm Springs Film Festival

    In today’s film news roundup, Joaquin Phoenix is honored for “Joker”; Legion M backs Joe Manganiello’s “Archenemy”; sales have launched on “Lev Yashin: The Dream Goalkeeper”; and Universal launches a first-of-its-kind animation writing program. HONOR Joaquin Phoenix has been selected as the recipient of the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s chairman’s award for his performance [...]

  • Danny Huston

    Danny Huston Discusses the Significance of 'Last Photograph'

    In the decades since Danny Huston made his feature directing debut with “Mr. North,” his 1988 film adaptation of the Thornton Wilder novel “Theophilus North,” he has kept busy in front of the cameras as one of film and television’s most versatile and sophisticated character players. In just the past year, small-screen viewers have been [...]

  • Rocketman

    'Rocketman': Chris Dickens Discusses the Inside Story of Editing 'I'm Still Standing'

    Endings are so important and how the viewer leaves the cinema is crucial. For editor Chris Dickens, finding the perfect ending for “Rocketman” was paramount, but it was also a challenge. Elton John’s hit “I’m Still Standing” was going to end the film with the original idea of going to Cannes to recreate the video [...]

  • A general view of the skyline

    United Media Asia Strikes Deal With Indonesian Giant Kompas Gramedia

    Newly-formed content finance, production and distribution company United Media Asia has struck a first look deal, brokered by Hollywood talent agency CAA, with Indonesian media giant Kompas Gramedia. United has also unveiled its first two feature films. The partnership provides UMA with access to Kompas Gramedia’s media network and its 100,000 pieces of intellectual property, [...]

  • Taron Egerton Fashion

    Taron Egerton's Stylist Used Elton John as Inspiration on Press Tour

    Showstopping looks: For Taron Egerton’s “Rocketman” tour, stylist Gareth Scourfield nodded to Elton John’s iconic wardrobe with bold colors, patterns and silhouettes: “We got a bit more eccentric.” May 16 “Elton is the real original showman,” says Scourfield, who met Egerton through another client, Egerton’s “Rocketman” co-star Richard Madden. “Part of Taron as a man [...]

  • Lupita Nyong'o Us Best Actress

    Looking to Indie and Genre Performances in the Best Actress Oscar Race

    This year’s race for lead actress could yield some surprising nominations, outside of some clear front-runners including Renee Zellweger (“Judy”), Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”), and Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”). It’s been a terrific year for female performances, with a wide selection of talent taking on challenging roles spread over various genres. The recent societal demand toward [...]

  • Stephen Sondheim's 'Follies' in the Works

    Stephen Sondheim's 'Follies' in the Works as a Movie From Heyday, BBC Films

    David Heyman’s Heyday Films, whose credits include “Gravity,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Marriage Story” and the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises, and BBC Films have secured the film rights to Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s musical “Follies.” “Follies” will be adapted for the screen and directed by Dominic Cooke, a four-time Olivier [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content