Heading into this year’s Guadalajara’s Co-Production Meetings, the team behind Michelle Garza’s maternal horror flick “Huesera” has shared with Variety news of a new minority co-producer, choreographer and key casting details.
“Huesera” is produced by Paulina Villaviencio from Mexico’s Disruptiva Films and Edher Campos of Machete Producciones. Villaviencio’s recently produced Simon Hernández‘s 2019 Sitges Documenta Award-winner “La venganza de Jairo,” documenting the final shoot of Colombian genre master Jairo Pinilla.
A recent Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences addition, Campos’ impressive resume includes Cannes awarded fare such as Michael Rowe’ Cannes Camera d’Or-winner “Leap Year” and Diego Quemada-Díez’s “La Jaula de Oro,” which scooped A Certain Talent award for its leads in 2013. Most recently, he produced Heidi Ewing’s Sundance Audience Award and Next Innovator Award-winner “I Carry You with Me.”
Lorena Ugarteche from Peru’s Señor Z will co-produce on the horror project – conveniently timed as Peru is this year’s guest country at Guadalajara, with two projects already in the Encuentro in addition to several in each of the festival’s key sidebars. The co-production was realized through Peru’s National Contest of Minority Co-productions of the Directorate of Audiovisual, Phonography and New Media of Peru (DAFO). Ugarteche’s credits include Bacha Caravedo and Chinón Higashionna’s two-time Malaga award-winner “Guard Dog” and Clermont-Ferrand Canal Plus Award winning short “The Hole.”
Famed Mexican modern dance organization Nohbords has signed on as a production collaborator, although how and to what extent their expertise will be relied upon has yet to be announced.
“Huesera” is the story of Valeria, a young woman with dreams of becoming a mother who is thrilled when she learns that she’s pregnant. However, after the conception is confirmed a malevolent entity, La Huesera, appears to her, making her question how dedicated she is to the idea of motherhood.
To remove the spirit from her life, Valeria must recall a younger version of herself, a young punk rebel who couldn’t have cared less about the idea of a traditional family.
Rising star Mayra Hermosillo, a regular on Netflix’s “Narcos: Mexico” and several high-profile Mexican series, will play Valeria. Mayra Batalla, a lead in Tatiana Huezo’s Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award-winner “Night on Fire,” will co-star.
Other high profile casting includes Mercedes Hernández, a Morelia Best Actress award winner for her work in Fernanda Valadez’s “Identifying Features,” a breakout hit and award-winner at Sundance, San Sebastián, Zurich and several other major international festivals; Mexican Academy Award-nominee Carolina Politi (“Hidalgo”); and two-time nominee Sonia Couoh, who also features in the upcoming indigenous feature “Nudo Mixteco,” profiled by Variety after its San Sebastian Works in Progress screening in 2019.
After a successful pitch at Ventana Sur’s 2019 Blood Window forum, “Huesera” went on to stand out in the Cannes Marché du Film’s Fantastic 7 showcase. The project has won financial backing from Foprocine and Eficine in Mexico and a government co-production grant in Peru.
Garza was trained at Mexico’s prestigious CCC, the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, and was a Chevening Award Scholar in the Goldsmiths master program University of London. Her short films played in dozens of international film festivals such as the Sitges Film Festival, Fantastic Fest and the Fantasia Film Festival.
Shooting is planned for next year, with a 2022 festival run to follow the film’s completion.