Mexico’s film industry appears healthy, but the question is for how long. In 2019, Mexican president Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador decimated festival funding. There’s a fear that, as the economy contracts, so will its tax credits, the main source of film sector finance, says Pimienta’s Nicolas Celis, a producer on “Roma.”
Such fears have seen the country’s top producers re-engineering operations: many, such as Piano, Woo Films, Pablo Cruz at Canana and El Estudio have moved into TV production. Some, such as Panorama, have launched more commercial, OTT platform-friendly slates.
Companies are also aiming to tap more regular international co-financing, such as Pimienta’s first-look deal with Exile and Endeavor Content, while Piano has expanded into Colombia and Germany and El Estudio has launched bases in Los Angeles and Madrid.
Above all, many are looking to produce with top talent inside and outside Mexico. Piano’s slate includes features by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Leos Carax, and Cruz’s series and movies with Pablo Trapero and Paco Plaza.
Meanwhile, hit by plunging oil prices, Mexico’s peso has lost 25% against the dollar since February.
“The continued success of Mexican films on the most prestigious festival circuits, and in international markets, is proof that our creatives and our crews are among the best in the world. ‘Roma’ was a showcase of this industry’s technical excellence, and unbeatable filming conditions,” says Piano producer-founder Julio Chavezmontes.
Producer Stacy Perskie points to an impressive list of movies that shot recently in Mexico: Legendary Pictures’ “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” Sony’s “Bad Boys for Life” and “Infinite” and Lionsgate’s “Barb and Star go to Vista del Mar.”
“50 or Two Whales Meet at the Beach”
Director: Jorge Cuchi
Producer: Catatonia Cine
Adolescence-themed double prize winner at April’s Films in Progress in Toulouse.
Director: Leos Carax
Producers: CG Cinéma, Arte France Cinéma, Detailfilm, Euro Space, Kinology, Piano, Scope Pictures, Talipot Studio, Tribus P Film, Wrong Men North
Key cast: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard
Carax’s first full-on musical, an L.A.-set romantic rock opera.
“El Baile de los 41”
Director: David Pablos
Producers: Netflix, Cinepolis, El Estudio
Key cast: Alfonso Herrera
Drama set in a repressed 1901 Mexico City.
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Producers: The Match Factory,
Kick the Machine, Burning Blue, Illumination Films, Anna Sanders Films, Piano
Key cast: Tilda Swinton, Jeanne Balibar, Daniel Giménez Cacho
Weerasethakul’s English-language debut, shot in Colombia. Distribution: Neon (U.S.); sales (The Match Factory)
“Noche de Fuego”
Director: Tatiana Huezo
Producers: Pimienta Films, Match Factory Prods., Bord Cadre Films, Cactus Film & Video, Desvia Produções, Jaque Content
Key cast: Mayra Batalla, Norma Pablo, Olivia Lagunas
Life in a town at war as seen through the eyes of three girls.