Giancarlo Nasi’s Quijote Films, one of the lead producers of Chile’s current Oscar entry “White on White,” has closed a co-production deal with France’s Les Valseurs at the American Film Market for “The Mysterious Gaze of the Flamingo,” the first feature from Diego Cespedes, the Cannes Festival’s 2018 Cinefondation first prize winner.

Mexico’s Varios Lobos, led by Pablo Zimbron, is also a co-producer.

In addition, the pact includes the financing and co-production of a short film by Cespedes, with a budget that exceeds $116,000 (€100,000), making it one the most expensive short films to be ever made in Chile’s cinematic history. Titled “The Most Wretched Man in the Desert,” it is slated to shoot by January next year. According to Nasi, who has been in Los Angeles for the AFM and other meetings, the short will feature a good number of special effects, which drive up the budget.

“The Mysterious Gaze of the Flamingo” is set in a remote mining town where 12-year-old Lidia lives with her brother Alexo, 28, who takes care of her. When the town is afflicted by a mysterious disease, one that the community alleges is “transmitted when a man falls in love with another through their gaze,” Alexo and his drag friends are accused of being carriers of the disease. Lidia sets out to confront this homophobic myth to protect her only family.

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Giancarlo Nasi Credit: Fernando Fuentes

“Working with Diego Cespedes on both the short film and his first feature film has been a very enriching creative experience,” said Nasi, adding: “We are proud that the feature film is financed in France, now awaiting financing from Chile and elsewhere.”

Les Valseurs is an independent production and distribution company with a prestigious short film portfolio that includes Carlos Segundo’s “Sideral,” which competed in Cannes this year; 2020 Academy Award nominee “Nefta Football Club” by Yves Piat and 2019 Cannes Critics’ Week short film winner, Qiu Yang’s “She Runs.”

To be shot in Chile’s stunning Atacama desert, “The Most Wretched Man in the Desert” is a dystopian drama set in northern Chile where the fierce sunlight melts the skin during the day. It is only safe to come out at night when the sky turns red. According to Les Valseurs’ Justin Pechberty, “It tells the story of the impossibility of love between two men in a dystopia where the sunlight burns the bodies of certain men who cannot resist exposing themselves to it.”

“At Quijote we firmly believe in the importance of the short film format for its contribution to our cinema and we want to fight to enhance that market,” Nasi asserted. “In that sense, collaborating with Les Valseurs, who have a tremendous and prestigious experience in short films, has also been an apprenticeship. There is a way to finance short films under the international co-production system, professionalizing our work,” he added.

Said Pechberty: “Diego is a raw talent that I discovered three years ago with ‘The Summer of the Electric Lion,’ his graduation short film that won the first prize in the Cinefondation at Cannes.” “Luck then put him in my path at the Torino Feature Lab where he presented ‘The Mysterious Gaze of the Flamingo,’ an immensely mature first feature project for a 26-year-old auteur, which is like a dark version of ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ yet full of humor,” he added.

Nasi is currently readying production on “Los Colonos” by Felipe Gálvez and “Celestial Twins” by Niles Atallah.