Mexico’s Sin Sitio Cine is joining forces with Brazilian company Desvia Produções and Canada’s Notable Content to co-produce Johnny Ma’s project “Chin-Gone.”
A major up and coming Chinese-Canadian helmer, Ma’s directorial debut, “Old Stone,” world-premiered at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival and won the Canadian First Feature Award at the Toronto Film Festival. His most recent film, 2019’s Chinese drama “To Live to Sing,” played at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight.
The project “Chin-Gone” will be pitched on Monday Sept. 20 at the San Sebastian Festival’s 10th Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum.
The Mexican producer is Bruna Haddad at Sin Sitio Cine, a young company whose latest film “Dos Estaciones,” directed by Juan Pablo González, plays at the San Sebastian WIP Latam pix in post sidebar this year.
Ricardo Lovera (“Homemade”) and Ma both play acting roles in the film, which is scheduled to shoot in San Sebastián del Oeste, Jalisco (Mexico).
In “Chin-Gone,” whilst a young filmmaker adjusts to his new life and family in a Mexican mountain town, the homemade documentary he is working on shifts suddenly into a ranchero revenge mystery that explores the trauma of loss and the love between a father and son.
“This is a very special project in many ways. It is very personal to the director, Johnny Ma, and his first film to be shot in Latin America. It reflects as much on his relationship with his own family as it does on that of the protagonist, Ricardo, and his search to find peace in relation to the loss of his father,” Desvia producer Rachel Daisy Ellis told Variety.
“It comes at a time when the world is in a moment of intense flux, new ways of being and boundaries are being drawn and we are less sure than ever of what the future will bring,” she explained.
“Johnny’s approach to mixing documentary and narrative storytelling in an innovative fashion delves into the depths of the life of a family and a community in ways that reveal the links between present and past, love and belonging, life and death,” she said.
She added: “It is a project that is testament to the power of cinema to enable us to see our relationships in new ways, stretching the boundaries of how cinema can occupy new spaces in our minds and allow for new reflections on what it means to belong.”
“Chin-Gone,” with a “very original” co-production structure (Brazil-Canada-Mexico), “is reflective of the very special nature of the film and also a reflection of our times,” Ellis noted.
“I am a long standing admirer of Johnny’s work and when we discussed the project I knew immediately I wanted to be involved and came aboard as delegate producer, leading the team of producers in Canada and Mexico.”
Standout productions at Recife-based Desvia Produções, co-founded by Ellis and writer-director Gabriel Mascaro, takes in Mascaro’s own 2019 Sundance competitor “Divine Love” and Toronto and Venice Festivals prizes winning film “Neon Bull,” plus Benjamín Naishtat’s San Sebastian’s Silver Seashells winner “Rojo.”
“I bring to the project a long experience working across Latin American on films that explore hybrid approaches to storytelling and that depend on unique and custom-designed creative production structures to ensure that the artistic ideas and vision have grounding and support but also the freedom and space to grow and surprise us,” Ellis said.
Notable Content, the Canadian partner, co-produced Johnny’s previous film “To Live To Sing” and was the first producer on board with “Chin-gone.” Led by Amanda Verhagen, Notable has already successfully raised financing for the project in Canada from Canadian Arts Council, Canada Tax Credits and British Columbia Tax Credits.
The “Chin-Gone” representatives at San Sebastian hope to be able to raise awareness of the project and discuss it with potential sales and distributors. Also, they are interested in bringing on board a European partner to co-produce the film.