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One of Brazil’s biggest film-TV stars, Marjorie Estiano – an International Emmy nominee for her performance in Globo’s “Under Pressure” and star of Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas’ Locarno winner “Good Manners” – is attached to take the lead in one of the most awaited Latin American genre films of 2023, Brazilian horror feature “A Mother’s Embrace.” 

The sophomore feature from Argentina’s Cristian Ponce, director of Argentine genre breakout “History of the Occult,” the highest-rated horror title on Letterboxd’s 2021 Year in Review. 

“A Mother’s Embrace” is scheduled to go into production next March.

It is written by Ponce and pic’s producer André Pereira, who has Carrión at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window and whose company, Lupa Filmes, produced “The Trace We Leave Behind,” which broke 30-year-old box-office records for a Brazilian horror movie. 

“A Mother¡s Embrace” proved a highlight a the Sanfic Morbido Lab 2022, where it won the pitching prize. The film is a co-production with high-profile Mexican genre producer and festival organiser Pablo Guisa at Morbido. 

It is billed as a survival horror set in 1996 during one of the biggest tropical storms ever to hit Rio de Janeiro. Ana and her firefighter team must evacuate a nursing home at risk of its collapsing – but they soon find the mysterious residents in the house have other plans.

“I’m thrilled that after working so hard during the last couple of years on the development to get to the best possible script, we’re about to shoot “A Mother’s Embrace” in March,” said Ponce. 

“In many ways, this is a very different challenge from ‘History of the Occult’ but I think there is a shared worldview and themes that generate a connection between both films,” he added.

“Through my experience with Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas on ‘Good Manners,’ I was exposed to the richness and depth that genre films can explore,” said Estiano. 

She went on: “And now working with Cristian on ‘A Mother’s Embrace,’ I’m excited to breathe life into a character facing traumatic relationships from her past. It’s a delicate script, rich with symbolism and universal themes. Facing our ghosts, accepting our history can be painful but truly liberating. I’m sure it will be a physically and psychologically challenging experience.·

Added writer-producer Pereira: “‘A Mother’s Embrace’ explores past trauma and discusses the relationships that strengthen our capacity to deal with pain. It has been an incredible opportunity to create a film with amazing collaborators from all over Latin America and to bring a different perspective that subverts classic horror sub-genres. I’m excited for people to get a chance to experience what we’ve been working on.”