Breaking Glass Pictures has snagged North American rights to “Blood-Red Ox,” the first genre pic by award-winning Bolivian director-producer Rodrigo Bellott, now playing at the 18th Santiago International Film Festival (Sanfic) sidebar Visions of the World.
“A mind-bending trip into the depths of myth and madness, Bellott has crafted a haunting tale that pays homage to classic horror films while offering commentary on contemporary environmental and social issues,” said Scott Motisko, Breaking Glass VP of acquisitions, business development and sales, who together with Breaking Glass CEO Rich Wolff negotiated the pact with Ida Martins, CEO of Media Luna.
“We have a longstanding business relationship with Breaking Glass Pictures and couldn’t think of a better outlet for “Blood-Red Ox,” said Martins, adding: “They have been doing an excellent job with all Media Luna previous titles, and we are honored to have one more title in their care.”
Shot on location in Bolivia and upstate New York, “Blood-Red Ox” centers on Amir, a Lebanese American journalist, and his partner Amat. The two visit Amir’s environmentalist friend in the town of Tarija, which is being harassed by an oil company bent on exploiting the Bolivian rain forest. The visit takes a bizarre turn when Amat starts having visions of a massive blood-red ox in the house. Amir tries to save his boyfriend, but realizes that he too could be losing his grip on reality.
“‘Blood-Red Ox’ started as a personal exploration and homage to the psychological horror films of Polanski, Bergman and Argento in the ‘70s and ‘80s, with a contemporary twist,” said Bellott. “This is a film that is also inspired by my personal experience with a boyfriend with mental health issues, and in a way is my most personal film.”
“Blood-Red Ox” joins the growing number of genre films emerging from Latin America, not only inspired by European genre classics but by the wealth of local myths and legends of the region.
“The most interesting films these days are genre. They’re the most inventive, where people are taking more risks,” Bellott pointed out in an earlier interview with Variety.
Bellott is best known for directing “Sexual Dependency” and “Tu Me Manques,” both of which represented Bolivia at the Academy Awards in 2003 and 2019 respectively, and as the producer of Jim Mickle’s U.S. remake of the Mexican horror hit “We Are What We Are.”
“Blood-Red Ox” stars Mazin Akar and Kaolin Bass as the couple who descends into madness, alongside Andrea Camponovo and newcomer Vitorio Lema as their fellow adventurers into the darkness.
It is produced by Bellott, Rodrigo A. Orozco, Kaolin Bass and Andrea Camponovo. Nate Atkins, Bernardo Ratto, Gunnar Pareja, Beto Lema, and Virginio Lema serve as executive producers.
“Blood-Red Ox” held its world premiere at the Guadalajara International Film Festival where it played in competition, and went on to play in various other festivals including Outshine Film Festival, the 38th Chicago Latino Film Festival, the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival and the International Film Festival of Kerala.