The 42 Film, a new Madrid and Mexico City-based film-TV company of producer Alberto Müffelmann, an executive producer on early Sundance hit “Cassandro,” is forging a first slate of titles, led by “El Origen,” to be voiced by Gael García Bernal.
Based out of Madrid and Mexico City, the new shingle is headed by Müfflemann whose producer credits take in “Museum,” Alfonso Ruizpalacios’ Berlin 2018 best screenplay winner, Fernando Frías’ 2019 “I’m No Longer Here” – a jolting, timely piece of cinema I urge everyone to see,” said Guillermo del Toro – and 2013 best film Ariel winner “The Prize,” directed by Paola Markovitch.
The 42 Film underscores the drive into international co-production by the world big arthouse players as they seek to make titles of theatrical potential in a contracted market.
News of Müffelmann’s new shingle comes as “Cassandro,” starring García Bernal as the openly gay lucha libre wrestler Saul Armendáriz, has won large critical applause after its early bow at Sundance.
“[Director] Roger Ross Williams nimbly maneuvers past the clichés in the respectful biopic of the openly gay Mexican wrestler who won over fans of a notoriously homophobic sport,” Peter Debruge wrote in Variety.
One of the most ambitious movies in the works in Mexico, to be made in cut-out stop-motion and 2D animation, “El Origen,” is produced with La Corriente del Golfo, the Mexican outfit set up in 2018 by Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. They are currently tying down further partners in Canada and France, Müfflemann said.
“El Origen” is inspired by work and destiny of the real-life Jacobo Grinberg, a brilliant young Mexican neurophysiologist who in 1978 witnesses a healing experience with Pachita, a famous shaman who performs surgery in deep trance. The experience changes his life.
“El Origen” will be directed by animator Pedro “Zulu” González, who has worked in a wide range of creative roles on celebrated Mexican movies, as a sound designer on Alonso Ruizpalacios’ “Güeros” and composer on Alejandra Márquz’s “Semana Santa.” It is produced by Magali Rocha (“Llueve”) and Müffelmann.
The Film 42’s first slate also takes in post-Mexico Revolution drama “La Suerte de Juan,” from Carlos Armella, a Venice Golden Lion winner for short “Tierra y Pan,” director of Netflix’s first fully non-English series “Club of Crows” whose second feature, the Cannes Atelier title “¡Ánimo Juventud!” was an HBO U.S. pick-up released in Mexico by Piano Distribution. The Film 42 produces alongside Cima, Zensky (“Fireflies”) and Tota.
“The House of Flowers’” iconic lead Cecilia Juárez, Arcelia Ramírez (“Verónica”) and Bruno Bichir (“Little Eggs: An African Rescue”) star in “Lluvia,” produced by Central Films and 42 Film. Directed by Rodrigo García Saiz, the six-part drama, set in a Mexico City under intermittent rain, is written by Paula Markovitch, (“Lake Tahoe,” “The Box”). The Film 42 produces with Mexico’s Central Films. The film is now finished.
As already announced, 42 Film is a minority partner on Roger Gual’s romantic thriller “Mala Influencia,” produced by ex-Netflix exec Juan Mayne and set up at Spain’s Nadie es Perfecto, The 42 Film and Wattpad Webtoon Studios.
“The main idea is to broaden the spectrum, to start making titles in Europe – not just Spain, but potentially France, Italy, even Germany – as well as Canada and the U.S.,” said Müffelmann.
Based out of Mexico City and Madrid, Müffelmann is able to ring his production options.
The 42 Film has launched, moreover, as international co-production, tapping into several countries’ state funds via overseas partners’ equity, has increasingly picked up the slack from a sagging pre-sales market.
Co-production, signing up partners territory by territory, is the most obvious alternative to streaming service finance on ambitious high-end projects, such as “El Origen,” Müffelmann argued.
Linking with partners in Spain such as Nadie es Perfecto also allows him to accrue expertise. “I haven’t come to Spain to tell people how to produce,” he said.