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Desierto to begin production this month

11 Oct

Early on during the Venice Biennale, Variety announced Jonás Cuarón’s next feature, Desierto. The film, about a pair of undocumented immigrants crossing the border into the United States on the run for their lives from a drunk American who has taken border control into his own hands, will be produced by Esperanto (Alfonso Cuarón), Ítaca (Alex Garcia), BN Films (Carlos Cuarón and Lucas Akoskin), and Canana (Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Pablo Cruz). The screenplay was written by Jonás Cuarón and Mateo Garcia (who appeared in Cuarón’s first feature, Año uña).

According to the LA Times, Alfonso Cuarón was inspired by script’s stripped-down narrative and immersive character experience to invite his son Jonás to collaborate on Gravity with him.  Desierto will star Gael García Bernal as Moises, one of the two migrants who, fighting for their lives, learn to fight for each other.

Production begins in Mexico this month.



Mexicans who shone in 2011

2 Jan

Excelsior has listed Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro, for their work on two of 2012’s most highly anticipated movies Gravity and Pacific Rim, as two of the Mexican stars who shone brightest in 2011, alongside actress Salma Hayek, director Gerardo Naranjo, and actors conquering new territory, Demian Bichir, Kuno Becker, Martha Higareda, and Paulina Gaitán.  Charolastras Gael García Berna and Diego Luna were also lauded for their Canana Films productions this year as well as their acting.  Read more.

Luna’s “Abel” meets success in domestic market

5 Jun

EUROPA PRESS: From 7 to 11 June, Bilbao will host the General Assembly of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), bringing together two hundred representatives of over 3 million creators and publishers, from 225 member institutions in 118 countries. In addition to discussing the status of creators in new delivery platforms and the evolution of intellectual property law, delegates will also elect a new president and vice-president for the next three years, positions currently occupied by Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees and filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón respectively (elected in 2007). Read more.

EFE/LEER: In its second weekend since opening, Diego Luna’s directorial debut Abel will be receiving increased distribution to more than one hundred screens across fourteen cities, a rare feat for a domestic release in Mexico where cinemas are dominated by Hollywood films. Last weekend’s premiere sold 61 000 tickets, breaking the record for releases of between 60 and 65 copies, previously held by Shakespeare in Love (1998). Abel is a co-production of Canana Films (MX) and Mr. Mudd (US) and stars Christopher Ruiz-Esparza and José María Yazpik. Abel (Ruiz-Esparza) returns from the psychiatric ward to fill the shoes of household patriarch until his father Anselmo (Yazpik) comes back into the fold. The film screened earlier this year at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals and has been well-received by critics and audiences. Thanks to Jacki for her help with the Spanish. Read more.

See also:

There has also been some coverage of this spring’s Cha Cha Cha releases Biutiful: “If there is no crisis, I have failed” (El Universal interview with director Alejandro González Iñárritu); and Mother and Child: “Rodrigo Garcia no movies purist” (Chicago Tribune).

The upcoming World Cup also brings us another Wieden+Kennedy Nike ad filmed by El Chivo Emmanuel Lubezki, this time directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, entitled “Write the Future”:

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A few notes before going on hiatus

16 Aug

I will be leaving this week for a gap year behind the Great Firewall of China, where unfortunately, wordpress is blocked.  This fanblog will therefore be on hold for a while, unless I find a reliable proxy, but even then my internet access will not be as consistent as at home in Canada while I travel.  I hope to continue reporting blogging when I can, and most definitely when I return.  Cheers.


El Economista and El Mercurio report: In ten short films, ten Mexican filmmakers will be putting together a film in the style of Paris, je t’aime to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Mexican Revolution.  Produced by IMCINE, Canana, and Mantarraya Producciones, each film will discuss the significance of the Revolution today.  “Imagine the potential for controversey,” said Gerardo Naranjo (Voy a explotar) who begins work on his contributiont next month, “I’m going to make something dynamic and violent that reflects what I think about the country.”  Other names attached include Spanish director Isabel Coixet, Alfonso Cuarón, the American Coen brothers, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Carlos Reygadas, Amat Escalante, and Fernando Eimbcke.

Monsters & Critics reports that Alfonso Cuarón, as well as John Woo, among others, has expressed interest in an 80 million USD Hollywood adaptation of Hong Kong fantasy graphic novel series DevaShard.  Subsidiary of NBC Universal, CastleBright Studios bought the rights to the fantasty series feeling that a storyline based on Asian mythology would be the next big thing.  DevaShard is inspired by the Sanscrit epic, the Mahabharata, an important part of Hindu mythology.

Noticine reveals that Cha Cha Cha production Mother and Child, directed by Rodrigo García, will make its world premiere with a gala screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from 10 to 19 September.  Budgeted at 7 million USD, it was filmed in Los Angeles and concerns three women played by Annette Benning, Naomi Watts, and Kerry Washington, whose character is looking to adopt.

Ambulante 2009

2 Feb

Excelsior reports: Journalists, critics, film students, and even government officials packed the hall for a press conference calling up the 4th annual edition of Ambulante, a multi-sited documentary festival which opens 6 February and runs through 9 April.

Bernal and Luna at Ambulante press conference

“When reality surpasses fiction, it’s time to turn to documentary,” said screenwriter and IMCINE director Marina Stavenhagen.   Actors Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna also pointed to the didactic capacity of documentary film, “to put your finger on the reality and from that create a better environment and a better future.”  OEM was also at the press conference, and related the two actors’ insistence upon investment in such initiatives even in the worldwide economic crisis, “When we are in crisis, we realize the power we have that is in our hands is the power to do something better.”

Established by Canana producers Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Pablo Cruz in 2005, the Ambulante is designed to cover as much of Mexico as possible, both geographically and socially, and will screen Mexican and international films in not only cinemas, but also public squares and prisons.  The festival’s official webiste can be viewed in both Spanish and English.

Success at Venice

6 Sep

Success at Venice for Gerardo Naranjo, whose Voy a explotar won him a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival last Monday night, as well as personal congratulations from Guillermo Arriaga and producers Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna (Canana Films). Next, the director of Drama/Mex (2006) will go to the Toronto International Film Festival (showing tomorrow: Sunday, 7 September; and again: Tuesday, 9 September) and the New York Film Festival (showing 28 and 29 September). Read more.

Ramon, the son of a sleazy right-wing congressman, contributes to his new high school’s talent show by ineptly attempting to hang himself on stage. Maru is the only one who claps. They bond in detention, and then it’s off in a stolen Volkswagen with daddy’s gun to the end of the night… or something like that.

Also at Venice, Carlos Armella‘s short film Tierra y pan has been awarded the Golden Lion. Read more. Also in competition at these end-of-summer festivals in Guillermo Arriaga‘s The Burning Plain. And the Coen brothers’ Burn after Reading is out, with film work by Emmanuel Lubezki.  I’m looking forward to it.

Cuarón to take part in Ischia Social Cinema Forum

19 Jul

Alfonso Cuarón is currently taking part in the Ischia Global Film & Music Fest in Italy. Along with directors Bille August and Carlo Gabriel Nero, and actors Vanessa Redgrave, Terrence Howard, Michele Placido, and Trudy Styler, he is participating in the festival’s Social Cinema Forum, “dedicated to Human Rights. The event, promoted together with the United Nations through UNRIC, the Equal Rights Ministry, and UNICEF and sponsored by Save the Children, is presided over by the screenwriter – director Steven Zaillian, Oscar winner for the film “Schindler’s List”.” The 6th edition of this film festival began on the 13th and continues through 20th July 2008. Read more.

Meanwhile, more news about Rudo y Cursi: “It was Guillermo del Toro, who first gave Carlos the idea of directing in 1996 after Carlos complained that his scripts were not produced. “Well, you direct, dimwit,” he told Cuarón. For his part, Alejandro González Iñárritu gave him his first managerial job even before Charles made his first short in 1997.” [1] Argentine Guillermo Francella also stars, as Batuta the football promoter. Art direction by Eugenio Caballero. [2] The film is a co-production by Cha Cha Cha, Canana Films, Esperanto Films, Focus Features, Producciones Anhelo, and Universal. [3]

“The film is about brotherhood put to the test, rivalry for the love of a woman and a mother, of success in the face of social climbing, of the fragility beneath the surface. One who wagers for passion and one for talent.”* [4]

*Re: translation – I can’t actually read Spanish.