Magazine article Screen International

Gael Garcia Bernal to Shoot Chicuarotes in 2016

Magazine article Screen International

Gael Garcia Bernal to Shoot Chicuarotes in 2016

Article excerpt

Mexico City-set dark comedy revolves around teenagers living on the edge of a tourist lake.

Mexican actor, director and producer Gael Garcia Bernal is hoping to shoot his second feature Chicuarotes early next year about a group of teenagers growing up by Xochimilco Lake in Mexico City.

Speaking to ScreenDaily, Bernal said: "The film will follow a group of kids - around 14, 15 years-old - who live by the lake. They're economically poor but not miserable or unhappy, basically living in paradise.

"The narrative of the film follows their dreams of moving up economically and socially. They want to stop working and make lots of money. I can't tell you now how they attempt to do this but it's a comedy - a very dark comedy."

Bernal spoke to Screen on the fringes of the Doha Film Institute's inaugural Qumra meeting, aimed at nurturing projects by filmmakers in Qatar, across the Middle East and beyond.

Canana Films - the Mexico City production house Bernal co-owns with Diego Luna and producer Pablo Cruz - will produce the upcoming film, which is in the early stages of development and funding.

"Chicuarotes is the nickname given to people living in the small town where the teenagers are from, a bit like people from Liverpool are sometimes referred to as scousers," added Bernal. "I'll shoot it in 2016."

It will be the second feature-length film for Bernal after his 2007 feature Déficit, which centred on the mixing of two social classes at a family gathering. Since then, Bernal has shot five shorts in between appearing in some 20 films.

Qumra Master

Bernal is attending Qumra as one of the programme's "masters" alongside Timbuktu director Abderrahmane Sissako, Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu and Oscar-winning Bosnian director Danis Tanovic.

Iranian actress Leila Hatami, best known for her role in A Seperation, was also scheduled to attend but had to pull out at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances.

The six-day event is an intimate affair combining master-classes, networking opportunities and hands-on support from top names in the international film industry including including producers Jason Kliot, Cedomir Kolar, sales agent Vincent Maraval and director Haifaa Al Mansour.

Masterclass

At a masterclass on Monday, Bernal talked about his acting career, charting his trajectory from growing up on the fringes of Mexico's experimental theatre scene as the child of actors, to his double break in Alejandro González Iñárritu's Amores Perros and Alfonso Cuarón's Y Tu Mamá También, to his decision to keep Mexico as his base rather than pursuing a Hollywood career.

He recounted how Iñárritu, a celebrity radio DJ at the time, called him at his student digs in London, where he was studying at the Central School of Speech and Drama at the end of the 90s, to offer him the part of Octavio in Amores Perros.

"I said, 'I'll do it, I'll do it'. He said 'Read the script first, take your time'," recalled Bernal. "I got the script in the mail... I was like, 'yeah, it's good'. It was the first script I'd ever read. The second script I read was Y Tu Mamá También. I was spoiled from the start."

Amores Perros would go on to premiere in Cannes Critics' Week in 2000, where it won the top prize, and was also Oscar nominated in the foreign language category.

"I'd already said 'no' to three other scripts because I was at school and because they weren't incredible or because something just wasn't there. …

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