Netflix Touts New Pics from Mexico’s Rodrigo Prieto, Fernando Frias, Ernesto Contreras (EXCLUSIVE)

Netflix has reaffirmed its $300 million commitment to Mexican cinema and series, announcing a slew of new movie projects to celebrate the country’s National Day of Cinema on Aug. 15 and as part of its #QueMéxicoSeVea initiative.

The year-old initiative, which can be roughly translated to “Let Mexico Be Seen” has the mission “to make visible the work of Mexican creators, screenwriters, writers, directors, actors and people who make national cinema possible,” as well as its wealth of original stories.

Leading the pack is the widely anticipated directorial debut of Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (“Brokeback Mountain,” “The Irishman”) who is helming an adaptation of Juan Rulfo’s seminal novel, “Pedro Paramo.” Produced by Redrum, the film’s crew includes Oscar-nominated production designer Eugenio Caballero (“Roma,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”) and costume designer Anna Terrazas, whose notable credits include “Roma,” “Spectre” and “Bardo.”

“Our commitment to Mexican culture also includes adapting great Mexican works to the cinema, and ‘Pedro Páramo’ will be the first great example of this,” said Francisco Ramos, Netflix VP of Content for Latin America.

“The impact of our productions has been very positive so far: We are hyper committed to Mexican cinema,” Ramos added.

said Ramos, who asserted that there were no plans to reduce the $300 million-over-three-years pledge.

“Mexicans love our content and there is a huge appetite for Mexican cinema in Latin America and in some parts of Europe as well,” he pointed out, adding that they have had the good fortune to be working with some of the biggest players in Mexico, including Redrum, Woo Films, Alebrije Prods. and Pimienta Films.

The upcoming productions feature more prized cineastes –  Fernando Frías (“I’m No Longer Here”), Ernesto Contreras (“I Dream in Another Language”), J.M. Cravioto (“Diablero”), Martha Higareda (“Marry Who You Can”) and Celso García (“The Thin Yellow Line”) – in a lineup which takes in upscale auteurs and box office favourites. Oscar-nominated Yalitza Aparicio (“Roma”) stars in García’s project.

They add to the already high-profile projects previously announced and coming soon to Netflix, led by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s epic tale “Bardo (False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)” starring Daniel Giménez Cacho (“Zama”); Elisa Miller’s “Hurricane Season;” Natalia Beristain’s “Ruido” and Luis Estrada’s “Que Viva Mexico.”

Ironically, the National Day of Cinema comes as the changes wrought by the austerity-bent government of leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has impacted the audiovisual state fund initiatives, including Fidecine, which had backed more than 300 local mainstream films since 2002. Two years ago, Fidecine was merged with the audiovisual state fund aimed at local auteur films, Foprocine, to create Focine. The changes caused some delays in payments.

On Aug. 7, the Academy of Mexican Arts & Sciences declared that because of these changes, more than 50 Mexican films that started production in 2020 had been paused or suspended for lack of state funds that never reached them.

However, Maria Novaro, director of national film institute Imcine, told Variety that these delays were being addressed and the funds would be reaching the projects. “We resolved it earlier in the year,” she said, adding: “There were obvious delays in the administrative process, and these affected many productions.”

Commitments to Mexican cinema from Netflix and the other streaming platforms and studios are all the more important in light of these setbacks.

Other productions in the pipeline include:

No voy a pedirle a nadie que me crea,” based on the novel by Juan Pablo Villalobos

Director: Fernando Frías (“I’m No Longer Here”)

Production: Exile Content and Zeta Studios

Cast: Darío Yazbek, Natalia Solian, Alexis Ayala and Anna Castillo

El último vagón,” based on the namesake novel by Ángeles Doñate

Director: Ernesto Contreras (“Blue Eyelids,” “I Dream in Another Language”)

Writer: Javier Peñalosa

Cast: Memo Villegas and Adriana Barraza

Bahía colorada”

Director: Directorial debut of Ricardo Castro

Producer: Mónica Lozano, Alebrije Prods. (“Amores Perros,” “Instructions Not Included,” “Don’t Blame the Kid”)

Invitación a un asesinato,” based on the novel by Carmen Posadas

Director: J.M. Cravioto (“Diablero,” “Monarca,” “Mexican Gangster”)

Producer: Erik Barmack (“Dark,” “The Rain”) and Jimena Rodríguez (“3 idiotas,” “The Dress”)

Cast:  Maribel Verdú, Regina Blandón, Manolo Cardona, Aarón Díaz, Stephanie Cayo and José María de Tavira

Fuga de reinas”

Director: Directorial debut of editor Jorge Macaya (“I Dream in Another Language”)

Writer: Martha Higareda

Producer: Martha Higareda, Miri Higareda and Alexis Fridman

Cast: Martha Higareda

La gran seducción”

Director: Celso García (“The Thin Yellow Line”)

Producer: Nicolás Celis, Pimienta Films (“Roma,” “Prayers for the Stolen”)

Cast: Memo Villegas, Yalitza Aparicio and Pierre Louis

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