Sandro Fiorin’s FiGa Films has picked up worldwide sales rights to “Contactado,” the upcoming feature by Sudaca Films’ Marité Ugás and Mariana Rondón, the duo behind San Sebastian 2013 Golden Shell winner, “Pelo Malo.”
The Sudaca partners are attending San Sebastian to pitch Rondón-helmed project “Zafari” at the 8th Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum.
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Directed by Ugás, who co-wrote the script alongside Rondón, “Contactado” (“Contactee”) is at its final post-production stage, planned for a 2020’s first quarter release.
The film is set in Perú and focus on a false prophet, enticed by a young man who claims to be a follower into preaching again.
He is weary of reliving his past as a Contactee, the leader of a famous UFO cult. As vanity overcomes his fear, the ambitious young man turns the tables on him.
“Contactee” marks Sudaca Films follow-up to “Pelo Malo” (“Bad Hair”), a coming-of-age tale directed by Rondón, about a boy who explores his nascent homosexuality, which was one of Miami-based FiGa Films bestselling titles ever.
“We are so happy to be collaborating with the same team behind ‘Pelo Malo,’ one our greatest successes. Both Marité Ugás and Mariana Rondón are a treasure for contemporary Latin American cinema. It’s an honor and a privilege to represent ‘Contactado’ worldwide,” Fiorin told Variety.
“With regard to ‘Pelo Malo,’ we return to issues such as helplessness and fear, no longer between the relationship of a child and his mother, but of an adult man, broken, persecuted for his acts of the past, his guilt before deceit and his superb,” Ugás said.
“’Contactee’ makes a more timely reflection on conflicts of faith, especially in societies like ours, where fundamentalism seems to be gaining groun,” she added.
Co-produced with DHF in Norway and Brazilian company Klaxon Cultura Audiovisual, “Contactee” is supported by DAFO Peruvian Film Institute, Ibermedia, Brasil’s Ancine and Norway’s Sørfond.
Sudaca Films brought “Contactee” as a project to the 2015 Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum in 2015.
With offices in Lima and Caracas, Sudaca Films was created by Rondón and Ugás, both directors and writers, who also alternate in the production role from project to project.
They started to write the script of “Zafari,” now in its third version, at the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy, in 2017. The definitive script version is scheduled to be ready by May.
“’Zafari’” is a fable seen through the eyes of a hippopotamus, where humans respond to their most basic instincts: hunger, desire, fear,” Rondón said.
“It takes place in today’s Caracas, a Caribbean paradise, with its intense sunshine and exuberant vegetation; but the grotesque reality and doubtful morality of its inhabitants starts to gain ground [moving the film] towards black comedy.”
She added: “As the events develop, it is easy to see how human beings can return to their primitive state. Although my aim is to create a rigorous social portrait, everyday life takes over, giving the film the appearance of a dystopia.”
Brazil’s Klaxon is attached to co-produce, with both a financial and creative contribution; the financing structure will be completed by mid-2020.
At San Sebastian, Rondón and Ugás aim to meet potential European co-producers, international agents and further Latin American partners.
The San Sebastian Festival’s 8th Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum runs Sept. 22-25.