‘Heli’s’ Armando Espitia Set for ‘Six Months,’ from Chicago Fest Winner Bruno Santamaría (EXCLUSIVE)

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Armando Espitia, who broke out as the hapless young factory worker in Amat Escalante’s Cannes winner “Heli,” is attached to star in “Six Months in the Pink and Blue Building,” a feature project being brought to San Sebastian’s Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum by Mexico’s Bruno Santamaría Raso.

Also on board is actor – and writer-producer – Sofia Espinosa, who fulfilled all three roles in Max Zunino’s “Los Bañistas” and “Bruma” and won a Mexican Academy Ariel for her tearaway performance as Gloria Trevi in “Gloria.”

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Written and to be directed by Santamaría, “Six Months in the Pink and Blue Building,” (“Seis meses en el edificio rosa con azul,”) marks his first fiction feature. He caught attention and won a Chicago Golden Hugo Golden Hugo and Golde Q Hugo for best documentary for “Things We Dare Not Do,” a movie straddling fiction in its finish, production values and narrative structures as it depicts Toño, the eldest son and second father to a swarm of siblings, living in a benighted village on marshy plains and plucking up the courage to tell his mother that he’s gay.   

Autobiographical, “Six Months” is “an opportunity to understand an intimate and familiar event from the past,” in Santamaría’s words. The story, set in 1996, follows 10-year-old boy Bru, whose father is diagnosed with HIV. His father and mother are especially affectionate towards Bru and his brother despite the fact that living with a HIV patient could mean physical or social death.

Six months go by and it turns out that the diagnosis was a hospital error. A few days later, Bru’s parents  announce they are getting divorced.

“What was happening behind the love? What do parents not tell each other, and what do parents not tell their children, and why?”

“I want to film the glances and conversations that my parents had in silence and which I couldn’t observe as a child. I want to construct a fiction to see my parents once more and find some sense [in what happened],” he added.

“I have the impression that nobody knows themselves. Everybody’s living a fantasy, or the idea that they could be a happy conventional family and they make a huge effort dedicating a lot of love to living that. But inside they’re torn apart,” Santamaría told Variety.

Layered with constant irony, “navigating between comedy and drama,” the tone of the film, coming in at pain from a playful place, will that of salsa music, the director said.

“For me, the film’s full of salsa music, which is close to the tone I want to achieve. The lyrics turn on tragedies, loneliness…. But it’s music people dance to, it’s festive.”

Espitia’s credits also include “A Nuestras Madres” and “Te Llevo Conmigo. “Six Months” is produced by Guillermo Ortiz

at Ojo de Vaca. Santamaría won a Fonca young creators grant to write the screenplay of “Six Months” over 2020-2021, plus a Medienboard funded BerlinAiR residency from the Festival de Guanajuato and Nipkow program 2022.

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