Mexican Exhibition Giant Cinemex Set to Bow Berlin Winner ‘Adolfo,’ Another Step in the Consolidation of Emerging Auteur Sofía Auza

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A Berlin Generation Crystal Bear winner and the first foray into film of the Fremantle-backed The Immigrant, Sofía Auza’s “Adolfo” saw its premiere Monday night in Mexico City.

With Fremantle handling international distribution, “Adolfo” has a lot to celebrate. Auza’s first feature, it also took best feature at Stockholm, screened as opening night film at last year’s TIFF Next Wave Festival and, testing home market waters, scooped best actress for Rocío de la Mañana at Mexico’s Guadalajara Festival in June.

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Now, via Cinemex, Mexico’s second biggest exhibition chain, “Adolfo” will hit 12 theaters around Mexico on June 6. A platform release via Cinemex expands in its second week to another 12 locations. “Adolfo” will play upscale Premium and Platino theaters on the Cinemex circuit,

“It’s really important for a relatively small film to have a commercial release, to see the reaction of audiences. It’s not so common for a film this size to have one,” said Camila Jiménez-Villa, The Immigrant CEO and co-founder with Silvana Aguirre, head of development.

“Adolfo’s” bow also raises other key issues for the film industry in Mexico and beyond.

Consolidation of An Emerging Auteur

A tribute to friendship, “Adolfo” begins with a cute-meet harking back to classic Hollywood. The cooky but troubled Momo (De la Mañana) and Hugo (Daniel García Treviño), on his way to his estranged dad’s funeral, coincide at a bus stop late at night.

Hugo, however, has just missed the last bus. Momo suggests he tags along to a fancy dress party she’s bound for, dressed as Amelia Earhart. They go on to spend the rest of the night talking, with increasing honesty, about their deepest pains. In comic contrast, they also attempt to find a home for Adolfo, a cactus, the only thing Hugo’s father has left him.

The Cinemax run consolidates Auza’s status as one of Mexico’s fast-emerging auteurs. She has big fans.

“Fremantle is thrilled to partner with Cinemex in bringing ‘Adolfo’ to Mexican audiences, while showcasing the exceptional talent of Sofia Auza on the big screen,” said Sheila Aguirre, Fremantle EVP, co-production and distribution, Latin America and Hispanic US.

“Sofia’s writing is masterful, capturing the essence of young adulthood with introspective dialogue that resonates authentically. The Immigrant remains faithful to her vision, capturing Sofia’s acute sensitivity to the human condition and life’s serendipitous moments. ‘Adolfo’ is a cinematic gem, appealing to not just young adults, but anyone who has encountered unexpected twists along life’s journey,” she added.

“Bringing ‘Adolfo’s’ story to the big screen is more than just a cinematic achievement; it’s a celebration of resilience and inspiration,” added Javier Reyes Moctezuma, Cinemex programming director

“This journey embodies the essence of the Mexican spirit, seamlessly fitting into the grandeur of cinema. Supporting exceptional artistic talents like Sofia further enriches this narrative, elevating it to a realm where creativity and cultural heritage intertwine. This film isn’t just about entertainment; it’s a cultural milestone that offers Mexican audiences a reflection of their own strength, passion, and triumphs.”

A New Cinema Audience in Mexico?

“Adolfo” will also prove a test case of how far a new cinema audience is emerging in Mexico. As the country ranks as the tenth biggest market in theatrical grosses and fourth in admissions, it rather an important question.

“Adolfo” is no traditional Mexican movie, however. “‘Adolfo’ has a very particular tone, funny and sad all at once,” observed Jiménez-Villa.

Yet “Adolfo” fits in none of those categories, segueing from its cute-meet into a relationship drama whose reduced number of characters and sense of coming-of-age narrative give it a distinct indie feel.

“This is such an exciting time to be making movies in Mexico and it’s mainly because the younger audiences are ready and hungry for something different. They are the ones giving us the space to create movies that drift away from what we’ve seen before,” Auza has noted.

So the Cinemex bow emerges as a kind of experiment. “I’ve seen the film at a few festivals now and it is crazy to see the resonance with younger people. It will be interesting to see how ‘Adolfo’ performs [in Mexico] with young local audiences,” Jiménez Villa observed.

Growing With Talent

“Adolfo” also emerges as a classic case of nursing and contenting new talent.

Is there any director in the world who doesn’t want their film to play cinema theaters?

“I’m happy that we finally get to share ‘Adolfo’ with our Mexican audience. We made this film with the dream of sharing it on a big screen, so I’m very grateful for the support of Cinemex and The Immigrant for making this happen,” Auza said Tuesday.

“Adolfo” will play Mexico’s stunning Cineteca Nacional, “a point of reference of filmmakers around the world,” said Jiménez-Villa.

She added that she hopes that the theatrical bow will “create more awareness with audiences and streamers.”

Validated by her work on “Adolfo,” Auza has gone on to re-team with The Immigrant to make “Yellow,” a Lionsgate+ TV series starring Eréndira Ibarra (“Ingobernable”) and Tessa Ia (“After Lucía”) as two fugitives who steal a taxi and its driver to escape from the police.

Now completed, “Yellow’ is very much Sofía’s world with her distinctive humor,” said Jiménez-Villa.

The Immigrant has begun to work on Auza’s second feature, which Auza is writing with The Immigrant aiming production for next year. “It’s slightly bigger, but very much Sofía’s vision. We tend to find talent, resonate with them and grow with them. Sofía is a great example,” Jiménez-Villa said.

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