Los Cabos: Lucero Garzon Boards ‘The Desert Bride’ (EXCLUSIVE)

John Hopewell
Variety

LOS CABOS — Lucero Garzon, the Paris-based sales agent-turned-producer, has boarded “La novia en el desierto” (“The Desert Bride”), the first feature of Argentine first-time filmmakers, Cecilia Atan and Valeria Pilato. Garzon will serve as associate producer.

Shooting from mid-November in the San Juan desert in north-west Argentina, “The Desert Bride” marks Garzon’s second commitment to a Latin American production since she ankled last year as head of international sales at Pyramide International, one of the plum jobs on Europe’s arthouse movie sales scene.

Her first, futuristic thriller “Los Ultimos,” the debut of Argentina’s Nicolas Puenzo, a cinematographer on “The German Doctor,”receives a work-in-progress screening at Los Cabos Festival on Saturday and then competes at Primer Corte, Ventana Sur’s pix-in-post showcase curated by Cannes Cinefondation George Goldenstern, in early December.

Presented at the Berlin Co-Production Market, “The Desert Bride” is produced out of Argentina by El Perro en la Luna, Sebastian and Guido Mignona’s label with Atan, and Haddock Films, producer of “At the End of the Tunnel,” which has gleaned some excellent critical momentum,  and Academy Award-winning “The Secret in Their Eyes.” Based out of Chile, Ceibita Films, which presented “Las hijas de Alonso” at tis year’s San Sebastian, also co-produces.

“The Desert Bride” stars Paulina Garcia, a Berlin best actress winner for Sebastian Lelio’s “Gloria,” as a 54-year-old woman who worked as a live-in maid with a family in Buenos Aires. When the family sells the house, she us forced to take a job in the town of San Juan, a provincial capital surrounded by arid plains. It sounds like an exile, the end of her world. But it proves her salvation.

Having carved out the whole of her early career in the sales sector, Puenzo’s involvement in “The Desert Bride” is sure to throw more industry light on the title. It also shows Garzon associating with key creative energies in Argentina: the Puenzo family, an engine room of upscale fiction, both movies and TV, given its four members – Luis, Lucia, Nicolas and Esteban – can act as directors, screenwriters or producers; and Vanessa Ragone’s Haddock, which has carved out a reputation for movies with a thriller edge but grounded in Argentine issues of more global import.

“Los Ultimos” and “The Desert Bride” show Garzon, Mexican born but Paris-based, offering aid to productions on at least three fronts.

One is France. “I have to be a tool for Latin American producers to be able to find some money in France and to have a proper French co-production,” Garzon said.

Another is international. Strategically, Garzon aims “to use my previous experience to put projects onto the international market, finding and evaluating which financiers are most suitable at an early stage,” she said.

That cuts several ways, taking in “not only foreign producers or foreign co-producers” but also choosing or being in touch with festivals and sales agents: “People normally attached at a later stage. I am trying to make them part of a film from its early moments.”

Also, on “Los Ultimos,” Garzon secured risk equity investment from Mexico.  She is now exploring U.S. and Canadian leads.

Before joining Pyramide in 2008, Garzon worked at Colifilms, a specialist Spanish film distributor for France, and Paris’ Rencontres du Cinema, and in Mexico, acquired films for the Cineteca Nacional. She aims to shortly establish her own company.

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