Canana, the new Mexicanproduction company founded by Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Pablo Cruz,has wrapped the six-week shoot of its first film Cochochi in co-production with Donald K Ranvaud's Buena OndaLtd.
The movie, about Mexico'snative Raramuri Indians, was co-financed by LA-based Alcove Entertainment whoseprincipals Robin Fox and Amina Dasmal are executive producers. Parviz Yazdani'sCanada World Cinema Project and the Mexican Film Insitite are also backers.
Buena Onda's sister companyLumina Films will handle international sales on the project which is thedirectorial debut of Cardenas Ramirez and Laura Amelia Guzman.
The film, spoken in themelodic Raramuri dialect, is set in the mountains of the Tarahumara Sierra innorthwest Mexico and explores the life and culture of the natives through aparticular event in two young brothers' lives - the search for a missinghorse, which is their most valuable possession.
Ramirez and Guzman came upwith the story for the film after meeting the two boys Evaristo, 14, and Tony,13, who play the lead roles in the film (they are pictured above). The boys live with their uncle andaunt in San Ignacio de Avareko, a town with more than 2,000 Tarahumaras.
"Their performances aresurprising," explains Ramirez. "We never knew if they were aware or not of thecamera. They never even looked at the camera."
"We followed them during theshooting," adds Guzman. "Their daily lives are a source of simple stories andlife lessons with universal appeal. They keep their own traditions. Forexample, when we first met them, they didn't know their age because Raramuridon't celebrate birthdays, but saints. So we discovered their ages from theirbirth certificates."
"This is a very importantproject for us," added Luna. "We are working with young and very talentedpeople and are very happy to be part of it because it has so much integrity andsoul. This is the kind of film we would like to see more often in Mexico."
"These are the projects thatCanana is interested in supporting," added Cruz. "Films those try to show, with honesty andthrough new talent, the values of Latin America without reverting tostereotypes."