Three of Peru’s leading filmmakers – Daniel and Diego Vega and Joanna Lombardi – have created one of the undisputed highlights of the Spanish screenings of Ventana Sur and have boarded “Bienvenido Mr. Hollywood”, which promises a complete departure for one of Catalonia’s leading cineastes , March Coll.
“Welcome Mr. Hollywood” was co-created and directed by Coll (“Family Day”) and Aina Calleja, an editor of Coll’s first series, Killing the Father. The script was written by Coll, Calleja and Diego Vega. who broke through with his brother Daniel with his debut “October”, winner of the 2010 Cannes Jury Prize Un Certain Regard. Best Actor of Locarno 2013 for Fernando Bacilio, “El Mudo” cemented the brothers’ reputation as the best young Latin American auteur filmmakers.
Welcome Mr. Hollywood is executive produced by Barcelona’s Funicular Films and co-produced by Lima’s Daniel and Diego Vegas Maretazo Cine. Lombardi, a former head of fiction at Telefónica Media Networks Latin America, will serve as executive producer.
A key figure in Latin America’s film-TV scene, while at Telefonica Media Networks Lombardi produced a number of Movistar Play original series from up-and-coming creators including Colombia’s Mauricio Leiva Cock (“Capital Noise”); Peruvian actor-director Salvador del Solar (“Magallanes”) and Colombian Carlos Moreno (“Dog Eat Dog,” “All Your Dead Ones”), directors of “Los Prisioneros,” featured at Iberseries in September; and the Vega brothers’ Movistar Original Series “El Día de Mi Suerte,” about a repressed impersonator of salsa star Hector Lavoe who clutches at hope that his fortunes will change.
Coll burst onto the scene in 2009 with ‘Three Days with the Family’, her intimate focus, local setting and knowledgeable description of the milieu that almost eclipsed the highly informed films of recent Catalan cinema, such as Carla Simón’s ‘Summer 1993’ anticipate a decade. and winner of the Berlin Golden Bear 2022 “Alcarràs”.
“Welcome Mr. Hollywood”, on the other hand, is a completely different statement. Set in Iquitos, Peru, in the heart of the Amazon, it’s about two best friends, women whose busy lives are suddenly turned upside down by the news that a great director is coming to direct a sequel to Fitzcarraldo turn. “The revelation that the main character is a woman unleashes the wildest version of themselves as they dream of becoming the chosen actress,” reads the synopsis.
The cast has yet to be confirmed. The project is in an early financing phase. “With this film we are trying to step out of our comfort zone and talk about cinema as a dream factory; as an epic that reminds us of the delirium in which it obscures everything around it, including people’s fates,” Coll and Calleja said in a joint statement.
The film’s title is reminiscent of “Welcome Mr. Marshall,” Luis Berlanga’s 1953 Cannes contestant, who satirizes Spain’s desperate desire to escape post-civil war misery as a sleepy Spanish hamlet poses as a quintessentially Andalusian village in an absurdist play dressed up to attract marshall plan help.
“Welcome Mr. Hollywood” won’t have that social satire, Coll said. But it will be a “clear comedy” filled with characters “whose life is not easy and who suddenly see a ticket to paradise”.
“They don’t always act out of the noblest of feelings — more out of vanity, ambition — and yet they’re very sensitive, revealing us and being looked at with a certain tenderness that Berlanga had,” added Coll.
Another influence Coll mentioned is Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo.
Launched in Spring 2021 by Aina Clotet, Jan Andreu, Marc Clotet and Marta Baldó, Funicular Films is currently developing a first series of films and series that explore universal themes – coming of age, mortal fear, identity crisis – but with a darker one comedy are vantage point, said Baldó, who will produce “Welcome Mr. Hollywood” for Funicular.
Although set in Iquitos, since Diego Vegas’ admission as co-writer, “Welcome Mr. Hollywood” could take place in many cities around the world, Baldó added.
Coll and Calleja know Latin America, specifically Mexico, well. Although they met in Barcelona, they shared an apartment in Mexico City from 2005 to 2007. Calleja worked in Mexico until 2016, working as an editor for first films by directors who have become leaders in cinema there, such as Julio Hernández Cordón (Gasolina, 2008), Nicolas Pereda (Los Ausentes, 2014) and Katina Medina Mora (Sabrás Que Hacer Conmigo, 2015).
Likewise, Baldó worked from 1995 to 1998 at PCTV in Mexico City, a production house that also negotiated international channels with Mexican cable networks.
Calleja has edited – and also credited – Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada’s 2021 A Film About Couples, part of the Dominican Republic’s growing auteur cinema. She wrote and directed the short film Los días en veranos son más largos, which received a special mention at the 2011 Colombian Cartagena Film Festival. Calleja is currently writing and directing Extinció, her latest short film.
Following Coll’s second feature film, 2013’s We All Want the Best For Her, Coll, Diego Vega and Valentina Viso co-wrote the Movistar+ miniseries Killing the Father, which was directed by Coll and edited by Calleja.