The producers of Sundance world dramatic competition entry “Utama,” Bolivia’s Alma Films and Uruguay’s LaMayorCine, have re-teamed for “Los Abrazos” (“The Embrace”), the sixth fiction feature of Marcos Loayza.
The father of “Utama” director Alejandro Loayza Grisi and a lauded filmmaker in Bolivia, Loayza’s credits include his career-launching 1995 drama “A Question of Faith” (“Cuestion de Fe),” adventure pic “Averno” and the docu series “Planet Bolivia” where his son served as DP.
“’Los Abrazos’ is in quite an advanced phase and we hope to shoot it by the end of this year or early next,” said Federico Moreira of LaMayorCine who is hoping to enlist an Argentine co-producer for the drama which they expect to film on location in Bolivia, Uruguay and Argentina. Alejandro Loayza Grisi will likely serve as DP. Alma Film’s Santiago Loayza Grisi is Alejandro’s brother.
“There’s a good energy among the father and sons, they work well together,” said Moreira who is also a sound director on “Utama” and whose more than 30 years old award-winning post-production house also owns and operates Uruguay’s first and only Dolby-certified sound mixing room and four recording studios.
“In the past five years or so, since we launched the Dolby sound mixing room, we have participated in around 100 films,” said Moreira.
“Los Abrazos” pivots on an exile who, after some two decades away, sets out on a return journey to his homeland in a bid to recapture his memories of home. This prompts his son to travel from the capital to the border to meet up with his father. Both embark on their journeys for different reasons, one to recover his past and the other to find himself.
LaMayorCine has several other films in development. Among them is horror thriller “El Huraño,” which they hope to send to the work in progress sections of the film festivals of Sitges (Spain) and Busan (Korea). Written and to be directed by brothers Rafa and Bernardo Antonaccio (“In the Quarry”), “El Huraño” is also a cautionary tale about the environmental damage wrought by man, in this case, by a soybean agriculture business whose indiscriminate use of pesticides provokes a young man who suffers from a clinical lycanthropy disorder.
Another fiction feature in development, set in the Andes and mostly in the Quechua indigenous language like “Utama,” is “La Hija” (“The Daughter”) by Alvaro Olmos Torrico, which counts on the support of the Ibermedia program and has Martin Boulocq’s CQ Films, Rodante Films and Londra Films as associate producers.
LaMayorCine has a slew of documentaries in the works. These include “El Sabalero,” to be helmed by Enrique Fernandez (“The Pope’s Toilet”), about the late Uruguayan singer, composer and guitarist José María Carbajal, otherwise known as El Sabalero.
Two of the docs are soccer-themed: “Roofing,” most of it already shot, about a group of Costa Ricans who pretended to be a soccer team in order to settle in the U.S., and “In the Crowd,” now in post, which follows the bereaved mothers of two soccer fans, one of whom killed the other in one of the worst cases of hooligan crimes in Argentina.
Doc delves into the underworld of rival hooligan gangs and examines the culture of violence that has caused hundreds of deaths in Argentina.
LaMayorCine has two dramas currently shooting across Uruguay: “The Abandoned Paths” by Miguel Zeballos and “7 Balas” by Sebastian Perez.
Veronica Chen’s “Los Terrenos” is slated to shoot in May. Chen’s “High Tide (“Marea Alta”) where Moreira was a co-producer and sound director, screened at Sundance two years ago.
According to Moreira, production is booming in Uruguay because of several factors: first because Uruguay managed the Covid-19 pandemic well, vaccinating most of its population; second, it offers generous tax incentives; and third, because it is safe compared to Argentina and Brazil.