Katina Medina Mora to Direct Her First English-Language Film, “Freeland”

Katina Medina Mora is embracing a freeland

The 43-year-old Latina film, television and theatre director and Emily in Paris helmer will direct Freeland, her first English-language film.

Katina Medina MoraThe film will be co-written with Chilean scribe Julio Rojas, creator of podcast sensation Caso 63 and a co-writer on Pablo Fendrik’s El Refugio.

Nicolas Celis, who earned an Academy Award nod for producing Roma, will serve as the lead producer of Freeland.

The project was put together by producer Nestor Hernández, a former Sony and HBO development executive for Latin America who attended the San Sebastian Film Festival in September to present the project.

MadAvenue PR director Eva Herrero serves as an executive producer on the film.

“We have long been following Katina Medina Mora’s remarkable career and her impressive accomplishments over such a short time span,” remarked Celis who has been attending Iberseries to take part in a panel and to meet with contacts.

“I am also more than thrilled to be working with Rojas and alongside Hernández,” he said. “At Pimienta Films, we are increasingly focused on producing globally appealing films with talented and influential creators like Katina,” he noted.

“Nicolas is not only one of the most recognized producers in Mexico, but for me, is one of the few whose work has both narrative and artistic value.” said Medina Mora, adding: “Collaborating with him is something I have been waiting for a long time. I am certain that his involvement with ‘Freeland’ will bring many strengths to the project.”

In “Freeland,” based on Rojas’ eponymous novel, Nicolas, a 17-year-old living in a seemingly idyllic village, shocks his school when he asserts that the Earth is round in a world where a creationist revolution has rewritten history. He’s sent to a reeducation reformatory called Hotel Roma, where he falls in love with Hipatia, the daughter of political prisoners. Together, they plan to escape to Freeland’s border in a totalitarian dystopia of the mid-2030s.

“It is an honor for me that Pimienta and Nicolas Celis have chosen to lead this project. I have been a great admirer of the work of Julio, Katina and Nicolas himself for years. I feel like I am part of something truly unique,” said Hernandez.

Celis Producing First TV Series, “Monstruos Perfectos”

Nicolas Celis is ready for the small screen…

The 30-year old Mexican film producer is preparing for his first television series, Monstruos Perfectos, which recently received development support from the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE) under the new TV series support scheme launched in late 2016.

Nicolas Celis

Meanwhile, Celis’ Pimienta Films, one of Mexico’s leading production outfits, is completing production on Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” his first picture lensed in Mexico since “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” and “Birds of Passage,” from Colombia’s Oscar nominated Ciro Guerra (“Embrace of the Serpent”).

Monstruos Perfectos is set in Mexico and will be produced by Pimienta, with external producers Marion d’Ornato and Enrique M. Rizo. Rizo has worked with Celis as second assistant director on Semana Santa, and as production manager on Tempestad, Soy Nero and The Untamed.

“This will be my first experience in TV,” Celis revealed to Variety, although he refrained from outlining the story. “I’m really happy to jump aboard. For me this is completely new world. I really love that IMCINE is exploring new content opportunities. We want to make a TV series that’s much more cinematic, than TV series produced in Mexico so far.”

Celis said that it’s been great to work with Cuaron on Roma, having previously worked with his brother, Carlos, on “Rudo y Cursi,” early in his career, and having been one of the producers on the 2015 pic Desierto, by his son, Jonas.

“Roma” chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s and is produced by Cuaron, Celis, Gabriela Rodriguez (“Gravity”), and exec produced by Participant Media.

Roma is Celis’ first period movie. Its 1970s setting was prior to his own birth – in 1986 – which he says provoked some wisecracks during the shoot. “For me it’s been my most challenging and interesting project so far. I’m a big fan of Alfonso’s work since a kid and I loved that he wanted me to work on his new film.”

Guerra’s Birds of Passage is also set in the 1970s and is produced by Colombia’s Ciudad Lunar (Cristina Gallego and Katrin Pors), as well as Celis and Argentine producers MC Productions and Buffalo Films, with Colombia’s Caracol TV also on board.

Celis previously worked with Pors on The Untamed. “Working with Katrin has been a great discovery,” said Celis. “We’re trying to work with her on our next projects.”