Twenty years after making the Oscar-nominated box office hit “The Crime of Padre Amaro” in 2002, Mexican director Carlos Carrera and producer Daniel Birman Ripstein are teaming up once more for psychological thriller “Confessions.”
“We’re now in post with a documentary about child actors in Mexico, ‘I Want to be Famous,’ but this will be the first drama we’ll have made together since ‘Padre Amaro,’” said Birman whose Alameda Films — originally founded with his late grandfather Alfredo Ripstein — has produced a number of literature-inspired films, including such classics as “Midaq Alley,” which launched Salma Hayek’s career, and also distributes indie films in Mexico.
“We’d been looking at several fiction projects to do together when this script reached us. Like Vicente Leñero’s screenplay for ‘Padre Amaro,’ it was ready to shoot,” he added.
Renowned Mexican screenwriter and novelist Alberto Chimal has adapted the original script by Spain’s Josue Ramos for the Alameda Films and Zamora Films co-production.
“It’s a very contained, character-driven story, which I hope to shoot in chronological order,” said Carrera who was drawn to it for its theme of vengeance. He sees it also as a reflection on present times where the omnipresent social media “makes judges of everyone.”
“Confessions” takes place during a day in the home of a prominent Mexico City couple who discover that their daughter has been abducted. Hours later, the kidnappers appear at their stately home and to the family’s shock, do not demand a ransom. Instead they reveal that someone in the family harbors a dark secret, which must be confessed to the rest if they want their child returned.
“At this point, we don’t know whom they’re referring to as they all start to talk,” said Carrera, adding that at the end of the day, “We all have deep dark secrets to confess.”
“I’ve gotten to know Carrera through our work together on the upcoming documentary, ‘I Want to be Famous’ [‘Pasitos a la Fama’] and it’s been a delight; I cannot wait to see him bring ‘Confessions’ to life,” said Gerardo Moran Castellot of Zamora Films.
Former Sony Pictures executive Sal Ladestro, of the Summer Film Company, is an associate producer of both the child actor documentary and “Confessions.”
Casting is currently underway for the thriller, which has received partial funding from Mexico’s 2021 Eficine tax incentive.
Principal photography is slated for the spring in Mexico City. Alameda Films will handle international sales.
Carrera, who has worked on TV, documentaries, films and animation (“Ana & Bruno”), is ostensibly best known for his controversial priest scandal drama. “The Crime of Padre Amaro” was nominated for both a Golden Globe and Academy Award in 2003. Starring a young Gael Garcia Bernal, the film was a box office phenomenon in Mexico after the Catholic Church called for it to be banned, driving even more people to see it. It grossed a then record-busting $16.5 million, at the time an all-time record for a Mexican film.
Acquired by Sony Pictures Entertainment in select territories and released by Samuel Goldwyn Films in the U.S., it grossed some $5.7 million Stateside.
Adapted from the 1875 novel by Portuguese scribe Jose Maria Eca de Queiroz and set in modern Mexico, the drama pivots on the scandal of a young priest (Bernal) who is assigned to a remote village where he impregnates a young woman infatuated with him.
A long-delayed TV series spin-off, announced in 2016, is in the works.