When the award-winning and much-talked-about Mexican sci-fi horror drama "The Untamed" was released mid-July, Orange County was missing on the list of U.S.A. selected theaters screening the film. A movie enthusiast noticed and successfully lobbied The Frida Cinema in Santa Ana to show the film.
The film, whose original title in Spanish is "La Región Salvaje," will play at that venue Aug. 11th through 17th.
"Sometimes it takes one person to bring attention to a great film," says theater director Logan Crowe. "In this case, we're talking about one of the best and most unique films coming out of Mexico and Latin America in recent years, directed by the acclaimed filmmaker Amat Escalante."
MAJOR AWARD, GREAT MEDIA COVERAGE
A multilayered story about love, family, sex and a strange alien creature, "The Untamed" won the Silver Lion Award for Best Direction at the last Venice International Film Festival. Distributed in the U.S.A by Strand Releasing, the film has received much coverage by important outlets, from the New York Times, Variety and The Village Voice to the Los Angeles Times, IndieWire, and more locally, the O.C. Weekly.
So much media attention does not surprise Michelle Duman, a prominent patron of the arts, activist and business woman. "Amat Escalante is among the world's brightest filmmakers of today," she says, "and it's only a matter of time before Hollywood snatches him."
WINNING FILMMAKER AT CANNES
Duman points to 38-year-old Escalante's extensive list of international recognitions – more than 20 according to Internet Movie Database or IMDb. He won best director at the Cannes Film Festival 2013 for "Heli," a brutally realistic drama about Mexico's drug war. This was Amat's second win at Cannes, where he received the FIPRESCI Prize for "Sangre" in 2005 presented by the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique.
"I can see Amat's film being Mexico's entry for the Oscars," stated Duman.
Showing the "The Untamed" exclusively at The Frida Cinema in all of O.C. is a triumphant coup for the local theatre. "Our venue is Orange County's only nonprofit independent art house cinema," says Logan with pride. "We are dedicated to enriching, connecting and educating our communities through the art of cinema, and 'The Untamed' fits our mission perfectly." He says that Escalante's film may not be for the faint of heart nor the prude. "It's a must-see film for those who love a great drama about relationships and sexual taboos, with masterful twists and turns, and to top it off with amazing special effects. People will surely remember this film for a very long time."
Q&A WITH DIRECTOR
Logan is securing a question-and-answer session with Escalante for a screening. "It's a challenge nailing a date with one of the hottest filmmakers of the moment," he acknowledges. "We're trying our best, if nothing else we can do it via Skype." Logan adds, "Our community would love and benefit from listening to such a visionary director."
The Frida Cinema is located at 305 E. 4th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Admission is $10 for general public and $7 for Frida Cinema members.
This film is unrated. Not appropriate for children due to adult content.