Filmmakers in Focus - Cumbres, For Those About to Rock and A Wolf at the Door

Written by Jim Kolmar | March 5, 2014

(L-R) Filmmakers Gabriel Nuncio, Alejandro Franco and Fernando CoimbraFilms from Latin America are in a new golden age, and we're thrilled to feature a number of them in the SXSW Film program. Today's Filmmakers in Focus highlights three of them, from Mexico and Brazil.

Mexican film Cumbres masterfully paints an intimate world in shimmering monochrome, and an oblique study of life in psychological wartime. In For Those About to Rock: The Story of Rodrigo y Gabriela, also from Mexico, we hear the story of this talented musical act, amid a backdrop of Mexican pop cultural history, not to mention some stunning music.
Finally, from Brazil, Fernando Coimbra's almost unbearably tense A Wolf at the Door delivers a visceral sucker punch of a thriller that starts from a simple premise and unfolds into a duplicitous, gripping game of emotional cat and mouse.

Browse all of our films here, and see more of the Latin American and related selections on this page. For more Filmmakers in Focus, consult our archive.

Gabriel Nuncio on Cumbres (Heights)

Image from Cumbres courtesy Bengala

Tell us a little about your film.

The idea of writing Cumbres (Heights) originated in 2006, and is based on a tragedy that had ocurred in Monterrey, Mexico where I was born. Since its conception until the last day of production, Cumbres was developed in a dark environment in Monterrey. Violence was a part of everyday life. It wasn’t a surprise when the first day of production the boom operator warned us of the difficulties of filming a scene because of a gun shooting nearby. However, for me, Cumbres was always a sweet story that had to prevail over the wave of violence and most important, over the tragedy that inspired it.

Why did you start making films?

When I was in junior high school my only ambition was to have a video store. I don't really remember why I decided to make films. I guess that it was a natural route to take as a film fan. And by the way, I cofound a video store that unfortunately closed last year. :(

Have you been to SXSW before?

No. But I have been in Austin. Love it.

Tell us a random fact (or two!) that would help our attendees get a better idea of who you are.

I like chess and stand up comedy. I practice both frequently.

Alejandro Franco on For Those About to Rock: The Story of Rodrigo y Gabriela

Image from For Those About to Rock: The Story of Rodrigo y Gabriela, courtesy Alejandro Meja
Tell us a little about your film.

The story of two young Mexicans who decided to do what they loved the most and against all odds, could make their wildest dreams come true. Rodrigo and Gabriela wanted, like many youngsters, to play the guitar and make a living from their music. They started with a metal band in Mexico City, but the national music scene of the time disheartened them, so they decided to try their luck in Europe, changing their electric guitars for acoustic ones to travel lightly.

From Dublin’s streets to the stages of the most important festivals and venues nowadays, this documentary tells the unbelievable career of these two guitarists to fame. Little by little, the audience discovers the human and artistic profile. For Those About To Rock is one of those stories that young people need to know.

Why did you start making films?

Movies are an essential part of my life as same as music. When I realized that I can put together both energies through my work in a story I discovered almost by accident, it was natural to tried out. I´m happy about that decision.

Have you been to SXSW before? What are you most looking forward to?

Yes, I’m looking forward for WARP’s showcase; for the past 6 years we’ve held one in SXSW and 2014 will be our 7th. WARP is our brand music content, we create a monthly magazine, WARP Magazine, that contains exclusive interviews, editorial notes and photos of the music industry and lifestyle. We also have the web page WARP.la, were we inform 24/7 about our exclusive content and news in the music business. And last, we have a TV Show WARPTV a magazine program that show lifestyle, culture, fashion and trends themes.

And for my documentary World Premier in SXSW Film For Those About To Rock. The story of Rodrigo y Gabriela, this is our first time participating in SXSW Film.

Tell us a random fact (or two!) that would help our attendees get a better idea of who you are.

I’m a Mexican music journalist, TV and radio host, producer and entrepreneur. For the past 8 years my team and I, have been generating content for different formats like: TV, radio, press and digital. We’ve build an expertise and reputation of the prime content and production agency in Latin- America for our company Sentido Común. Some of our products include SesioneS con Alejandro Franco. TV Show that has aired in Latin America, Europe and Asia. We’ve had on the program International talents like: Moby, The Kills, Blondie, The xx, Miles Kane, Katy Perry, among others. (www.sesionesconalejandrofranco.com)

Fernando Coimbra on A Wolf at the Door

Image from A Wolf at the Door courtesy Outsider Pictures

Tell us a little about your film.

The film is inspired by a true story that happened in Rio de Janeiro. It starts with the kidnap of a 6 year old girl and the search for her. But it becomes a game of true and false declarations from the characters. What got my gut with this story was the ambiguity and duality of these characters. There is no good or bad. In extreme situations, everybody has a wolf hidden behind it's own door.

Why did you start making films?

I decided to be a filmmaker when I was 11. When my parents bought a videocassette and my grandma bought a VHS camera. Watching and making films became my greatest passion. Why did I start? Because I needed to! I'm addicted to it.

Have you been to SXSW before? Yes - any tips? No - What are you most looking forward to?

No. I've heard so many great things about the festival that I'm very excited to be there. As it will be our US premiere, I'm very curious to see the response and reaction of the American audience.

Tell us a random fact (or two!) that would help our attendees get a better idea of who you are.

When I was a very small child, my mother took me to watch a play for children, in the street. There was an actor playing a dog, but there was no truth in his acting. I jumped from my mother's lap and started to bark in front of the actor to show him how a real dog does.