Mexican Film Project 'Heartbeat of the World' Has Global Pulse

Serbia's Emir Kusturica, Mexico's Guillermo Arriaga and Japan's Hideo Nakata are among those collaborating.

MEXICO CITY -- Producers here on Thursday unveiled Heartbeat of the World, an ambitious Mexican cinema project that brings together a dream team of international talent on four socially-minded films.

Each feature-length picture consists of a collaborative effort of 10 shorts, with each installment exploring one of the following global topics: religion, sexuality, politics and drug addiction. Production has begun on the first film, the religion-themed Words with Gods, and it features segments from renowned helmers such as Serbia's Emir Kusturica (Underground),  Brazil's Jose Padilha (Elite Squad), Australia's Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah), Iran's Bahman Ghobadi (Turtles Can Fly), India's Mira Nair (Salaam Bombay!), Japan's Hideo Nakata (Dark Water) and Mexico's Guillermo Arriaga (The Burning Plain). 

Three other as-yet-unnamed filmmakers will contribute to Words with Gods. Each film will be produced in 14 months and financing has been secured for all four movies. Mexican film financier Alex Garcia (Top Cat) declined to reveal the budget, however, he said funding for Heartbeat of the World comes from private investors in Mexico. Garcia is producing alongside Mexican writer/director/producer Arriaga and L.A.-based Argentine producer Lucas Akoskin

The three films to follow Words with Gods are the drug-themed Into the Bloodstream; Encounters, a look at sexual identity and expression; and Polis, which delves into political topics. The producers said they will announce the directors participating in those installments at a later date.

Garcia said no distribution deals have been signed and no international sales agent is on board yet.

Two segments of Words with Gods have already been filmed: Kusturica's take on orthodox Catholic religion in Serbia, and Ghobadi's short on Islam, which he shot in Turkey.

Arriaga, who is directing a piece on atheism in Mexico, considers Words with Gods the most challenging of the four thematic films. 

"It's difficult because not every filmmaker is a believer," he said. "But they are directors whom I admire very much and I strongly believe that now is the time to address these issues. You cannot look away. Globalization is staring us in the eye. "