Mexico's Lemon Films plans two projects


MEXICO CITY – Coming off the success of boxoffice horror hit "Kilometer 31," Mexican shingle Lemon Films is preparing a romantic thriller with U.S. producers and an animated feature with Warner Bros. Mexico.

Lemon, run by U.S.-educated brothers Billy and Fernando Rovzar, is co-producing the romantic thriller under the working title "Violanchelo" (Love, Pain and Vice Versa) with Miami-based Panamax, producer Nick Spicer and Spain's Filmax. Spicer met first-time director Alfonso Pineda-Ulloa while studying at the UCLA producers program.

Blas Valdez penned the script based on a short story titled "Dolor y Viceversa." The story centers on two characters with a dark connected past that reveals itself in their dreams.

Spicer said Panamax will distribute the picture in the U.S. through Lionsgate. Panamax, founded by former Telemundo chief Jim McNamara, has an output deal in place with Lionsgate to produce Spanish-language films for U.S. Latino audiences. Filmax will handle worldwide sales and distribution in Spain.

The $3-million-production is set to begin in June. Talent will be announced at a later date.

Lemon also is developing an untitled animated feature with Warner Bros. Mexico, which will be Mexico's first toon done entirely in 3D.

Leonardo Zimbron, director of Warner Bros.' local production division in Mexico, confirmed the two companies are developing the project, however, he emphasized that it was too early to comment on the production schedule and financial details. Nearly a year ago, Warner Bros. Mexico and Lemon signed a one-year renewable first-look agreement. The deal allows Warner to co-produce and distribute Lemon's pictures in Mexico and possibly other territories.

Lemon's Billy Rovzar, who studied screenwriting at UCLA, is penning the script. Mexican animation studio Anima is also co-producing. Rovzar said the idea is to release the film in the U.S. first.

Lemon has become one of Mexico's most active indie producers following the success of dark comedy "Matando Cabos" and horror film "Kilometer 31." The latter has raked in about $10.7 million, making it one of Mexico's all-time boxoffice leaders. Rovzar said Lemon is preparing a sequel to "Kilometer 31," a notable accomplishment since sequels are rarely made here.

Additionally, Rovzar and his brother are executive producing "Live Bet," a Universal Pictures' drag-racing film starring Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson.

Also in the pipeline is futuristic drama "La Ultima Muerte" (The Last Death), which is to be written and directed by first-time helmer David Ruiz.