Monica Lozano launches shingle

Mexican producer has two features set for this year

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Mexican producer Monica Lozano has launched Alebrije Producciones, a shingle with a pair of features lined up this year.

Lozano, who also heads Mexico's Independent Producers Assn., said production will begin in several months on the Spanish- and English-language dramedy "Hombre de Piedra," the directorial debut of comedian Eugenio Derbez. Written by Guillermo Rios and Leticia Lopez Margali, the film, which will be shot in New York and Mexico, is budgeted at $5.5 million, a costly production by Mexican standards.

Also slated for production this year is the period piece "Expediente del Atentado," based on Mexican author Alvaro Uribe's book about a failed assassination attempt on former President Porfirio Diaz. Jorge Fons, helmer of the award-winning 1995 feature "Midaq Alley," is directing. Fernando Leon, a Mexican screenwriter who resides in Spain, is adapting the story.

Lozano said "Expediente" will cost $8 million, making it one of the most expensive Mexican productions to date. Shooting will begin this year.

Lozano recently produced Roberto Sneider's "Tear This Heart Out," which grossed about $7 million last year. Also a period piece, the film was Mexico's foreign-language Oscar submission.