Despite losing its initial financing due to the destabilization of Mexico’s economy at the time of the 2006 Mexican presidential race, despite one setback after another, including the emergence of the H1N1 virus at the time of its release in Mexico, Amar a morir, winner of the Best Spanish Language Film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and recipient of the Jalisco Academy of Motion Picture and Visual Arts Best Film Award at the Guadalajara International Film Festival, went on to reign as the number one Mexican film in Mexico for the first three quarters of 2009 and has received two offers for distribution in the United States.
The film will screen at the 2010 San Diego Latino Film Festival at the Ultrastar Mission Valley Cinemas Hazard Center on Friday, March 12, at 7pm with Q and A following with its lead actor Jose Maria de Tavira, writer-director-producer, Fernando Lebrija, and his writing-producing partner, Harrison Reiner.
Amar a morir is the story of Alejandro Vizcaino, the twenty-something young heir to a vast Mexico City banking empire, who runs away from the cold, corrupt, racist, money-driven, super-elite, super-rich, classist world into which he was born. After taking a wrong turn down a wrong road, he finds himself stranded in a poor, remote, beach community where he experiences a love at first sight with an exotically beautiful local girl—one that will place him—and her—in grave danger at the hands of a ruthless drug lord.
The film stars Jose Maria de Tavira, (who as a child actor starred in the film Zorro), Martina Garcia (soon appearing in Innaritu’s Biutiful opposite Javier Bardem) and Mexican Academy Award nominee Alberto Estrella. Amar a morir features a total of five actors previously nominated for the Mexican Academy Award, the Ariel, and original sound recordings by American Idol finalist Jason Castro and 12-time Grammy Award-winning record producer, Sebastian Krys.
Amar a morir is the narrative feature-length film debut of director Fernando Lebrija, a fellow of the prestigious American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Prior to undertaking graduate work in film, Mr. Lebrija produced more than 20 television shows for Fox Sports, MTV Latin America, and for Televisa, Mexico’s premiere television network. He has directed numerous music videos for celebrated folk, rock, and hip hop groups, including two-time Latin Grammy Award-winning rock and hip hop band Molotov, Latin Grammy and Billboard Award-winning hip hop group Akwid, and Best Norteño Performance Grammy winners Los Tigres del Norte, considered to be the most influential group in the genre with more than 20 million record albums sold.
In 2003, his AFI thesis short film, Flirting With Death, which he wrote and produced, was selected by Showtime for its Latino Filmmakers Showcase. He was subsequently one of 15 writers and writer-directors selected from a pool of more than 300 applicants to compete in the 2003 Desi Arnaz Memorial Writing Workshop at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. His historical epic, Jaguar Warrior, secured him a nomination for the Desi Arnaz Memorial Award for Best Story for a Motion Picture or Telefilm. He went on to workshop Amar a morir in a post-graduate writing workshop at UCLA’s School of Film and Television under the helm of industry veteran Harrison Reiner (former production executive on the Academy Award-winning film Cinema Paradiso), who would become his writing and producing partner on the film.
Lebrija and Reiner will shoot their next feature film in Puerto Vallarta in 2011.