Diego Luna-Produced Doc Tackles Journalist Murders in Mexico: Trailer

Madrid-based Begin Again Films has nabbed Santiago Maza’s Mexican documentary “State of Silence,” produced by Diego Luna and La Corriente del Golfo, the shingle he runs with Gael García Bernal.

The sales agency and distributor, which acquired international rights with the exception of North America and Latin America, has also unveiled the film’s first trailer.

“State of Silence,” which traces the harrowing stories of four journalists who risk their lives in pursuit of truth and transparency in Mexico, will have its world premiere simultaneously this month at the Tribeca and Guadalajara Film Festivals before competing at the Sheffield Film Festival for its European premiere.

Santiago Maza
Credit: Toumani Camara

Detailing the endangered state of press freedom in Mexico, the documentary follows the journalists’ journeys as they navigate treacherous terrain in their effort to shed light on the enduring suffering and anxiety experienced by their fellow citizens two decades after the so-called war on drugs began.

Their resolute commitment exposes them to the risk of reprisals as they willingly make themselves targets: Taking on the roles of investigators and chroniclers, they immerse themselves in the unimaginable violence perpetuated by a narco-political system formed by organized crime syndicates and corrupt local governments.

Mexico has for several years been one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. Since the year 2000, 163 journalists have been murdered and another 32 have gone missing, according to British human rights organization Article 19. In 99% of cases, the murders of journalists remain unsolved.

“In a country like Mexico, where impunity reaches alarming levels, journalism becomes a fundamental pillar,” said Luna, who produced alongside Maza. “It is independent journalism that guides us towards the truth. Today, I can affirm that my civic consciousness has been largely shaped by the tireless work and courage of the journalistic profession in my country. Hence, my concern and indignation arise from the conditions under which they carry out their work, leading to the creation of this documentary as a tool to denounce this situation.”

“As a documentarian, I have always had great respect for journalists,” Maza added. “Their work shapes us. It allows us to understand the world, and often, we act or think based on their interpretation of events. In Mexico, mistreatment of journalists occurs on many levels, from discrediting the profession to the most lethal consequence. The fact that their commitment to the truth costs many of them their lives is unacceptable.”

Courtesy of Begin Again Films

Begin Again Films said, “This urgent and intimate portrait serves as a timely reminder that the freedom of the press must not be allowed to remain under siege anywhere in the world.”

Maza also directed La Corriente del Golfo’s documentary web series “El Tema” (“The Issue”), about the impact of the climate crisis in Mexico. The outfit’s other recent productions include Roger Ross Williams’ wrestling drama “Cassandro,” starring García Bernal; Gabriel Ripstein’s upcoming series “La Máquina,” featuring García Bernal, Luna and Eiza González; and Javier Van de Couter’s Argentine drama “Thesis on a Domestication,” with Camila Sosa Villada and Alfonso Herrera.

For Begin Again Films, “State of Silence” adds to a muscular international sales lineup that includes such recent Spanish films as Sonia Méndez’s youth drama “As Neves,” which screened at this year’s Malaga Film Festival; Juan Gautier’s “El Aspirante” (“Fraternity”), which won the Malaga work-in-progress award; and Anna Cornudella’s English-language Berlinale Forum screener “The Human Hibernation.”

The company, led by Gloria Bretones and Belen Bernuy, recently welcomed industry veteran, producer and sales agent Rosa Bosch as new co-head of international sales and acquisitions alongside Bretones.

Watch the trailer for “State of Silence” below.

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