Mexican heartthrob Gael Garcia Bernal (Motorcycle Diaries, Y Tu Mama Tambien) is a co-producer and the star of the English-language contemporary western thriller El Ardor, written and helmed by Pablo Frederik (Blood Appears) and backed by Participant PanAmerican.
Having tutored native Huichol Indians to speak English in his native Mexico, Bernal is well-suited for the part of an Argentinian shaman named Kai, who emerges mysteriously from the lush Amazon Rain Forest to rescue a young girl (Vania), played by Brazilian actress Alice Braga (Elysium, I Am Legend). Vania has been kidnapped by mercenaries after being forced to watch the killing of her poor tobacco farmer father for his land.
El Ardor, an Argent Magma Cine, Brazil Banaheira and the French Manny Films production is the first film being produced as part of a Participant Media initiative to develop and finance 10-12 Latin American films over the next five years, including Sin Nombre and Miss Bala with Mexico’s Canana Films, Young and Wild and Gloria with Chile’s Fabula, The Hidden Face and Undertow with Colombia’s Dynamo Films.
El Ardor is presently shooting in Argentina. With its focus on the rainforest, the film touches on environmental as well as political issues. Producers are Juan Pablo Gugliotta, Nathan Irdela Pena, and Gael Garcia Bernal. Gilles Sousa of Bac Films is handling international sales, and has stated that El Ardor is slated to be in a 2014 Oscar campaign.