Of the three actor-directors who made their feature filmmaking debuts at this year's Sundance, it looks like Mark Ruffalo (Sympathy for Delicious) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Jack Goes Boating) can keep their day jobs. But Mexican star Diego Luna, with the magical family drama Abel, is the director discovery of this festival.
A few years ago, Abel, about a troubled young boy who returns home from a hospital stint to take on the role of the family's missing father, would have been scooped up by a specialty distrib. But in today's market, a small-scale Spanish-language art film faces tougher going. If the film does well in Mexico and is selected as its 2010 Oscar submission, that could drive it into the arms of a distrib like Apparition (Bob Berney released Y Tu Mama Tambien), IFC or Sony Pictures Classics.
A child of the theater who was raised by his single art director dad, Luna grew up young, and has made some 30 films in his 30 years. Directors Alfonso Cuaron and Luis Mandoki both helped Luna with his film, as well as his long-time acting cohort and producing partner, Gael Garcia Bernal (Rudo y Cursi). I look forward to seeing more from Luna. Herewith, our three-part flip-cam conversation:
Part One: Growing Up in Mexico and Becoming an Actor
Part Two: Becoming a Director
Part Three: Getting Abel Seen