‘Roma’ Producer Nicolas Celis’ Boards ‘Freeland,’ written by ‘Caso 63’s’ Julio Rojas and Katina Medina Mora’s First English-Language Pic (EXCLUSIVE)

“Roma” producer Nicolas Celis’ of Pimienta Films is coming on board as lead producer of “Freeland,” the first English-language pic by “Emily in Paris” director Katina Medina Mora, Variety learned at Madrid forum Iberseries & Platino Industria. 

To be co-written with Chilean scribe Julio Rojas, creator of podcast sensation “Caso 63” and a co-writer on Pablo Fendrik’s “El Refugio,” the project was put together by producer Nestor Hernández, a former Sony and HBO development exec for Latin America, who attended the San Sebastian Film Festival in September to present the project.  

MadAvenue PR director Eva Herrero serves as an executive producer on the film.   

“We have long been following Katina Medina Mora’s remarkable career and her impressive accomplishments over such a short time span,” remarked Celis who has been attending Iberseries to take part in a panel and to meet with contacts. 

“I am also more than thrilled to be working with Rojas and alongside Hernández,” he said. “At Pimienta Films, we are increasingly focused on producing globally appealing films with talented and influential creators like Katina,” he noted.

“Nicolas is not only one of the most recognized producers in Mexico, but for me, is one of the few whose work has both narrative and artistic value.” said Medina Mora, adding: “Collaborating with him is something I have been waiting for a long time. I am certain that his involvement with ‘Freeland’ will bring many strengths to the project.” 

In “Freeland,” based on Rojas’ eponymous novel, Nicolas, a 17-year-old living in a seemingly idyllic village, shocks his school when he asserts that the Earth is round in a world where a creationist revolution has rewritten history. 

He’s sent to a reeducation reformatory called Hotel Roma, where he falls in love with Hipatia, the daughter of political prisoners. Together, they plan to escape to Freeland’s border in a totalitarian dystopia of the mid-2030s.

“It is an honor for me that Pimienta and Nicolas Celis have chosen to lead this project. I have been a great admirer of the work of Julio, Katina and Nicolas himself for years. I feel like I am part of something truly unique,” said Hernandez. 

Pimienta Films is also preparing the next Jonás Cuarón film, “Campeón Gabacho” (Gringo Champion”), based on the award-winning debut novel of Aura Xilonen, with Oscar-winning Eugenio Caballero (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Roma”) attached as the art director.

Pimienta produced the younger Cuarón’s debut feature “Desierto” and provided production services to his fantasy adventure pic, “Chupa.”

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