Under the Strawberry Sun IN DEVELOPMENT

The personal experiences of Teresa, who is transported from childhood into the world of sex slavery and unimaginable danger. A story of hope, endurance, and the resiliency of the human spirit. The emotional power of this story lies within the brutal yet beautifully moving stories of survivors of human trafficking.

NEW FEATURE SCREENPLAY BY WRITER/DIRECTOR JOEL JUAREZ EARNS
SLOT IN PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL FILM FEST SEARCH FOR PROJECTS
BAJO EL SOL DE FRESAS (UNDER THE STRAWBERRY SUN) selected by
VIII Ibero-American Co-production Meeting as part of the Guadalajara International Film Festival

The Industry section of the 27th Annual Guadalajara International Film Festival is pleased to announce that the new narrative feature written by Joél Juárez is among the 30 film projects slated for inclusion at the VIII Ibero-American Coproduction Meeting scheduled from March 4th through 6th, 2012 during the "the most important cinematographic event in Latin America."

A recent addition to the festival program, the Co-production Meeting is designed to bring projects in development closer to global industry professionals, international financing funds and producers seeking co-production opportunities, as well as buyers and world-wide sales agents. The Co-production Meeting invites emerging filmmakers with viable projects in development to the Guadalajara fest for one-on-one meetings with potential partners and co-producers from throughout Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.

“It’s an incredible honor to present my screenplay at such an exclusive gathering,” says Juárez, an MFA graduate in Directing from the UCLA School of Film & Television, where his thesis film, PELEA DE GALLOS (THE COCK FIGHT), earned him a second Director’s Guild of America Student Award. According to Juárez, UNDER THE STRAWBERRY SUN takes a hard look at the reality of sex slavery through the first-hand experience of a teen-aged girl named Teresa, ripped from childhood into a world of unimaginable terror. An international story about the resiliency of the human spirit, she survives an epic sojourn through the world of illegal human trafficking.

“It’s my second feature-length film as a writer and director,” explains Juárez. “Two years ago, at a UN conference in New York, I witnessed testimony from a survivor of sexual slavery. Her story haunted me and moved me so much, I felt compelled to share her journey and eventual triumph.” While researching the project, Juárez interviewed both slavery survivors and their therapists. He met with members of the nation’s first-ever sex slave investigation team in San Diego, California, and he traveled to several villages in Mexico that have been targeted by human traffickers to speak directly with families whose children had been lost to the criminals who prey on innocent young women with promises of a better life in the U.S.

“My script is based on the stories I collected from survivors of sexual slavery, and it unfolds through the eyes of a vibrant young girl coming of age in a rural village near Acapulco, Mexico,” Juárez adds. “Ultimately, it’s the story of Teresa’s endurance, her resilience and her ability to recognize and appreciate beauty in her life despite her horrific experience.

"What's wonderful about Joel’s films is that he creates tone first, and he's very consistent. He gives us something we hardly get to see. He bridges cultures,” says UCLA professor A.P. Gonzalez. Acclaimed filmmaker Wim Wenders describes Under the Strawberry Sun as “an intense yet sensitive and beautiful character study of a young teenager forced into sexual slavery.”

Dubbed an "Auteur-to-watch" by Los Angeles Magazine in 2002, Juárez is a notable talent among a new generation of Latino filmmakers committed to making story-based films with cultural and socio-political relevancy. His debut feature, a futuristic sci-fi thriller titled GENERATION LAST—for example—confronted the issue of global warming head on. At the same time, Juárez has been afforded the opportunity to shadow directors on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “The Unit,” “Criminal Minds” and “Southland” as part of the DGA Latino Mentorship Program, which gives selected participants the exposure to the professional standards requisite to their chosen craft. There is, according to him, a balance between the commercial entertainment aspects of filmmaking and the need for advocacy and activism on issues that matter. “As filmmakers, we have a responsibility to tell the truth as we see it,” Juárez says. The producers at the Guadalajara International Film Festival obviously agree.

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BAJO EL SOL DE RESAS (Under the Strawberry Sun)

juárez

Formato: 35mm, Color
Género: Drama/Thriller
Duración: 90min
Director/Guión: Joel Juárez
Productor: Walter Navas, Xanat Briceño
Locaciones: Acapulco, Gro. San Diego, E.U.

Seleccion Official a VIII Encuentro Iberoamericano de Coproduccion Cinematografica

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Formato: 35mm, Color
Género: Drama/Thriller
Duración: 90min
Director/Guión: Joel Juárez
Productor: Walter Navas, Xanat Briceño
Locaciones: Acapulco, Gro. San Diego, E.U.

Seleccion Official a VIII Encuentro Iberoamericano de Coproduccion Cinematografica

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab

Bajo el Sol de Fresas explora el mundo de la esclavitud sexual a través de la experiencia en carne propia de Teresa, arrancada de su niñez a un mundo de peligro inimaginable. Una emotiva historia sobre la fuerza del inquebrantable espíritu humano, en la que Teresa heroicamente sobrevive su terrible experiencia de tráfico sexual.

Escribí Bajo el sol de fresas después de asistir a una conferencia de las Naciones Unidas donde escuché el testimonio de una jóven víctima de la esclavitud sexual. Su conmovedora declaración asedió mi mente como una plaga hasta que me dediqué por entero a contar la heróica historia de esta sobreviviente. Desde entonces he entrevistado a esclavos sexuales sobrevivientes y las psicólogas que los han tratado.

Basada en relatos verídicos que recopilé de sobrevivientes de tráfico sexual, la película ofrece una versión auténtica vista desde adentro poniendo de manifiesto cómo opera el tráfico de esclavos, y cómo es soportado a través de la experiencia de una adolescente. Es un drama real presenciado a través de los ojos de una vibrante jovencita que deja su niñez en una comunidad rural cerca de Acapulco. Es la historia de Teresa, de su fuerza interior y su capacidad para ver el lado positivo de la vida.

– Joel Juárez

DIRECTOR Joel Juárez nació en Acapulco, Guerrero. Es graduado del prestigioso Departamento de Estudios de Cine y Televisión de La Universidad de California en Los Angeles del cual obtuvo su maestría en Dirección con su tesis Pelea de gallos, que le valió un segundo premio Director’s Guild of America Student Award. El vicepresidente del departamento de cine de UCLA elogia su originalidad: “...sin duda será alguien que unirá nuestras dos culturas”. Joel se ha establecido como director entre la generación de nuevos cineastas. Su estilo ha evolucionado para convertirse en una narrativa de relevancia cultural, calificado como un autor sin par por la revista Los Angeles Magazine.

PRODUCTOR Walter Navas (Bremen, Alemania 1964). Egresó del Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos de la UNAM como realizador y productor. Gerente de producción en Así es la vida (Arturo Ripstein, Mexico/Espana/Francia, 1999) y La perdición de los hombres (Arturo Ripstein, México/España/Francia, 1999. Concha de Oro a la mejor película en el festival de San Sebastian 2000) entre otras. Fue director de produccion de las peliculas La Virgen de la lujuria (Arturo Ripstein, México/Espana/Portugal, 2002) y Ladies’ Night (Gabriela Tagliavini, Buena Vista Internacional – Videocine – Argos (Mexico, 2003); y productor de Efectos secundarios (Issa Lopez, Warner Bros. (México/Fidecine/TRZ Films, 2006) y Bajo la sal (Mario Munoz, Warner Bros. México/Fidecine/Peliculas Imaginarias, 2007-8).

PRODUCTOR Xanat Briceño ha participado en la producción de largometrajes entre los que destacan Cansada de Besar sapos, (Jorge Colon, Disney, México, 2006) Bajo la sal (Mario Muñoz, Warner Bros. México, 2008), y Viento en Contra (Warner Bros. México, 2011). Actualmente se encuentra en el desarrollo de la producción de los largometrajes Tres cruzados (Zane W. Levitt, EU/España); Dios no estaba ahí, (Itandehui Jansen, México), Parakata (Carlos Carrera, México); y de El tercer latido proyecto respaldado por “Alianza de las Civilizaciones” ONU.

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