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About The Film
Author and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga believes that you can't simply sit down and write a story: "You have to wait until the story is mature enough to be told,” he says when explaining that the idea for his screenplay, THE BURNING PLAIN, evolved over almost fifteen years before he began putting it down on paper in 2005. The multi-narrative drama where the seemingly unconnected past and present eventually intersect continues a signature style that garnered him critical acclaim and worldwide commercial success for his screenplays for the films Babel, 21 Grams, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and Amores Perros.

To help him bring his vision to the screen, Arriaga approached what at first seemed like unlikely auspices for the project: producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, who in the past have been known for producing big studio-based movies which have found both critical and commercial success, such as Men In Black, Gladiator, and most recently Sweeney Todd.

"It's not hyperbole to say that Guillermo has pretty much invented a new way of telling motion picture stories,” says Parkes. "What particularly excited us here, beyond the evocation of the "four elements” as the basis of a script, was the fact that Guillermo wanted to use his unique structural approach to unravel and elucidate the emotional mystery of a central character – Sylvia, who is in really the lynchpin of the entire story, and who we knew would attract a great actress.”

Adds MacDonald – "It was both a creative opportunity and a challenge to work with an artist of Guillermo's stature. The normal rules of screenplay development really don't apply – but what surprised us was how open and collaborative he was in the process, despite the fact that the story is such a personal one. We didn't know it at the time but it would bode very well for Guillermo's ability to direct his movie.”

It wasn't until after submitting the screenplay to Parkes and MacDonald, and executive producer Alisa Tager, that Arriaga expressed interest in directing. "In some ways, it was a very easy decision to support Guillermo as the director of the movie. His approach to the material is so singular, so personal, and so specific that it is hard to imagine someone else interpreting it,” says Parkes, "The movie existed fully on the page.” Adds MacDonald: "There's also an inherent excitement in supporting a first-time director, particularly if he has already proven himself as a creator of original material.

"At this point, Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban's 2929 Productions came on board to finance. 2929 President and Executive Producer Marc Butan cites the rich characters, the cinematic backdrop, and Arriaga's unique storytelling style as his main attractions to the script: "This is not a classically structured movie and audiences will have to figure it out on their own, as it unfolds on the screen,” said Butan. But Arriaga disputes the notion that his style is unconventional or unique: "If I want to tell you how I grew up in Mexico maybe I will start with my grandfather who came from a remote state in the south, and then go to my son because my son looks like my father, and then I'm telling that story. This is natural for people, even if cinema hasn't always approached storytelling that way,” asserts Arriaga.

On Arriaga's first time behind the camera, Butan notes, "a big part of the decision is whether this is a person who can inspire and command loyalty among a group of people for a period of time.” Arriaga's material belies his presence on set. Says Angelic, "He writes these dark, emotional, oftentimes tragic stories and when you meet him he's one of the warmest, most lovable guys I've ever seen on set,” recalls Angelic of Arriaga's daily interaction with the cast and crew. Butan calls Arriaga "a very straightforward person,” whose richly detailed scripts "are his vision for the m


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