2020 Sundance Docs in Focus: MUCHO MUCHO AMOR

MUCHO MUCHO AMOR | Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Giovan Cordero

MUCHO MUCHO AMOR
Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch revisit a long-missing and once world-famous Latinx television personality.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

Extravagant Puerto Rican astrologer, psychic, and gender nonconforming legend Walter Mercado charmed the world for over 30 years with his televised horoscopes. Equal parts Oprah, Liberace, and Mr Rogers, Walter was a celebrated daily part of Latin culture – until one day in 2007 he mysteriously disappeared. Over a decade later, the filmmakers find Walter and invite us into his home and interior world as he prepares to restore his legacy in the public eye.

The film explores Walter’s complex story from the rural sugarcane fields of Puerto Rico to international astrology superstardom, rising above homophobia and the heteronormative beliefs of Latin society with a message of love and hope. From Latinx co-directors Kareem Tabsch and Cristina Costantini (SCIENCE FAIR, Festival Favorite Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival), MUCHO MUCHO AMOR is a love letter to Walter Mercado. The filmmakers, who grew up watching him with their abuelitos, craft a film with levity and a playful spirit. Light-years ahead of his time, Walter has become a nostalgic cult icon of self-expression and positivity for the gender-fluid youth of today.

Some Background:

Directors/Producers:

  • Cristina Costantini
    Past Sundance docs:

    SCIENCE FAIR

    Before turning to directing, Costantini won a duPont-Columbia Award for her work as an investigative journalist. This is the sophomore feature for the Emmy winner, a partner in the LA-based production company Muck Media.

  • Kareem Tabsch

    Tabsch is the co-founder/co-director of Miami’s largest arthouse cinema, O Cinema. He was previously the program director of the Miami LGBT Film Festival. This, his second feature doc, marks Tabsch’s first Sundance project.

Producer:

  • Alex Fumero

    Fumero produced the Sundance animated short alumni XEMOLAND. He previously served as VP of original programming for HBO, and has also overseen projects for Netflix.

Co-Producers:

  • Kathryn Everett

    Everett is also an executive producer of fellow 2020 Sundance US Documentary Competition title BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS. She is the chief of staff of Bryn Mooser’s nonfiction studio, XTR.

  • Kayla Malahiazar
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING

    Malahiazar is an independent producer whose past work includes several projects by Bernardo Ruiz.

  • Bryn Mooser
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE BRINK (2019)
    THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER (2019)
    ON HER SHOULDERS (2018)

    The Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning Mooser also executive produced BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS. He is founder/CEO of XTR, and previously co-founded RYOT.

Executive Producers:

  • Darren Foster
    Past Sundance docs:

    SCIENCE FAIR (director/writer/producer)

    Foster is an Emmy, duPont-Columbia, and Peabody-winning filmmaker who has produced for NatGeo, Current TV, PBS, Fusion, and Al Jazeera America, among others. He is the co-founder of production company Muck Media.

  • Lisa Leingang
    Past Sundance docs:

    PAHOKEE (2019)

    Leingang was most recently SVP, programming and development at Topic Studios.

  • Mona Panchal

    Panchal was most recently VP, development at Topic Studios, where she worked on projects like Sundance doc short alumni BLACK 14 (2018) and THE SHINING STAR OF LOSERS EVERYWHERE (2016). She also executive produced 2020 doc short BROKEN ORCHESTRA.

  • Jeffrey Plunkett
    Past Sundance docs:

    SCIENCE FAIR

    Plunkett is a co-founder and partner of Muck Media. He has produced documentaries for Showtime, ESPN, HBO, Current TV, and Al Jazeera America, among others.

Editor:

Additional Editor:

  • Carlos David Rivera

    This is the Emmy-winning Rivera’s first Sundance credit.

Story Producer:

  • Sejal Bovenizer

    This also marks Bovenizer’s first Sundance project.

Why You Should Watch:
As demonstrated in Costantini and Tabsch’s affectionate film, Walter Mercado’s fame reached far beyond a singular audience, making this project accessible to all. Beyond that, it’s a fun, sweet portrait of an unusual cultural icon, whose overarching message of positivity is sorely needed today.

More Info:
Website
Instagram

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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