THURSDAY 19 OCT 2017 11:22 AM


A staple of the UK drinking scene, tequila is one of the most divisive liqueurs – as well as one of the most popular. A regional product from near the city Tequila, situated in the Mexican state of Jalisco, the tequila drink is distilled from the blue agave plant. Although served with a slice of lime and side of salt in most parts of the world, tequila is traditionally served neat in Mexico. Yet, all too often, those who drink tequila do so unaware of its unique regional characteristics and origins.

A new film, directed by Casey & Danielle of Seattle, US-based production company MINDCASTLE and New York-based agency the Brooklyn Brothers, combines heritage, passion and storytelling to communicate Patrón Tequila’s limited-edition tequila, complete with bespoke branding, to a wider audience. Acclaimed Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro has also had a major influence on the resulting sting, with his narrative techniques and unique approach to directing guiding the film to its gritty conclusion. As del Toro himself says, ‘This is a story not of life and death – but of transformation.’

Featuring sound design and audio mix, as well as additional music and arrangement from New York, US-based post-production company HOBO Audio, the film ‘Patron x Guillermo Del Toro’ takes the viewer on a journey into a dark underworld of tequila production. Based on the concept of a sacrificial ritual, the viewer sees a farmer hacking down an agave plant, exposing its fruit and eventually preparing it for distillation through baking it in a brick oven.

Sound is a major factor in ‘Patron x Guillermo Del Toro.’ The sacrificial undertones of the film are enhanced through background music; foley artistry and nuanced sound design, carried out by engineer and sound designer at HOBO Audio, Diego Jimenez, adds to the tension developed by del Toro’s words. Jiminez says, “I’m big fan of del Toro’s films and for this project I was aiming to match the same level of creative sound design and audio post one would hear in his films. He is a master of using audio to enhance the mood and atmosphere. My goal was to create something on the level of his best work.”

“For the sequence with the farmer we wanted to build more tension and add a sense of darkness, making it more visceral in terms of what he’s doing, which is killing the agave plant to make tequila,” Jiminez explains.

For del Toro, the excitement, passion and atmosphere is generated as much through sound as any other element. Narration allows del Toro to interweave the concept of spiritual rebirth, a major theme throughout his films, into the Patrón Tequila video – using storytelling, del Toro draws parallels between his own life, and the history of the Patrón Tequila brand. Speaking of the agave plant, a key ingredient in tequila, del Toro says, “First the life of the agave must be taken. Its hidden heart must be revealed, and out of that heart its life-blood flows. Only in this way can it be reborn into a new spirit. And when the time is right that spirit will enter a new body.”

Background sound alone was not enough to lead the dark, atmospheric visuals, however. Oscar Convers, the composer behind ‘Patron v Guillermo del Toro,’ was tasked with taking the original score from music house Vonavi, based in Berlin, Germany, and sufficiently enhancing it to match the score lines expected from feature-length films. “It was lacking energy in some of the scenes and the Brooklyn Brothers wanted it to feel a little scary and disorienting,” says Convers. “We found the right blend of violins, cellos and violas, and worked off the main theme. That subtle orchestration, arranged into the existing score, helped bring out the drama of the piece.”

This artisanal blend of music and sound reflects the artisanal blend inherent to Mexico’s premium export – Patron Tequila. Given the proximity of global celebrations such as Halloween on 31 October, and Mexico's famous Day of the Dead which takes place on 2 November, Guillermo del Toro’s influence allows Patron Tequila to enter the world of the spiritual.

Patrón x Guillermo del Toro from Patrón Tequila on Vimeo.