Making Max and Carlota

making max and Carlota

Did you know that a Hapsburg ruled Mexico for a short while? Did you know that two Mexican representatives asked Napoleon III to supply a Catholic monarchy for Mexico? The making of Max and Carlota reveals these little known facts and more.

Did you know that the man chosen left his luxurious home in Europe to help a nation that he hardly knew about? That promises made to him by friends were unkept, resulting in disaster?

Did you know that his adoring wife, who was the support of his life suffered a mental breakdown and was swallowed up by insanity during the drama of their Mexican Adventure? That Civil War-tossed America assisted in this man's downfall?

Did you know that this man was betrayed by a soldier he thought loyal to him? That he gave his life for his adopted country with the words "Viva Mexico!" on his lips? I did not.

We Love Susan Peek And You Will Too!

These are the most exciting saint novels I have ever read! These stories will keep young readers at the edge of their seat. Industrious Family Films is so honored to be sponsored by the Catholic author, Susan Peek.Visit her site and add God's Forgotten Friends to your family library today! -Mary Bowen, Director

Michael Bowen as Emperor Maximilian von Hapsburg
Faustina Bowen as Empress Carlota of Mexico
Gabriel Pimentel as General Tomas Mejia

Making Max and Carlota : The Research

Emperor Napoleon III & Empress Eugenie, General Tomas Mejia, Maximilian & Charlotte, General Miguel Miramon, President Juarez

I first fell across Maximillian and Charlotte in my Christ in the Americas history book. After reading this chapter I retold the drama to my family and ended that it would make a great movie. At first I say this like someone should make this a movie and I usually end up commissioning myself with this charge. I researched about this period for the movie and asked a few people if they knew anything about this time in Mexican history. I found that this story is hardly known.

I found that the names Max and Carlota did not ring many bells and I had to tell the story many times, which I did not mind doing. I found it very strange that the rewriters of our modern history have so well covered up the story of the Catholic Monarchy that flourished for three years during the usurper presidency of Benito Juarez of Mexico. In making Max and Carlota, we wanted to present a time in history which appears to have been buried by modern historians.

Making Max and Carlota : The Plot

"Max was a romantic and an idealist; he liked to write poetry, to tend garden, to carry on discussions long into the night." -Anne Carroll in Christ and the Americas

After being assured of French support for at least three years, Franz Josef’s younger brother, Max, goes to Mexico to establish a monarchy and free Mexico from both her debt and tyranny.

He likes the idea because he can use his own knowledge of politics and military to help a struggling nation while escaping from the great shadow of his older brother.

After only a few months, the American Civil war ends, and France breaks her promise. Napoleon III withdraws his promised troops in fear of the reaction of the United States to his plan of establishing a monarchy in Mexico. Outraged, Carlota goes to Napoleon to try and persuade him to keep his vital promise.

Execution of General Miguel Miramon (James Phillips), Emperor Maximilian (Michael Bowen), and General Tomas Mejia (Gabriel Pimentel)

After hearing his refusal, Carlota experiences a mental breakdown never to return to Mexico. Upon hearing of the loss of his wife's sanity, Max decides to stay and fight Juarez’s army and free his adopted people from the tyrannical president.

He is ultimately overcome, resulting in his execution at the hands of his enemies, far from his home and all those he loved.

As a rather depressing historic incident, we wanted to make the audience feel inspired even though the good guys do not make it out on top. The movie is focused on the rise of European traditionalists during the usurping reign of liberals in Mexico.

An excerpt from Maximilian's speech just before his execution at the Hill of the Bells, Queretaro, Mexico.

Making Max and Carlota : The Script

We strongly felt that such a story needed to be brought to life and what better way to revive it than by making it a film!

Faustina got to work right away on the script. We wanted to hone in some moviemaking skills learned from Outlaws of Ravenhurst, so we planned on a 30 minute short film.

We sent the script to our mentor, Jim Morlino and had it inspected by our small Latin Mass "Parish" priest. We ended up totally changing that script after letting it sit.

Dealing with a shorter script has challenges of its own. We felt like we were trying to put three years worth of time into 30 minutes so we changed it to focus on the siege of Queretaro.

We shot the film which we called Queretaro. This film was told through flashbacks with Maximilian's memories being mingled with present time. But when we edited this film, it felt unsatisfying so we edited it back and ended up making Max and Carlota after all!

Making Max and Carlota : The Budget

We created an elaborate budget and estimated $4,521 for making Max and Carlota. Luckily, we had a head start of $1,500 from our "Outlaws" premiere after we shared 20% with the actors. All the proceeds from selling Outlaws of Ravenhurst went to support the short film. 

We spent $2428.74 on making Max and Carlota.

Making Max and Carlota : Filming

Filming Max & Carlota took about a year. Researching some of the places and looking at paintings of Max and Carlota really helped us decide how we wanted our sets to look.

We used shades of blue for Maximilian and Carlota's palace at Chapultepec because pictures of their home in Italy, Trieste, had a very blue hue to it. We figured their Mexican home would come away with the same sort of feel.

The sparkle on the conservative soldiers' uniforms was based on General Miramon's painting. Plus, who doesn't like a little glitter?

Gabriel Pimentel teased that he thought maybe we were going to have a dancing performance in these costumes.

Visit our Pinterest board on the right to see some of the inspirations. To view some behind the scenes photos, visit our Max & Carlota photo gallery.

Making Max and Carlota : The Music

One of the biggest improvements we achieved with Max & Carlota was having an original score. The score is now available in CD form for you to enjoy. 

Remember that all profits made on the Max & Carlota soundtrack goes directly into making future wholesome films. Visit our blog to learn more about current productions as well as our dreams for the future of our moviemaking business.

Making Max and Carlota : The Premiere

Unfortunately, we premiered Max & Carlota in 2020, right when the sanitation dictatorship was in full swing.

Though we were still able to have it at our local parish, our actors were not able to join us.

We had a very successful Max & Carlota LIVE premiere with 470 views and $1280 raised! 20% was shared with the cast and the rest helped fund our next film, Grisly Grisell. You can support our current productions by paying it forward here.

If you missed the LIVE Max & Carlota premiere or want to reminisce, Mary has edited an event video which you can watch on the premiere page... 

We had the honor of having Mrs. Anne Carroll participate in our Live Premiere! She painted some very bleak eras in history followed by their glorious springtimes.

Her speech was inspiring and motivating, filled with hope and concluded with the premise that homeschoolers will bring the new springtime much needed after this long and hard wintertime. Mrs. Carroll almost left us speechless as you can tell when watching our follow-up commentary.

You might like these

  • Max & Carlota Photo Gallery

    This Max & Carlota photo gallery is here for the avid M&C fans. Get behind the scenes looks at the making of this film.

  • Max And Carlota The Movie

    Max And Carlota is based on the true story and is torn between loyalty and betrayal, brotherly love and hate, Catholic monarchy and Liberal democracy.

  • Max & Carlota Premiere

    Announcing our Max & Carlota premiere where we showcase our improved cinematography, better performances and moving music score.

  • Max & Carlota Soundtrack

    Now you can enjoy the Max & Carlota soundtrack while you are in the car or just relaxing!

* indicates required

We Respect Your Privacy.

Contact us

Mary, Faustina and the crew are eager to talk to you all things movie!

#RebuildChristianArt Blog

An aid for families encouraging the reconstruction of the social fabric by sparking interest in Christian art and culture. Find beautiful novels, films, music, food and customs.