Experience The Tragedy Of The Second Mexican Empire Through The Short Film Max and Carlota

Max and Carlota is based on the true story about the establishment of the Second Mexican Empire in 1864.

You can watch this movie free on this page here.

Maximilian (Michael Bowen) von Hapsburg's idealistic world sees its dawn when he is asked by France to establish a monarchy in Mexico. His wife, Carlota (Faustina Bowen) encourages him to take the throne and free Mexico from both debt and tyranny.

After support from France is withdrawn and the liberal president is on the rise, Max and Carlota must fight separate battles to save their adopted land.

After pouring out the last of their strengths, the 19th century forgotten hero and heroine fall to their complete destruction only to be brought back to life all these years later by Anne Carroll and Industrious Family Films.

Max and Carlota

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1. Watch Max & Carlota With Your Family Completely Free Now!

2. What Other Industrious Family Films Fans Are Saying About Max & Carlota

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3. Making Max and Carlota: Where The Heavy Lifting Of Filmmaking Gets Done

Making Max and Carlota

Did you know (before reading this page, of course) that a Hapsburg ruled Mexico for a short time? Did you know that two Mexican representatives asked Napoleon III to supply a Catholic monarchy for Mexico? These were all facts that we really delved into and expounded on in this short film.

Did you know that the man chosen for the throne of Mexico 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 for him and his wife?

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.

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The Research That Was Required To Make Max and Carlota

Michael as MaximilianMichael Bowen as Emperor Maximilan von Hapsburg

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 my story saying 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 also discovered that the names of 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: Investigating And Forming The Plot Around Our Mexican Hero And Heroine

Faustina as CarlotaFaustina Bowen as Empress Carlota of Mexico

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

He likes the idea because he knows that he can use his 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 promise. If she fails in her resolve to reinstate French support, Maximilian and all faithful to him will fall victims to President Juarez' regime.

Gabriel as MajiaGabriel Pimentel as General Tomas Mejia

After hearing Napoleon's refusal, Carlota experiences a mental breakdown never to return to Mexico. Upon hearing of the loss of his wife's sanity, Max, against the advice of everyone in Europe including Franz Josef, decides to stay loyal to his adopted country 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.

Making Max and Carlota : The Many Twists And Revamps Of The Script

Max & Carlota project proposal

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 had challenges of its own. We felt like we were trying to put three years worth of story 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 : Working The Numbers To Get What We Wanted Out Of The Low-Budget Short Film

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 : Now It's Time To Get Behind The Camera And Shoot

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.

4. Making Max and Carlota : Celebrating With The LIVE Premiere

Max and Carlota 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 help us make our current productions by paying it forward.

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.

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

5. Meet The Main Max & Carlota Cast, Faces You Will Be Seeing Around

Michael Bowen As The Developing Hero, Idealist, And Romantic, Emperor Maximillian von Hapsburg of Mexico

Michael Bowen as Emperor Maximillian I of MexicoMichael Bowen as Emperor Maximillian I of Mexico

For Max & Carlota, Michael Bowen returned to the screen after his performance as Sir James in Outlaws of Ravenhurst in 2018, this time as the Emperor of Mexico: Maximillian von Hapsburg. 

Michael enjoyed being the main character in this film, although he still has a hard time memorizing lines.

"It takes responsibility because people expect you to know them," he told Mary when she asked what he thought the hardest part about acting was.

One of Michael's favorite things about his character was how weak Max was until he took up his cross and followed Christ by accepting the throne and following the example of his strong wife, Carlota. Once he was committed to this cause, he saw it through, to the bitter end.

To see some of Michael's performances in other films, check out our Outlaws of Ravenhurst and Grisly Grisell pages.

Faustina Bowen Acting As The Anchor Of Max's Life, Empress Charlotte of Mexico

Faustina Bowen as Empress CarlotaFaustina Bowen as Empress Carlota. Charlotte changed her name to the Spanish version "Carlota" when she moved to Mexico.

Faustina Bowen, who also wrote the script, acted Carlota in Max & Carlota. She was excited to have a character who always spoke her mind as Carlota, from persuading Max to go to Mexico to demanding Napoleon III send his soldiers back to Mexico.

"Memorizing lines is not too hard for me. It is getting them out," she responded when asked what the hardest part about acting was. "Somehow the phrases get backward in my mind and I spend a lot of time on one line that should take 10 seconds to record."

One of her favorite things about Carlota's character was her mental breakdown. "It was something very new for me. I like how Carlota did not think of the dangers of going to Mexico. She only thought of the good it would bring." 

Researching for this movie was another thing that really interested Faustina. There was a lot about the Hapsburg family, the places Max and Carlota lived, and other tidbits about this era in history that she would not have learned without the effort of researching for this film.

Gabriel Pimentel As The "Old Indian" And One Of Max's Most Loyal Mexican Generals, General Tomas Mejia

Gabriel Pimentel as General Tomas MejiaGabriel Pimentel as General Tomas Mejia

Gabriel Pimentel was an indispensable asset for this film. He was "the old Indian" General Tomas Mejia in Max & Carlota

Gabriel played one of the few generals that sided with Emperor Maximillian in his last stand on the Hill of the Bells in Queretaro and suffered execution by his side. 

Gabriel is from Mexico and helped us with the Spanish pronunciation of the words (we had already recorded our mispronunciation of "Juarez" before he corrected us).

James Phillips As The Loyal General, General Miguel Miramon

James Phillips as General Miguel MaramonJames Phillips as General Miguel Maramon

James Phillips joined us again after his role as Godfrey in Outlaws of Ravenhurst, this time as one of the heroes instead of the villain.

As General Miguel Miramon, James enjoyed being with all the other actors and getting to know them.

James said that the hardest part about acting for him is saying the lines correctly and in the right manner.

James had a good time doing the character General Maramon. He specifically liked that this character is a good soldier and loyal to his emperor.

Becket Bowen As The Judas Iscariot Of Queretaro, Colonel Miguel Lopez

Becket Bowen as Colonel Miguel LopezBecket Bowen as Colonel Miguel Lopez

Becket Bowen also joined us again in Max & Carlota as Colonel Miguel Lopez. 

His favorite thing about acting in this film was getting the chance to ride a horse for the first time without anyone leading her.

He also enjoyed getting to play with the challenges of being in a bad guy role and the traitor. 

6. Super Excited About The Original Max and Carlota Soundtrack!

Max & Carlota Soundtrack Cover

Music Forge, writing as Bjorn Erikson, really outdid himself with this epic Max & Carlota soundtrack. This original score contains five tracks with a complete run time of eighteen minutes. 

Listen for the character themes as well as the stirring battle music and support for Max's speech in this great disc. 

One of the biggest improvements we achieved for Max & Carlota was having an original score written. 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.

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