Underscoring a renaissance on Spain’s genre scene, a trifecta of titles – F. Javier Gutiérrez’s “The Wait,” Daniel Calparsoro’s “All the Names of God” and Carlota Pereda’s “The Chapel” – lead the lineup of the second Spanish Screenings on Tour, which unspools at Rome’s MIA forum, taking place Oct. 9-13.
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A platform of market premieres, projects, pics in post and potential remake titles, the Spanish Screenings also underscore the ever stronger emergence in Spain of open arthouse titles – Isaki Lacuesta’s “Saturn Return,” Arantxa Echeverría “Chinas,” Benito Zambrano’s “Jumping the Fence” and Gerardo Herrero’s “Under Therapy,” which was one of the best-selling titles at March’s Malaga Spanish Screenings.
With titles in Next from Spain set to present trailers, Spanish Screenings on Tour will also position a bevy of anticipated feature debuts, at different stages of production, from Spain’s seemingly bottomless well of new talent, such as Jaume Claret Muxart.
Many, but not all, however, are young female directors: Sara Gutiérrez Galve, Alicia Moncholí, Sandra Romero and Sonia Méndez.
A clutch of highly respected established auteurs – Manuel Martín Cuenca, Javier Rebollo, for example – lend breadth to the selection.
One of the Spanish Screenings’ biggest potential commercial propositions, “The Wait” marks the third feature from Spain’s F. Javier Gutiérrez, director of cult debut “Before The Fall” and Paramount Pictures’ “Rings” which grossed $83 million worldwide. Nostromo, behind two Netflix global No.1s this Summer – “Bird Box Barcelona” and “Through My Window: Across the Sea” – features as one of the producers.
Directed by Daniel Calparasoro, Spain’s leading exponent of high octane action trillers, “All the Names of God” has powered up robust pre-sales for Latido Films, underscoring the market appetite for non-English language actioners.
Sold by Filmax, “The Chapel” is Carlota Pereda’s follow-up to “Piggy,” a 2022 Sundance hit which represents one of Spain’s standout feature debuts this decade.
“Andrea’s Love” and “The Night My Dad Saved Christmas” serve as examples of the increasingly strong alliance between companies from Spain and Mexico – probably the most active axis in the Spanish-speaking market in terms of film and TV production, with outfits teaming for projects generated on one side or the other of the Atlantic.
Projects in development:
“Strange River,” (“Estrany Riu, Jaume Claret Muxart, Spain, Germany)
The feature debut of Catalan director Claret Muxart, developed at 2022’s Ikusmira Berriak, and backed by a powerful producers’ alliance including Galicia’s Miramemira and Catalonia’s Alba Sotorra, both behind Berlin’s “Sica.” A two brothers’ sexual awakening tale set on the banks of a swelling Danube River.
“This Body of Mine,” (“Ese cuerpo mío,” Afioco Gnecco, Carolina Yuste, Spain)
Backed by Carlo D’Ursi’s Potenza Producciones, with a strong focus on international co-production and new talent, a feature doc from trans Italo-Chilean director Gnecco, a Malaga winner for “Alambrada,” and best supporting actress Goya-winning Yuste.
“Unkind People,” (Mala Gent,” Sara Gutiérrez Galve, Spain)
Set up at going-places Materia Cinema, headed by Nadine Rothschild and Inés Massa, and a project at the prestige ECAM Incubator development lab, a wedding-set relationship dramedy from UCLA alum Gutiérrez whose 2018 feature debut “Yo lo busco” won a best actor Silver Biznaga (Dani Casellas) at Málaga.
“Weekends,” (“Los fines de semana,” Alicia Moncholí, Spain)
A project at Antonio Chavarrías’ classic Barcelona production house Oberón Media, the awaited first feature from Moncholí, a Barcelona Escac film school alum and Asturias New Directors Award winner. Set in 2005 in Spain, “Weekends” is a coming of age drama, in which a young daughter is forced to navigate her father’s mental ill-health.
“A Supermarket in Tigaday,” (“Un supermercado en Tigaday,” Paula Bilbao, Spain)
Already behind Arima Leon’s “Perhaps,” one of the eye-catching feature debuts coming out of the Canary Islands, Amissus is now also behind Bilbao’s own fiction feature bow, a dramedy about a women who returns to the Islands to bury her father, confront hostages left to fortune by the past and run her father’s legacy, the eponymous supermercado.
Pix in post:
“Rock Bottom,” (María Trénor, Spain, Poland)
Chosen for and appreciated at Cannes 2023 Annecy Animation Showcase, a banner Spanish animated feature deploying rotoscoped 2D to create what Variety describes as “a loose and liberated riff on the life (and work) of British rocker Robert Wyatt,” set against songs from his eponymous 1974 album. Alba Sotorra, Jaibo Films, Empàtic and GS Animation produce.
“Ariel,” (Lois Patiño, Spain)
Next from the now legendary Patiño who rocked Berlin with Encounters Special Jury Prize winner “Samsara,” a reincarnation journey “Samsa” which also broke out to useful theatrical box office abroad. Ariel is a loose riff on “The Tempest,” co-written with Argentina’s Matías Piñeiro (“Isabella”), starring Piñeiro muse Agustina Muñoz and shot on the Azores island of Faial.
“Where Silence Passes,” (Por donde pasa el silencio,” Sandra Romero, Spain)
Romero’s debut, billed as one of the most anticipated of 2023, expanding on her 2020 Malaga best direction winning short. A family dramedy turning on son Antonio returning to his family home when summoned urgently by his brother, it is produced by Madrid/Valencia-based Mammut (“Gusts of Wild Life”), Playa Chica, Icónica, behind Toronto Fispresci prize winner “The Motive,” and Auna Producciones, a producer on the Sundance 2023-selected “The Fishbowl.” BTeam releases in Spain, Filmin has pay TV rights.
“Valenciana,” (Jordi Nuñez, Spain)
Nuñez’s sophomore outing after “El que Sabem” and part of a projected ‘90s Valencia trilogy. Here the story of three women friends is set against the Bakalao night club scene and the rise of populist politician Eduardo Zaplana. Pegatum Transmedia produces; Dacsa Produccions, Àmbar Pictures and Solworks Films co-produce.
“Chinas, a Second Generation Story,” (“Chinas,” Arantxa Echevarría, Spain)
Echeverría returns to the spirit and ethnic context of Cannes Directors’ Fortnight title “Carmen & Lola” in the tale of two young Chinese girls in Madrid searching for a sense of identity. Filmed in Madrid’s Chinatown, produced by Lazona Producciones (“Spanish Affair”) and TVTec and sold by Latido Films.
“Gold Lust,” (“La Llegenda de L’escanyapobres,” Ibai Abad, Spain)
A Western set in remote rural Catalonia, starring Alex Brendemühl (“The Prayer”) and Mireia Vilapuig (“Selftape”) and adapting Narcis Oller’s 1884 classic novel, an early put-down of untamed capitalism which resonates down to this day. Escac alum Abad directs his second feature after 2015’s “The Girl from the Song,” a hit Netflix pickup. Nakamura Films, Mayo Films and Abacus produce; Feelsales sells.
“Jumping the Fence,”(“El Salto,” Benito Zambrano, Cine365 Films, Castelao Productions, Noodles Production)
The latest from Zambrano, director of fine, moving dramas such as “The Sleeping Voice,” a “social thriller,” say its makers, turning on Ibrahim who has a home, partner, Mariama, and work in Madrid. Suddenly deported, he reckons the only way back is to jump the fence from Morocco into Spanish protectorate Melilla, a challenging physical feat. A title to track.
“The Wait,” (“La Espera,” F. Javier Gutiérrez, Spal Films, Nostromo, Spain)
Billed by sales agent Film Factory Ent. as a”sinister folk horror tragedy that takes place in the dark, magic and forgotten Andalusian countryside,” “The Wait” turns on a hunting estate manager who takes a bribe from a veteran hunter. Weeks later, his whole life falls apart. Nostromo (“The Invisible Guest”) and Spal Films (“Before the Fall”) produce.
NEXT FROM SPAIN – COMIN’ UP
Projected 2024 releases:
“Saturn Return,” (“Segundo Premio,” Isaki Lacuesta, Spain)
A kind of Spanish “24 Hour Party People,” says sales agent Latido Films, a rock band musical set in ‘90s Granada as Los Planetas prep their third iconic album. It is written by Fernando Navarro, a scribe on Netflix Top 10 non-English movie “Below Zero,” and directed by Isaki Lacuesta, a San Sebastian double Golden Shell winner, a potentially powerful combination. Produced by La Terraza Films in co-production with Áralan Films, Ikiru Films, Capricci Films, Bteam Pictures, Sideral Cinema and Toxicosmos AIE.
“A Whale,” (Una Ballena,” Pablo Hernando, Spain, Italy)
A fantasy thriller about an assassin who can move between two worlds, played by Ingrid García-Jonsson (“Beautiful Youth,” “My Heart Goes Boom!”) and produced by Señor y Señora and Sayaka Producciones in Spain and France’s La Fabrica Nocturna Cinema. Latido handles world sales.
“Artificial Justice,” (“Justicia Artificial, Simón Casal, Spain)
A Spain-Portugal co-pro from Oscar winner Tornasol Media (“The Secret in Their Eyes), Abano Producións (“Unicorn Wars”) and Portuguese powerhouse Ukbar Filmes (“Operation Back Tide”). The sci-fi political thriller stars Verónica Echegui as a judge battling the introduction of AI-based judicial system in Spain. Latido Films has sales rights.
“In the Sultan’s Bedchamber,” (Javier Rebollo, Spain, France)
A flagship title from Sideral, Elamedia’s new production-distribution-sales combo which made its debut at the Berlinale, and next from San Sebastian best director winner Javier Rebollo (“Woman Without Piano”). Turning on Lumière camera operator Gabriel Veyre who traveled to shoot Morocco for three months in 1900 but remained for his lifetime, “Bedchamber” is produced by Paraiso Production, Sideral, Eddie Saeta and Noodles Production.
“The Snows,” (“As Neves,” Sonia Méndez, Spain)
From Aquí y Allí, behind San Sebastian top winner “Magical Girl” and “Life and Nothing More,” a 2018 Independent Spirits laureate, Galician Méndez’s feature debut turns on a sex tape incident in a snowbound village. One of the best received titles at March’s Málaga WIP España. Elamedia distributes in Spain. Cósmica Producións also produces. Sideral sells.
“Alpha,” (Magalí Daich Varela, Spain, Italy)
A doc feature satire on the creators of online seduction schools, here one based in Italy whose owner and lead instructor falls out with two former students, now teachers, who ankle to create their own rival institution. Sideral produces and sells.
“The Chapel,” (“La Ermita,” Carlota Pereda, Spain)
One of the most anticipated Spanish smart genre films of the year, Pereda’s follow-up to Sundance 2022 title “Piggy,” one of Spain’s most acclaimed recent debuts. Emma, 8, seeks out Carol, a fake medium, to communicate with the spirit of a little girl trapped centuries in a chapel. Filmax, Bixagu Entertainment produce and Filmax sells.
“Andrea’s Love,” (“El amor de Andrea,” Manuel Martín Cuenca, Spain-Mexico)
A story about love, family and disillusionment by leading Spanish auteur Martín Cuenca (“The Motive”). Lazona, of “Spanish Affair,” Spain’s highest-grossing film ever, and Alebrije, behind Mexico’s all-time biggest box office hit, “Instructions Not Included” on board. Also producing: Loma BlancaEl Amor de Andrea AIE, Nephilim Producciones. Sales: Filmax
“The Night My Dad Saved Christmas,” (“La Navidad en sus manos,” Joaquín Mazón, Spain-Mexico)
Spain’s king of comedy Santiago Segura plays Santa, who has an accident in the days leading up to Christmas in Madrid. “A perfect experience to go to the movies with the whole family,” in NEP producer Kiko Martínez’s words. Produced by Nadie Es Perfecto, Esto También Pasará, Bowfinger International Pictures, SDB Films, Mogambo, Sales: Filmax
“The Sleeping Woman,” (“La mujer dormida,” La Claqueta, Coming Soon Films, Spain)
A horror thriller with supernatural elements on a nurse who starts to feel an attraction towards the husband of the woman in a coma whom she’s caring for. The new film from Alvea, who helmed episodes of recent Netflix megahit series “The Snow Girl.” Sales: Filmax
“Third Week,” (Jordi Torrent, Spain-U.S.)
An indie social drama about second chances and the challenges they bring, telling the human struggle of a young man just out of prison after two years, looking to find himself again. Written-directed-produced by long term New York-based Spaniard Jordi Torrent. Sales: Feel Sales
“The Restoration,” (David M. Mateo, Spain)
Mateo’s feature debut, a drama thriller turning on a woman who wakes up with the unnerving feeling that her husband has disappeared. She takes matters into her own hands to find out his whereabouts. With “The Good Boss’” Sonia Almarcha and Ben Temple (“En el corredor de la muerte”). Sales: Feel Sales.
Films with adaptation potential:
“Cross the Line,” (“No matarás,” David Victori, Castelao Pictures)
A one-night thriller, toplining Spanish star Mario Casas as a more or less good guy dedicated to taking care of his sick father. After his dad passes away, he decides to get his life back on track. Second feature by Victori, more recently behind Legendary-Disney+ series “You Would Do It Too.” Filmax handles world sales.
“Wishlist,” (“La lista de los deseos,” Álvaro Díaz Moreno, Spain)
A comedy-drama about two women with cancer and another friend who make a bucket list and set off to do all the things they always wanted to and never did. Monarch Media inked for an English-language remake. Sales: Latido Spal Films, Suroeste Films and A Contracorriente Films produce.
“All the Names of God,” (“Todos los nombres de Dios,” Daniel Calparsoro, Spain)
Luis Tosar (“Miami Vice”) face a high voltage challenge as a taxi driver taken hostage by a terrorist, becoming a human bomb walking through the center of Madrid. Produced by Tripictures, Second Gen Pictures, and Wandanewest by action thriller maestro Calparsoro, almost sold worldwide. Sales: Latido
“Champions,” (“Campeones,” Javier Fesser, Spain)
Spain’s biggest hometurf B.O. hit since 2016, sold near worldwide. Strong remake business encompasses a Woody Harrelson adaptation directed by Bobby Farrelly in the U.S. “Championext,” its sequel, released Aug. 18, leads 2023 Spanish local B.O. chart. Morena Films, Movistar Plus+, Películas Pendelton produce. Sales: Latido
“Under Therapy,” (Bajo terapia, Gerardo Herrero, Tornasol Media)
Tornasol co-founder Oscar-winner producer Herrero (“The Secret in Their Eyes”) directs a comedy on three married couples undergoing therapy, summoned by their female psychologist to a meeting. Its standout reception on the international market include a U.S. deal with Outsider Pictures. Sales: Latido
“Things to Do Before You Die,” (Coses a fer abans de morir, Cristina Fernández Pintado, Miguel Llorens, Spain)
From The Fly Hunter, a domestic festival hit – snagging key awards at the Alicante and Valencia film festivals in 2020 – co-directed by actress-writer Fernández Pintado and DP Llorens. It follows a group of 30-something friends rocked by the death of the youngest among them. Fosca Films produces. Feel Sales oversees international distribution.
“Third Week,” (Jordi Torrent, Spain-U.S.)
From Duende Pictures, RFS Wolf Entertainment and Toned Media, an indie social drama about second chances and the challenges they bring. It tells the struggle of a young man just out of prison after two years, looking to find himself again. Written-directed-produced by long term New York-based Spaniard Jordi Torrent. Sales: Feel Sales
“The Restoration” (David M. Mateo, Eodem Pictures)
Mateo’s feature debut, a drama thriller on a woman who wakes up with the unnerving feeling that her husband has disappeared. She takes matters into her own hands to find out his whereabouts. With “The Good Boss’” Sonia Almarcha and Ben Temple (“En el corredor de la muerte”). Sales: Feel Sales.