Mantícora Distribución Boards ‘While the Masters Sleep,’ Set to Bow at Cannes’ Fantastic Pavilion (EXCLUSIVE)

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Mantícora Distribución has acquired the vampire story “While the Masters Sleep” by Santiago Alvarado Ilarri for international sales.

The film – which will also mark the debut of Spain’s La Mala Compañia, the result of a partnership between Magno Entertainment and MSP –will be presented in Cannes as one of the Gala Screenings at the Fantastic Pavilion, a brand new hub for the genre community at the Marché du Film. Sula Entertainment and Morbido TV are also on board.

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“We want ‘While the Masters Sleep’ to introduce this new label. [It will be] focusing on genre films with a big audience potential, but trying to achieve this goal without losing the ideas and virtues of independent films. All the while shaking up the codes of classic horror films,”  producer Joaquim Vivas said of La Mala Compañía.

In the film, Samuel and Lourdes are a humble married couple, going out of their way to take care of their master’s properties: an ancient vampire that only feeds on the blood of bad people. Generation after generation, Samuel’s family has been protecting him but now, the couple has new problems. They can’t have a baby and a mysterious vampire relative, Zlatan, turns the whole place upside down.

“I have always loved vampire films, no matter what kind or genre. From all adaptations of ‘Dracula’ to ‘Interview with the Vampire,’ ‘The Lost Boys’ or ‘Fright Night’,” says the director.

“This fight between good and evil, the vampire’s magic, its house or its cave – all this stuff wouldn’t allow me to divert my attention from the screen. I kept waiting to see the next victim or thinking about how the Lord of the Night would eventually die. I was dying to tell a story like this.”

Looking for an original way in, he turned his mind to vampire’s helpers, such as hunchbacked servant to Count von Krolock in Roman Polański’s “The Fearless Vampire Killers.”

“I said: a guy like that must be the protagonist. And so, with Ramón Salas, we started to write.”

1984 Spanish film “The Holy Innocents” also served as a reference, showing servants dedicating themselves to their rich employers yet receiving little gratitude in return.

“To them, it’s irrelevant – they still keep serving their lords fervently. It was something I wanted to capture,” he points out. But some familiar elements remain intact.

“We have garlic, we have silver crosses, we have coffins. Master Víctor has vineyards, which is funny when you remember that famous Dracula’s quote: ‘I never drink…wine’.”

While the Masters Sleep
While the Masters Sleep

Although the film will see him reunite with actors Juanjo Pardo and Juli Fábregas, featured, respectively, in his “Fallen Cape” and “The Day of the Lord,” they are now taking on entirely different roles.

“In ‘Fallen Cape,’ Juanjo was a very outgoing character, a babbler. Here, he is this quiet and faithful server. With Juli, it was the same. He went from playing an introspective man to this bizarre vampire.”

Ivan Massagué, Llum Barrera, Diana García and ‘[] Manuela Velasco also star.

“From the production side, we planned it with a very clear goal: the main set had to shine in a spectacular way. The old mansion where Víctor lives alongside his servants is another character in the movie. We were lucky to find an old palace from the 16th century near Barcelona. Nobody has shot there before,” says Vivas, while the director calls his film a “drama with dark humor and some horror touches.”

“The most important thing was to show the realities of this marriage. Their problems, as well as their issues with the vampires. I believe we were able to achieve this mix of drama with all the crazy moments this film has [to offer].”

Mantícora Distribución’s José Luis Mejía Razo adds: “We are thrilled to introduce this powerful piece of horror to the market. One that captures the elegance of classic, timeless vampire tales while telling a human story about power dynamics, which is a universal theme the audiences can relate to. And what better place to do so than at the Fantastic Pavilion’s Galas, this amazing initiative that will power up the genre industry.”

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