Spain took the spotlight at the Marche du Film on Tuesday afternoon with a Cinema From Spain panel in which sales agents were given a platform to present one of their features currently selling in the market.
Moderated by Tito Rodríguez, marketing policy director at Spain’s Institute of Cinematography and the Audiovisual Arts (ICAA), the presentation was broken up into four blocks with one dedicated to each of the participating companies: Latido Films, Filmax, Moonrise Pictures and Bendita Films.
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A particularly current proposition, Latido presented “Tales of the Lockdown,” a new anthology feature which will launch on Amazon Prime Video in Spain next month. Five of Spain’s top filmmakers were enlisted to remotely directed five variations on a theme, life under quarantine. Latido head Antonio Saura was joined by producer Alvaro Longoria of Morena Films, director Fernando Colomo, director-actor Carlos Bardem and actor Sara Sálamo.
Each of the five stories is distinct, but contributes to the film as a whole, and represents a unique cinematic genre.
“I think when you lock down a lot of creative people, they have nothing else to do but think,” Longoria observed. “We did a short series before this under the quarantine, which gave us the technical knowhow to shoot.”
Sauria praised the attitude of the film, noting that while there will be many films about the pandemic, this will be special because it is a lighthearted take on the strict conditions Spaniards lived under for three months. “They look at living in isolation in a totally different from one another and go from one genre to another. It doesn’t linger in the drama of the pandemic, but on the humor that can emerge,” he said.
Filmax presented “The People Upstairs,” produced by Catalan company Imposible Films, in which acclaimed director Cesc Gay, a former Cannes Special Award of the Youth winner for “Nico and Dani,” tells the story of a couple who invite their noisy neighbors over for dinner. There a surprising proposition ignites an evening of excess and catharsis. Gay was joined in the presentation by Filmax sales agent Ivan Diaz and actor Javier Cámara, who previously starred in Gay’s Spanish Academy Goya winning film “Truman.” Filmax hopes to premiere the film this autumn.
“I had a neighbor, a woman who moaned and screamed so loud during sex that my wife and I started talking about what we could do about it,” Gay recalled of the film’s origins. “So, when I was writing this script I was laughing, and people would come into my office to see what was wrong.”
“Remakes are very popular right now,” Diaz responded when asked about the film’s international potential. “I’m sure we are going to have two things here, a film that travels well overseas which producers will also want to remake in their own languages.”
According to Cámara, “If anyone worries about this being a ‘Spanish’ story, I can say the theatrical productions have been a success all over the world, with each actor playing the characters so different.”
Moonrise CEO Colette Aguilar pitched psychological thriller “The Offering,” originally intended to premiere at Malaga before the Spanish festival was delayed until August. She was joined by producer-director Ventura Durall and actor Álex Brendemühl.
Durall’s Nanouk Films produce the tale of Violeta, a psychiatrist who takes on a new patient, Rita, who happens to be the wife of a teenage lover of Violeta’s. When Rita’s true intentions begin to surface, it becomes clear she is intent on rewriting history.
According to Durall, “It’s a very universal subject, how we relate to our past actions and behavior towards others,” and the film should appeal to anyone who left a door open in their past.
Aguilar talked about the film’s strategy going forward, saying, “With the postponing of festivals, we had to rethink our strategy and consider new opportunities. We are in discussion with several festivals and in a couple weeks we will know about a premiere. In the meantime, we are screening to distributors and premiering the film in Marche du Film.”
Canary Island-based Bendita presented its Karlovy Vary 2019 competition player, Jonás Trueba’s “The August Virgin.” Unspooling over several scalding weeks of August in Madrid, a time when many madrileños leave town in favor of tourist spots closer to the coast. Eva, a young woman in a stage of transition, rents a room and experiences her hometown as she never has before. Trueba was joined by sales agent Luis Renart and screenwriter-lead actor Itsaso Arana.
“The way he (Trueba) works with the actors in very open and vibrant, yet subtle. So, we kept the screenplay open and continued to write it while we were shooting,” said Arana.
“I always though the summer in a big city like Madrid is interesting in a cinematic way because time passes very differently, much slower,” Trueba explained of his creative ambitions with the film, adding, “I think it’s maybe the most cinematic month of the year.”
According to Renart, Bendita’s marketing plan is to position the film as “a coming of age summer tale, but for adults instead of teenagers.” And so far that has worked he said, “Mainly because we have an extraordinary film.”
“When we started we wanted to theatrically release in France and the U.S., those were the main territories of our strategy,” he went on before singling out other possible territories such as Brazil, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia. He also said that streaming platforms and TV deals are possibilities being considered.
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