'[Rec]' director Paco Plaza's 'Veronica' gets France deal
Feb 21, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Upcoming horror follows a woman who attempts to bring back her dead father through a Ouija ritual.

 

Film Factory has licensed French rights to [Rec] director Paco Plaza’s upcoming horror film Veronica.

 

ARP Selection will distribute the story which producer Apache Films claims to be based on the only unexplained supernatural case in the annals of the Spanish police.

 

Sony has earmarked an autumn release in Spain on Veronica, about a young woman who must protect her younger brother and sister after she attempts to bring back the spirit of their dead father through a Ouija ritual.

 

Ana Torrent will star with Leticia Dolera, Consuelo Trujillo and newcomer Sandra Escacena in the lead role.

 

Enrique López-Lavigne from Apache Films serves as producer. Film Factory chief Vicente Canales brokered the deal with Michèle Halberstadt and Laurent Petin for ARP Selection.

 

“We’re glad to have closed this deal with such a good company as ARP Selection and to know that this great title will have a wide theatrical release in a key territory like France,” Canales said. “After Paco Plaza’s successful Rec Saga we are confident that Veronica will be a big hit.”

 

Originally published at Screendaily.com by Jeremy Kay. 

'Skins' ('Pieles'): Film Review | Berlin 2017
Feb 21, 2017

Spanish director Eduardo Casanova's debut, a dark soap opera peopled with physically challenged characters, played in Berlin's Panorama sidebar.

 

Movies have often reminded us that physical beauty and ugliness are only superficial, but Spaniard Eduardo Casanova's debut Skins makes the point in a distinctive and entertaining way. Fusing the bright, kitsch colors of early Almodovar with John Waters' transgressive love of the forbidden, this series of interlocking stories about folks with physical differences seeking their place in the world has the virtue — especially rare in Spanish cinema — of introducing the viewer to a new, off-kilter world. Though it lacks depth and is sometimes clunky, the film is persuasive and thought-provoking for as long as it lasts. On this evidence, TV actor Casanovas, just 25, has found a theme with powerful possibilities for future works with more nuance and shade.

 

Skins was produced by Alex de la Iglesia, whose The Bar also played at Berlin, and it utilizes lots of de la Iglesia’s favorite actors. It sets out its darkly bizarre store early on, as Simon (Antonio Duran) learns by phone that his wife has just given birth. He weeps with shame as an elderly naked woman shows him pictures of young girls with whom, it’s suggested, Simon wants to have sex. He eventually chooses one, whom we next meet later in life as Laura (Macarena Gomez), obviously beautiful apart from the fact that she has no eyes. She's now a prostitute, her clients empowered by the fact that Laura can’t see them.

 

Even less fortunate in her appearance is Samantha (Ana Polvorosa, who worked previously with Casanova on his short, Eat My Shit, and it's to be hoped will not be stereotyped by this particular role). The unfortunate Samantha has been born with an inverted digestive system — her anus and her mouth have been interchanged. Bravely she decides to step out from the wood cabin where she lives with her father and seek social acceptance, with soul-crushing results. In a cafe, she is cruelly laughed at by the overweight Itziar (Itziar Castro), later revealed to be one of Laura’s sexually insecure clients.

 

Other characters include Ana (Candela Pena), who has a large tumor on her face and is having an affair with burn victim Guille (Jon Kortajarena), though Ana is loved by Ernesto (Secun de la Rosa); self-harming Christian (Eloi Costa), who dreams of having no legs, so he can become a mermaid; and little person Vanesa (Ana Maria Ayala), who despises her job dressing up in costume as a popular kids’ TV figure. Meanwhile, Christian’s monster mother Claudia (Carmen Machi) is emotionally challenged rather than physically, aside perhaps from her shocking tracksuits.

 

This is a lot of characters, plotlines and ideas to handle, but Skins just about makes it hang together by setting it in a separate but coherent world from ours — one that’s surreal and highly stylized, full of garish pastel interiors with heavily predominant pinks, which must have felt like a gift to production designer Idoia Esteban.

 

Cleverly, the film's point — which is to ask viewers to readjust their perceptions of what beauty means — thus extends into the visual aesthetic. That kitsch effect is both crude and effective, enhanced by over-the-top use of melodramatically corny '60s and '70s pop songs as a running commentary. (The cliched used of Bizet’s Carmen works less well.) What is sacrificed, under the riot of style and color, is depth.

 

Generally the script, supported by some authentically committed and physically challenging performances from a range of actors of varying experience and ability, ambitiously and sometimes exhilaratingly tries to imagine what life might actually be like for these unhappy people. There are several wonderfully ironic moments, which neatly turn the cliches of soap opera on their heads, as when the heavily disfigured Ana powerfully tells Ernesto that he only loves her for her appearance.

 

Given the sometimes distressing images on the screen, Skins is actually light of touch, though sometimes not as funny as it thinks it is — the gag-inducing gag that has Ana blowing out her birthday candles with a farting sound would have best been left to the viewer’s imagination. Skins saves its most transgressive shot for last. The penultimate image, which some will find upsetting and others hilarious, and which everything in the film has been building up to, raises all sorts of interesting questions about whether to frame in close-up or not. Ultimately, it could be a succinct expression of what happy endings are really about.

 

Originally published at HollywoodReporter.com by Jonathan Holland.

Berlinale: Diego Lerman's 'A Sort of Family' Acquired by Film Factory (EXCLUSIVE)
Feb 21, 2017

The Spanish world’s biggest sales agent links to a prestige director and production house

 

Film Factory has acquired worldwide rights to “A Sort of Family,” by Cannes regular Diego Lerman, one of the leading lights of the New Argentine Cinema.

 

Vicente Canales, Film Factory founder, will show a first promo of the film, now in post, to buyers at this year’s European Film Market.

 

Pic is lead-produced by Lerman and Nicolas Avruj at Campo Cine in a six-way international production, and reps a step-up in ambition for the director. It also shot for seven weeks in Argentina – a luxury very few Argentine films enjoy – and toplines Spain’s Goya-winning actress Barbara Lennie (“Magical Girl”).

 

Billed by Film Factory as a touching family drama and intense road movie, “A Sort of Family” stars Lennie as a successful doctor, Malena, who’s adopting a child. When the child’s biological parents suddenly demand more money, Malena “sets out on an uncertain journey plagued by moral and legal dilemmas to see how far she is willing to go to get what she wants most,” the film’s synopsis says.

 

Shot on location in Northern Argentina, “A Sort of Family” is produced by Campo Cine, Brazil’s BossaNovaFilms  and France’s Bellota Films (Francia). Poland’s Staron Film, 27Films in Germany and Denmark’s Katrin Pors associate produce.

 

“Argentina’s production is polarizing,” said Avruj. Making bigger films may not be a question of production values but how much distributors and exhibitors bet on a film, he added, saying “there’s a tendency to bet on what is seen as big films.”

 

 

Originally published at Variety.com by John Hopewell. 

Berlinale: Film Factory Nabs 'Giant' From 'Flowers' Creative Team, Producers (EXCLUSIVE)
Feb 14, 2017

 

The new film re-teams as directors two of the three top creative talents behind 2014 Basque hit movie “Loreak” (“Flowers”), which was Spain’s foreign-language entry for the 88th Academy Awards.

 

“Giant” is also produced by “Loreak’s” Irusoin and Moriarti Produkzioak, this time in partnership with Koldo Zuazua’s Kowalski Films (“Wounded”).

 

Adolfo Blanco’s Contracorriente will release the film in Spain by 2017’s third quarter.

 

Vicente Canales’ Film Factory is presenting the project and showing the first promo to international buyers at the European Film Market.

 

With Eneko Sagardoy (“The Night Watchman”), Joseba Usabiaga (“Picadero”) and Iñigo Aramburu (“The Invisible Guardian”), “Aundiya” is set in the mid-nineteenth century portraying the tough life of a Northern Spain’s traveling freak show.

 

When Martin (Usabiaga) returns home from the war, crippled and defeated, his brother Joaquin (Sagardoy) has grown up to become an actual giant, and useless for the family’s work in their tiny hamlet.

 

To keep the family afloat, the two embark on a breathtaking adventure, turning the giant into a circus act, performing in squares, theaters and leading courts throughout Europe.

 

“’Aundiya’ is a touching tale based on a real and universal story that will move audiences all over the world,” Canales said.

 

Originally published at Variety.com by Emiliano de Pablos. 

Berlinale: Canales' Film Factory Presents Musical Comedy 'Holy Camp!' at the European Film Market (EXCLUSIVE)
Feb 8, 2017

Enrique López Lavigne ('The Impossible,' 'A Monster Calls') produces feature film adaptation of hit stage play 'La llamada'

 

Vicente Canales’ Film Factory Entertainment has acquired worldwide sales rights outside Spain to Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi’s offbeat musical comedy “Holy Camp!,” the film adaptation of hit stage play “La llamada.”

 

One of the top sales agents in the Spanish-speaking world, Film Factory will be presenting “Holy Camp!” and showing its first teaser promo to international buyers at the upcoming Berlin European Film Market.

 

Produced by Enrique López Lavigne (“The Impossible,” “A Monster Calls”) and Toni Carrizosa and Kike Maíllo (“Barcelona Summer Night”), “Holy Camp!” production teams Madrid-based outfit Apache Films with Barcelona’s Sábado Películas.

 

Currently in post-production, the film will be released by DeAPlaneta this year in Spanish cinemas.

 

Described by Film Factory as “a zany, romp coming-of-age musical comedy that brings to mind Almodovar at his funniest,” the film centers on María and Susana, two rebellious teens who spend their summer in a catholic camp, where they live with Mother Superior Bernarda, an older nun looking to modernize, and Sister Milagros, a young nun filled with doubt.With music as their common denominator -the stage play combines electro-latin songs with Witney Houston-, teen rebellion and ecclesiastic order will collide, creating a hymn to freedom and first love.

 

“Holy Camp!’s” top-notch femme cast is headed by Goya Award winners Macarena García (“Snow White,” “Palm Trees in the Snow”) and Anna Castillo (“The Olive,” “Ghost Graduation”), plus one of Spanish comedy’s rising stars, Belen Cuesta (“Kiki: Love to Love’s”).

 

“This film is so full of energy and joy that I’m sure buyers will love it,” said Canales.

 

“’Holy Camp!’ is unique, a musical based on a successful play, and will move young audiences eager to watch such a fun and feel-good film,” he added.

 

Producer Lopez Lavigne called “Holy Camp!” “a comedy, drama, rites of passage and woman’s film, a generational musical and sung movie,” citing as references the “corrosive hedonistic films of a young Almodovar at his most pop art and the independent American musicals of John Waters and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

 

Created and directed by Calvo and Ambrossi, “La llamada” started in 2013 as a small underground musical play in Madrid. Praised by critics and spectators -more than 150,000 to date-, it has become one of the most relevant events on Spain’s theater scene in recent years, also being performed in further territories such as Mexico, Argentina and Russia.

 

Originally pubished at Variety.com by John Hopewell

SKINS at Berlinale
Feb 2, 2017

We are proud to announce that

 

SKINS 

has been selected at

67th BERLINALE at PANORAMA

 

Eduardo Casanova's impressive debut produced by Alex de la Iglesia, boasts stunning art direction and a romping story that breaks taboos. The impeccable sensitivity shown by Casanova in this controversial and outlandish reflection on rejection and denial is sure to distinguish the director as a remarkable breakthrough auteur with a unique trademark.

 

 

Black Comedy / Spain / 2017 / Spanish / 78 min.

 

An outlandish story about physically different people struggling to survive in a society that excludes them.


THE BAR at BERLINALE
Jan 11, 2017

We are proud to announce that

 

THE BAR 

has been selected at

67th BERLINALE at the Official Selection - Out of Competition. 

 

THE BAR is a disturbing, claustrophobic and frenetic thriller with the visual power that comes with an Álex de la Iglesia film. This renowned genre director took inspiration from Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 and Buñuel’s Exterminating Angel, and sprinkled it with his own particular brand of black humor.

 

Thriller, Black comedy / Spain / 2017 / Spanish / 105 min


It’s life as usual at the bar until one customer exits and is shot in the middle of the street. Another customer goes out to help but is shot down as well. Amid the confusion, the people still inside discover that someone has removed the bodies from the street without them noticing. Speculation runs wild until one idea takes hold: What if the danger is inside? And what if the gunshots are to keep them from exiting the locale and putting those outside in danger?


GOYA AWARDS NOMINATIONS
Dec 16, 2016

Film Factory at the Spanish Academy’s Goya Awards® with 33 nominations

 

 

THE FURY OF A PATIENT MAN - 11 Nominations

Best Picture

Best Breakthrough Director for Raúl Arévalo

Best Original Screenplay

Best Actor for Antonio de la Torre

Best Actor for Luis Callejo

Best Supporting Actor for Manolo Solo

Best Breakthrough Actress for Ruth Díaz

Best Breakthrough Actor for Raúl Jiménez

Best Cinematography

Best Editing

Best Costume Design

 

 

SMOKE & MIRRORS - 11 Nominations

Best Picture

Best Director for Alberto Rodríguez

Best Adapted Screenplay

Best Actor for Eduard Fernández

Best Breakthrough Actor for Carlos Santos

Best Score

Best Line Production

Best Editing

Best Art Direction

Best Make-up and Hairstyling

Best Sound Design

 

 

1898 OUR LAST MEN IN THE PHILIPPINES - 9 Nominations

Best Breakthrough Director for Salvador Calvo

Best Breakthrough Actor for Ricardo Gómez

Best Line Production

Best Cinematography

Best Art Direction

Best Costume Design

Best Make-up and Hairstyling

Best Sound Design

Best Visual Effects

 

 

TO STEAL FROM A THIEF - 2 Nominations

Best Original Screenplay

Best Breakthrough Actor for Rodrigo de la Serna



WOODPECKERS at SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
Dec 15, 2016

We are proud to announce that

 

WOODPECKERS

has been selected at

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2017 

at the World Dramatic section.

 

José María Cabral’s WOODPECKERS, the first Dominican movie ever at Sundance, is an immensely accessible prison love story shot in real locations with a cast that brilliantly mixes actors with real inmates. This is bound to be one of the surprise arthouse hits of the year.

 

Romantic drama / Dominican Republic / 2017 / Spanish / 105 min. 

 

Julián finds love and something to live for in the last place imaginable: prison. Risking brutal punishment, Julián communicates with Yanelly from his prison yard to hers when he is hired by her ex-husband to act as a messenger. Through their own invented sign language that they call "woodpecking", Julián and Yanelly fall silently and inevitably in love and decide to fight against all odds for their secret and forbidden romance.

 


AFM: Christian Slater Joins Cast of Santiago Mitre's 'The Summit' (EXCLUSIVE)
Nov 3, 2016

 

Ricardo Darin-starrer wrapped shoot on Oct.31

 

Christian Slater, a Golden Globe best actor winner this year for “Mr. Robot,” joined the cast last week of Santiago Mitre’s Ricardo Darin-starrer “The Summit,” a title which is shaping up as one of the biggest and most-anticipated Latin American productions of the year.

 

In early dealings on the film, Warner Bros. Pictures acquired rights to Latin America and Spain. Prestigious French indie Memento Films also boarded as a co-producer and French distributor.

 

Arriving on the set of “The Summit” in Buenos Aires last week during the last days of its shoot, Slater has a small but incisive role in “The Summit” where he plays a U.S. government official.

 

Lead-produced by Buenos Aires-based K & S, and sold at the American Film Market by Film Factory, “The Summit” wrapped production this Monday.

 

K & S, Film Factory and Argentine TV network Telefe – also on board “The Summit” – previously teamed on Damian Szifron’s “Wild Tales” and Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan,” two of the highest profile Latin American movies of 2014 and 2015, “Wild Tales”grossing $42.7 million worldwide.

 

Directed by Cannes’ 2015 Critics’ Week winner Santiago Mitre, (“Paulina”), like these titles, “The Summit” marks a big step-up in budget, ambition, cast and producer-backing for its director.

 

Described as a political thriller about a man confronting his inner demons, “The Summit” stars Darin as the president of Argentina who finds himself trapped between politics and his personal life at an international summit high up in the Andes, set to discuss regional strategies and geopolitical alliances.

 

At the summit, he lives a political and family drama that leads him to confront his darkest side, and must make two decisions that could change the course of his life: a difficult emotional situation involving his daughter; the most important political decision of his entire career, according to the film’s synopsis.

 

“The Summit” “tells the story of a president who must make a tremendous decision: protect his power or stand by his family and his principles. Can he manage to do both?” commented producer Hugo Sigman at K & S.

 

“La cordillera” also stars Dolores Fonzi (“Truman,” “Paulina”), Erica Rivas (the bride of “Wild Tales”), Elena Anaya (“The Skin I Live In”) and Argentina’s Gerardo Romano (“La fuga”). From Chile, Berlin best actress winner Paulina Garcia (“Gloria”) and frequent Pablo Larrain male lead Alfredo Castro, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, a five-time Mexican Academy Ariel Award winner and Brazil’s Leonardo Franco also have prominent roles. Three-times Oscar-nominated Alberto Iglesias is composing the score.

 

Beyond K & S, “The Summit” is produced by La Union de los Rios, the lead-producer on “Paulina” and Mitre’s debut “The Student,” Spain’s MOD Producciones, producer of Alejandro Amenabar’s movies and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Biutiful,” and France’s Maneki Films (“White Elephant,” “Paulina”). Telefe, Arte France Cinema and Memento Film Productions co-produce.

 

Movie’s eight-week shoot, which saw Mitre working with a crew of over 100 specialist technicians, took in locations in Buenos Aires and Argentina’s Bariloche, Santiago de Chile and Chilean ski-resort Valle Nevado. Few Latin American directors reach such heights.

 

Originally published at variety.com by John Hopewell and Elsa Keslassy

 

 

THE RECONQUEST at Cinespaña Toulouse
Oct 17, 2016

We are proud to announce that

 

THE RECONQUEST has wone

 

Violette d'Or for Best Film

Best Director 

Special Mention to Best Actress (Aura Garrido)

 

at the Festival du Cinéma Espagnol de Toulouse (CINESPAÑA)

 

Eduard Fernández SILVER SHELL for SMOKE & MIRRORS
Sep 26, 2016

We are proud to announce that

 

Eduard Fernández has won the SILVER SHELL for Best Actor at the 64th San Sebastian Film Festival for Alberto Rodríguez's SMOKE & MIRRORS

Toronto: Warner Bros., Memento Board Santiago Mitre's Ricardo Darin-Starrer 'The Summit' (EXCLUSIVE)
Sep 9, 2016

WB takes Latin America, Spain, Memento France on Santiago Mitre’s political thriller, which went into production on Monday

 

Warner Bros. Pictures has acquired distribution rights to Latin America and Spain on Ricardo Darinstarrer “La Cordillera” (The Summit), produced by Argentina’s K & S, which also backed “Wild Tales” and Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan.” France’s Memento Films has boarded “The Summit” as its French distributor.

 

Directed by Cannes’ 2015 Critics’ Week winner Santiago Mitre (“Paulina”), “The Summit” —  which its sales agent Film Factory Entertainment will talk up to distributors at Toronto — now boasts one of the strongest backing of any Latin American movie going into production this year.

 

Described as a political thriller about a man confronting his inner demons, “The Summit” stars Darin as the president of Argentina. At a three-day summit, his darkest past threatens to catch up with him, forcing him to choose between his career and family.

 

Returning to Mitre’s central theme — the personal price of political commitment — but a step-up in scale in budget, locations and cast, “The Summit” also stars Dolores Fonzi (“Truman”), Erica Rivas (the bride of “Wild Tales”) and Elena Anaya (“The Skin I Live In”). Key cast takes in, moreover, Argentina’s Gerardo Romano (“La fuga”), Chile’s Berlin best actress winner Paulina Garcia (“Gloria”) and frequent Pablo Larrain male lead Alfredo Castro, and Daniel Gimenez Cacho, a five-time Mexican Academy Ariel Award winner. Three-times Oscar-nominated Alberto Iglesias is composing the score.

 

Joining K & S on “The Summit” production is La Union de los Rios, the producer on “Paulina” and Mitre’s debut “The Student,” Spain’s MOD Producciones, producer of Alejandro Amenabar’s movies and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Biutiful,” and France’s Maneki Films (“White Elephant,” “Paulina”) whose head, Didar Domehri, the main French producer, negotiated the deal with Memento.

 

In further big player involvement, Telefonica’s Movistar Plus and Telefe, Argentina’s biggest TV network, co-produce with Memento.

 

“We are delighted to be teaming up again with K&S Films and also MOD Producciones on ‘The Summit,’” said Monique Esclavissat, EVP, international productions/acquisitions & Latin American distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures Intl.

 

She added: “It’s great to be on board so early in the journey and, with such talented cast and crew coming together, we have very high hopes for this ambitious and exciting project.”

 

Initiating principal photography Sept. 5, “The Summit” shot its first scenes in La Casa Rosada, Argentina’s equivalent of the White House.

 

Originally published at Variety.com by John Hopewell.  

Venice Film Review: 'The Fury of a Patient Man'
Sep 6, 2016

The road to hell is paved with bad intentions in Spanish actor Raul Arévalo's auspicious, uncompromising genre-inflected debut.

 

A jolting opening segues into a scattered, slightly confusing beginning, but Spanish actor-turned-director Raúl Arévalo quickly brings his deeply impressive debut under control, reining in the narrative with a hand that betrays almost none of a neophyte’s unsteadiness. It’s a taut little story of devolving nastiness, uncompromising in its relentless, western-influenced linearity, and yet Arévalo still finds time for the most elusive attribute in the familiar territory of the lean revenge thriller: surprise. The bait-and-switch structure, by which the hesitant, complicated, real-world romance of the first half is revealed to have much darker and knottier import in the second, makes the film, which Arévalo co-wrote with David Pulido, a singular dish, best served cold.

 

The prologue, which seems oddly unrelated in both form and content to the rest of the film but makes sense down the road, is a cleverly bruising piece of action cinema, as getaway driver Curro (Lui?s Callejo) waits in jittery anxiety outside the jewelry store his cohorts are robbing. Something goes wrong, the masked men come helter-skelter out of the store, but before they can reach Curro, sirens sound out. Curro flings the car into gear and speeds off in panic, before crashing a few moments later and being apprehended by the police — all of which is captured in a bravura unbroken shot that somersaults with the crashing car. DP Arnau Valls Colomer seems equally at home with this handheld, extreme POV camerawork, and with the more considered, carefully composed framing in which the rest of the film unfolds.

 

Some years later, Curro’s wife Ana (Ruth Diaz) has become accustomed to Curro’s incarceration, and barring the odd conjugal visit, lives a simple, hardworking life running a café with her brother Juanjo (Raúl Jiménez). A quiet, well-groomed man, Jose (Antonio de la Torre) begins to spend a lot of time there, despite being a social grade or two above the neighborhood, and not from around those parts. The outgoing Juanjo befriends Jose, whose sidelong glances at Ana suggest the real reason he so frequently patronizes this unlovely spot. It takes time, but a tentative relationship begins between them, and the harried, prickly, practical Ana seems to soften and bloom as a result. But alone at night Jose obsesses over a few minutes of CCTV footage depicting jewelry store robbery.

 

Arévalo tips his hand early that all is not as it seems, but despite that, and a lot because of the superbly controlled playing from de la Torre, who invests Jose’s silences with a kind of steadfast sincerity that completely shields his real motives, we still believe in Ana and Jose’s relationship. But then the volatile and possessive Curro is released from prison, and the film ramps into its second half, which becomes part road movie and part psychological thriller, in which the two men serve as antagonists but also traveling companions — a kind of buddy dynamic, only nobody is friends here. Even so, it seems possible that we’re going to follow either or both on their path to redemption, but when the first bloody and graphic killing occurs, we understand that Arévalo’s fascination is with the very opposite: This is the tale of man deeply involved in his own premeditated damnation.

 

Arévalo, at just 36, is a 16-year veteran as an actor. However, his ambition has reportedly always been to direct, and he claims to have spent much of his time on set studying the craft intently — patiently, one might say. Perhaps that’s the reason “Fury” so elegantly avoids so many of the pitfalls of first-time actor-directors: Good as de la Torre is, Arévalo is not interested in building a film that is a temple to a single performance, or even several. Instead, he is totally committed to the mechanics of the story, showing a remarkable grasp of tone across the film’s relatively disparate halves (it’s also divided into four chapters, each favoring a slightly different point of view), and creating a real sense of peril that arises from the beautifully underplayed ambivalence of the characters.

 

In all, it makes the film a package that hits a highly exportable sweet spot between hard-bitten genre and foreign arthouse fare. It is also, in the studied contrast between Curro and Jose, an incisive portrait of corrugated masculinity and the extremely different ways it can manifest in a society still underscored with elements of machismo. Curro is violent, felonious, loud, and blue-collar where Jose is polite, cultured, and quiet. “The Fury of a Patient Man” reminds us all, in darkly dazzling form, that it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for.

 
 Originally published at Variety.com by Jessica Kiang.

'The Blind Christ': Venice Review
Sep 5, 2016

Working largely with non-professional actors from Chile’s poor northern desert regions, local director Christopher Murray crafts a slow-paced but absorbing fable about a young mechanic who believes he has, possibly, been chosen by God to perform miracles. That little seed of self-doubt grounds and humanises this Latin American spin on a theme explored in films from Ordet to Whistle Down the Wind: like its protagonist and the arid, mining-ravaged landscapes he walks through, Murray’s second feature is suspended between exaltation and bathos, savage beauty and disillusionment.

 

The Blind Christ is as much a Chilean road movie as an alternative religious fable, and this double nature is cleverly exploited by a story that gradually gains depth and traction as Christ figure Michael – played with quiet intensity by the film’s only professional actor, Michael Silva – embarks on a long journey through a mineral, dust-choked land to find a childhood friend who is now ill and crippled, and – possibly – heal him.

 

DoP Inti Briones’ warm, painterly camerawork and a moody, swarming tonal soundtrack by cellist and composer Alexander Zekke help to seal a confidently-directed package that has good arthouse potential.

 

When Michael was still a boy, he asked his best friend Mauricio ‘Mauri’ Pinto to nail one of his hands to a tree (we wince, despite the tasteful camera angle and edit). Later, God spoke to him from a fire. Now all grown up, with the thin, haunted appearance of many false or true messiahs, Michael repairs bicycles and other bits of machinery in a roadside workshop; he’s derided as ‘the prophet’ by most of the people in his town, and his depressed, widowed father wants nothing to do with his son’s self-imposed cross.

 

Michael yearns for a bigger challenge, one that will reveal whether his God-given faith stretches beyond mending bike punctures – and it promptly comes when he hears that Mauri, who left to work in the mines of the Tarapacá region years before, is in a bad way.

 

So begins a walk through the wilderness that stays just on the healthy, leeward side of symbolic solemnity. When Michael is tied to a pole in a village he passes through for disrespecting a much-venerated statue of Saint Lawrence, there’s no New Testament flagellation; in fact he’s released by a sympathetic villager. In a beautifully shot sequence he helps her wash her ageing mother.

 

There’s a Mary Magdalen figure – the abused mother of a soccer-mad boy who tags along with Michael on his barefoot trek across the dusty landscape. “Are you a mechanic or a priest?” she asks just before he lays expert hands on the engine of a long-defunct car in her backyard, and it springs to life. That evening, he allows himself to be seduced, just as later, he allows himself to be talked into administering the sacrament of baptism, in a Tarapacá version of the River Jordan , for an Indos congregation whose priest has abandoned them.

 

What The Blind Christ seems to be circling around is the intuition that miracles are created as much, if not more, by those pure, simple souls that believe in them as they are by those that perform them – leaving Michael, who is neither zealot not charlatan, feeling hemmed in by his growing word-of-mouth fame, pressured to do something remarkable.

 

There’s a good deal of pathos and humour in the way this intuition is played out – for example in the parables with which Michael regales those he meets along the way. They never seem quite fit for purpose, and as often as not leave their listeners baffled. Yet the genuine performances Murray coaxes out of his first-time actors, who seem at times to be enacting or recounting their own difficult lives, prevent this delicate, more human than divine film from going too far down this road, and falling into the trap of auterish irony and knowingness.

 

Production companies: Jirafa

International sales: Film Factory Entertainment,info@filmfactory.es

Producers: Augusto Matte, Thierry Lenouvel

Executive producers: Bruno Bettati, Pedro Fontaine, Florencia Larrea, Joaquin Echeverria

Cinematography: Inti Briones

Editor: Andrea Chignoli

Production designer: Angela Torti

Music: Alexander Zekke

Main cast: Michael Silva, Bastián Inostroza, Ana María Henríquez, Mauricio Pinto,?Pedro Godoy, Hermelinda Cayo, Héctor Mella, Gonzalo Villalobos, Noelia Rubio

 

Originially published at ScreenDaily.com by Lee Marshall.


'The Fury of a Patient Man' ('Tarde Para la Ira'): Venice Review
Sep 2, 2016

Spanish actor Raul Arevalo makes his feature debut with this gritty score-settling thriller, playing at Venice and Toronto.

 

Every so often, Spanish cinema throws up a grungy, beautifully compact thriller that is indeed authentically Spanish, rather than an imitation of U.S. models. Examples are Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo's The Night of the Sunflowers and Patxi Amezcua's 25 Carat; more recently, there's the work of Alberto Rodriguez. To this august but undervalued pantheon can now be added Raul Arevalo's The Fury of a Patient Man, a broodingly intense revenge thriller that reflects the fine, broodingly intense performance driving it relentlessly forward.

 

Wisely choosing a familiar milieu for his first film — it's set largely in a working-class barrio of Madrid, returning to Arevalo's childhood pueblo for later scenes -- Patient Man is a candidate for Spain's best thriller of the year, its mounting tension sometimes so visceral as to ensure that it will not quickly be forgotten. Offshore pickups beyond Spanish-speaking territories look likely, and would be deserved.

 

From the first frames, Jose (Antonio de la Torre) is clearly a man with a mission. He walks head down, urgently, as though late for a very important date, and it's the terrible nature of that date that concerns us here. After showing up at the barrio bar run by Juanjo (Raul Jimenez), Jose, crucially for what comes later, is able to maneuver himself into the affections of Juanjo's sister Ana (Ruth Diaz), whose husband, the violent Curro (Luis Callejo), is about to be released from jail after serving time for a jewelry store robbery. Through the early scenes, it's unclear to both the other characters and the viewer who Jose is, and in this regard, the English title perhaps gives away too much.

 

Everything is explained as Jose impassively studies flickering surveillance images of the robbery, in which a female sales clerk is brutally beaten to death. She was Jose's lover; now he's back, eight years later, to track down her killers. Under the guise of getting Ana away from Curro's domestic abuse — initially, old Curro's a pretty charmless combination of violence and neediness — Jose takes her out to a remote house he owns. The "patient man" then leaves her there while he sets out to enact his explosive revenge, taking along Curro, who worries about what will become of Ana if he doesn't comply.

 

Jose tells Curro he's responsible for the death of his girlfriend, and Curro beats him up. But when Jose then reveals that he's actually holding his Ana, everything changes and the two enter a strange, largely wordless relationship. This scene is typical of the script's combination of tension, violence and psychological acuity, where the action slows and the camera hones in, Western-like, on Jose's chillingly focused eyes. The scene in which eight years of simmering hurt finally boil over is incendiary cinema, underpinned by thudding, rising percussion work, part of a score that's otherwise discreet and downplayed.

 

This is a film about different forms of anger. Indeed practically all the male characters seem angry about something, turning the film from the gripping suspense thriller it is into a study of Spanish machismo in its most dangerous form. Indeed, one key scene is set in a boxing gym, a place of sweat and suffering that comes across as a metaphor for the world Arevalo is portraying.

 

Patient Man is so full of such hard-worked scenes of sweaty intensity, and indeed of real physical and emotional pain, that is feels churlish to pick up on its flaws. Its bleakness, for example, sometimes spills over into the borderline sadistic, particularly in the repeated focus on children, in setups that ensure Jose will do the maximum possible damage. The handling of the time frame across the final half-hour is also questionable, as the action cuts between Madrid, the pueblo and the road.

 

The dialogue is mostly banal: it's what is simmering beneath that counts. In roles written specifically for them, de la Torre and Callejo do superb work embodying all the anger: the unfailingly good de la Torre delivers a similar turn to his role in Manuel Martin Cuenca's much-lauded Cannibal — an impassive, almost dapper exterior, complete with trimmed beard (importantly, he's from a different world to the other characters), concealing a calculating mind that's always one step ahead of his targets and of the audience. Only once does Jose reveal any emotion, and when he does, his face is cleverly not visible. Then again, it's crucial that the viewer believes Jose is not a bad man, but rather a man who's decided to be bad, and de la Torre handles that particular nuance with great skill.

 

Callejo, an underrated and under-employed actor in Spain, is the other half of this twisted double-act. Curro isn't smart; all he can offer is physical violence, but the fact that he stays with Jose through their apocalyptic hours together reveals a vulnerability that deepens him. Other performances are up to the mark, with Manolo Solo in particular doing a memorably high-voiced turn as the drug-fueled criminal Santi. Watching Solo, Callejo and de la Torre bounce off one another in their single scene together is a pleasure, albeit a toe-curling one.

 

Through the first part, the film is set in a vibrant working-class barrio in the outskirts of Madrid, dominated by fiestas, bars and First Communions but also by shadowy, claustrophobic apartments where people dream bad dreams. All of this Arevalo knows well, rendering it with an eye to accuracy. Shooting in 16mm, cinematographer Arnau Valls Colomer uses busy, urgent hand-held camera to provide both that documentary feel and, helped by skillful, quick-fire editing, the air of borderline hysteria that underlies many of the characters' exchanges.

 

Once Jose's revenge machinery has ground into motion, the twists and turns of the plot already planned out in advance by him over eight years, we move into the prairie-like expanses, wide skies and run-down pueblos of Segovia in Central Spain, for a finale that suggests Arevalo has been studying his John Ford. But even such straining for iconic images cannot detract from the main virtue of Patient Man’s terrible tale: that it's deeply rooted in real people and real places.

 

By Jonathan Holland

 

Originally published on http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/fury-a-patient-man-venice-923588

Venice buzz title: Christopher Murray on 'The Blind Christ', this year's
Aug 31, 2016

Described by Alberto Barbera as Pasolini-esque, competition title The Blind Christ is generating heat.

 

Venice Film Festival artistic director Alberto Barbera says that Christopher Murray will be the ‘discovery of the festival.’

 

Murray’s latest work, The Blind Christ, is set in northern Chile, the country’s most religious area, where corporations have exploited precious mineral resources.Neruda actor Michael Silva stars alongside a cast of non-professional actors.

 

Michael (Silva) believes he has experienced a divine revelation in the desert, but is taken for the village fool by all he tells. When he hears about an accident involving a childhood friend, Michael ventures on a barefoot pilgrimage through the Chilean desert.

 

Murray, who was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1985, previously co-directed Manuel de Ribera alongside Pablo Carrera. The film premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2010.

 

Murray is also the co-founder of the documentary project ‘Film Map of a Country’, which had its international premiere at the 2012 IDFA Festival. Murray was also General Director of the multi-award winning collective documentary Propaganda. The Blind Christ is his first feature film as sole director.

 

Why were you interested in making a film about a Christ-like figure?

Really, I am interested in how religion or spirituality or faith is a way for people to give sense to their reality.  The film is about the construction of this religious myth, in the figure of the Christ - this Chilean Christ - that makes this journey through the desert, and how this journey into faith resounds in the people of North Chile.

 

It is an area that has been exploited by mining companies. How have these mining companies affected the characters in your film?

Let me be clear, the film is not about these mining companies, it’s about the atmosphere of development in Chile. The economic development doesn’t help the reality of these people and there are a lot of poor people who are suffering. The idea of the film is to journey to this part. The mining companies are just the general context hiding in the body of the film. But the main part of the film is about the relationships between Michael, the character, and the real people used in the film. So more then an explicit political statement, it’s more about how this impacts in daily life in the private spaces and in the belief of the people.

 

Apart from Michael Silva, you mostly use non-professional actors, people that have been directly affected by the changes in northern Chile. How did you mix fact with fiction?

The film is a fiction that it is like a parable, it’s in the language of the parable, it doesn’t try to be realistic. The main thing is that all the people who participated in the film are invited onto the film to create a character based on their own experiences, on their own lives. It’s in their own language.

 

How did you get to know these stories?

The way we worked was to spend 2 years there, in the fields, knocking on doors, collecting their experiences. There was a whole project of having a creative space and allowing these people to participate in the rewriting of the script, designing the characters in it, working on this dialogue and the places. Yes, in a way the film is a fiction, but it’s working together with the people to create a real natural environment in this story.

 

Was it more difficult to direct the non-professional actors than your work with Michael Silva?

No. It was an incredible experience. I’m convinced that when people have had a very strong story in their life that they are very confident people, They can communicate, they can create and it was amazing. I was completely surprised by how good and how natural and how strong the performances are of the real community, of the real characters that appear in the film.

 

Was there any directors or other films that inspired you in the making of this film?

Yes, I think of directors like Glauber Rocha, the Brazilian filmmaker for example,  he also introduces political concepts in a really unique language of film. All the films of Pedro Costa, the Portuguese filmmaker. From the film canon, filmmakers, like Robert Bresson. I think they are an inspiration in the way they build a language to try and get inside reality, not in a common way, not in any explicit way, but by creating a language to get inside the real realities.

 

What budget did you have for this film?

I don’t have a specific budget, to be honest. The film is produced by Jirafa [headed by Bruno Bettati] and also Cinesud, so the film is a Chile /France coproduction. We received funds from Chilean Fondo de Fomento Audio (audio promotion fund) and the Cannes Cinefoundation.

 

How do you feel about Mr. Barbera predicting that your film will be the ‘discovery’ of the festival?

To me I really feel grateful. For me it’s important to share the film, for me that’s the most important thing, not just the idea of being at the Venice Film Festival but to share our film. That is why films are made. And it’s great to be in competition alongside all these filmmakers that I really admire.

 

Chilean cinema has had a lot of success recently? Where do you see yourself as part of the Chilean film community?

The national Cinema in Chile has a lot of new voices: a lot of voices that are completely different, one from the other, there is not a national cinema language, it is a period of trying to make new films to experiment, and to have different voices. I feel very enthusiastic about things in Chilean cinema and I think it’s important to continue working so that this is not something that is temporary but there is something that is strong and structural to make Chilean Cinema really part of the world cinema. I think it is happening because of the efforts of all the actors in the little Chilean cinema world. 

 

Originally published at ScreenDaily.com by Kaleem Aftab


FILM FACTORY at the 64th SAN SEBASTIAN FILM FESTIVAL
Aug 26, 2016

We are proud to announce FILM FACTORY's line up at the 64th San Sebastian Film Festival

 

OFFICIAL COMPETITION

 

SMOKE & MIRRORS - Spain / 120 min.

Ex-secret agent Paesa receives a visit from Luis Roldan, the powerful former Commissioner of Police who offers him one million dollars to help him safeguard twelve million dollars that were embezzled from the budget he used to control.

 


THE RECONQUEST - Spain / 108 min. 

Manuela and Olmo meet up one night for a drink, in a future that they had promised one another fifteen years ago when they were teenagers experiencing their first love.

 

 

 

 

HORIZONTES LATINOS

 

THE BLIND CHRIST - Chile / 88 min

A society in decline, on the razor’s edge of poverty, sees Michael as a savior capable of alleviating the desperation of its people.


MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING - Chile / 100 min

After a night of partying, Vicente is involved in a hit-and-run that leaves a man dead. As high as his friends were, Vicente swears he's innocent. But a tangled web of lies buries the truth, making a would-be social scandal disappear and exonerating the son of a powerful politician who Vicente says was behind the wheel.

 

 

 


MADE IN SPAIN

 

ZIP & ZAP AND THE CAPTAIN'S ISLAND - Spain / 105 min.

Lost on a distant island where nothing is what it seems, Zip & Zap will have to uncover a terrifying mystery.

 

TORO - Spain / 100 min

Toro, López and Antonio are brothers who used to work for the dangerous gangster Romano. After a robbery gone bad, Antonio died, Toro went to prison and López vanished. Five years later, Toro is out of jail and he wants nothing to do with his old life. But when López shows up with his eleven-year old daughter Diana, he is once again forced onto center stage: his brother López owes Romano a lot of money and he needs Toro's help. Turned into a little family on the run, Toro, López and Diana head out on a frantic, violent and wild escape from Romano’s gang until the moment they decide to stop and face their enemies. And to kill them all.


TO STEAL FROM A THIEF - Spain / 100 min

A rainy morning. Six armed men attack a bank in Valencia. What had to be an easy, cut-and-dry heist quickly turns wrong and nothing ends up as planned. Mistrust leads to harsh confrontations between the two leaders of the gang. But… what exactly are the assailants looking for?


PALM TREES IN THE SNOW - Spain / 162 min

In the heart of the African island of Fernando Poo -a land as lush and seductive as it is dangerous- Clarence unearths the secret of a forbidden love story amid turbulent historical circumstances whose outcome will have repercussions in her present-day life.

 


Film Factory Acquires Jonas Trueba's `The Reconquest' (EXCLUSIVE)
Aug 25, 2016

Jonas Trueba’s fourth feature world premieres in competition at San Sebastian

 

MADRID — In the run-up to September’s Toronto and San Sebastian festivals, Barcelona-basedFilm Factory has acquired world sales right to “La Reconquista” (“The Reconquest”), a nostalgia-laced love story marking the fourth feature from Jonas Trueba, one of the leading lights of Spain’s newest generation of filmmakers.

 

Film Factory will introduce “The Reconquest” to buyers at the Toronto gathering before it world-premieres in competition Sept. 22 at San Sebastian, the highest-profile film event in the Spanish-speaking world.

 

That San Sebastian competition berth and now pick-up from one of the Spanish-speaking world’s biggest sales agents gives the maximum exposure to date to Trueba, who has maintained a consistent output since 2010 despite a post-recession industrial context in which new talent, especially, has had to look for alternative financing and distribution channels.

 

Trueba’s fourth feature in six years, “The Reconquest” returns to a theme explored in three previous dramedies: the not-so-young looking to gain (2013’s “The Wishful Thinkers”), retain (2015’s “The Romantic Exiles”) or regain (“Every Song Is About Me”) a sense of fulfillment through love.  The film’s whimsical ironies, cultural references and stubbornly romantic male protagonists give the films a distinctly French feel. Road movie “The Romantic Exiles” was indeed shot and set in France.

 

In “The Reconquest,” which shuttles between past and present, Manuela and Olmo meet up one day for a drink after years of not having seen each other. Then she gives him a letter that he wrote to her when they were high-school sweethearts.

 

“Over one night on the town in Madrid, to the heart of music and cocktails, Manuela and Olmo will reunite in a future they promised one another 15 years ago when they were teenagers experiencing first love,” the official synopsis reads.

 

The new film, like Trueba’s first three, was produced by Javier Lafuente, based out of Los Ilusos Films. Itsaso Arana (“Las altas presiones”), Francesco Carril (“The Wishful Thinkers,” “The Romantic Exiles”) and Aura Garrido (“Stockholm,” “The Ministry of Time” ) star. CineBinario, an indie distribution house with a strong line in younger French directors, handles Spanish theatrical distribution, bowing “The Reconquest” in Spain on Sept. 30.

 

Trueba has said that the film is based “on the feeling caused by this strange familiarity when you reunite with someone who once meant everything to you and suddenly you are tossed into some kind of time vertigo.”

 

“The Reconquest” is “a delicate and elegant love story suitable for educated audiences all over the world,” said Film Factory founder Vicente Canales.

 

Originally published at Variety.com by John Hopewell. 

 

 

THE FURY OF A PATIENT MAN selected at TIFF Discovery
Aug 24, 2016

We are proud to announce that

 

THE FURY OF A PATIENT MAN

has been selected at

TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (TIFF 2016)

at the Discovery section.

 

Actor Raúl Arévalo (Marshland) makes an impressive directing debut with THE FURY OF A PATIENT MAN, a hard-edged revenge thriller that tells a surprising and cruel story through fabulous photography and an original mise-en-scene. Starring Antonio de la Torre (Marshland, Unit 7), THE FURY OF A PATIENT MAN is sure to be one of the biggest surprises out of Spain this year.

 

Thriller / Spain / 2016 / Spanish / 91 min. 

 

After eight years in prison for burglary, Curro leaves to start a new life with his family, but comes upon someone unexpected and unknown: Jose, who will take him on a strange trip where they will face ghosts of the past and sink into the abyss of revenge.

  

 

THE BLIND CHRIST and THE FURY OF A PATIENT MAN @ Venice
Aug 1, 2016

 We are proud to announce that

 

THE BLIND CHRIST

has been selected at

 

the VENICE FILM FESTIVAL 2016 In Competition.

 

From the producers of the Sundance-winning film To Kill a Man comes THE BLIND CHRIST a delicate parable, beautifully shot in the stunning Chilean desert. This controversial story is directed by Christopher Murray (Manuel de Ribera), a front runner of the prestigious new wave in Chilean cinema.

 

Drama / Chile-France / 2016 / Spanish / 88 min. 

 

A society in decline, on the razor’s edge of poverty, sees Michael as a savior capable of alleviating the desperation of its people.

 

 

THE FURY OF A PATIENT MAN

has been selected at

 

the VENICE FILM FESTIVAL (Orizzonti)

 

Actor Raúl Arévalo (Marshland) makes an impressive directing debut with THE FURY OF A PATIENT MAN, a hard-edged revenge thriller that tells a surprising and cruel story through fabulous photography and an original mise-en-scene. Starring Antonio de la Torre (Marshland, Unit 7), THE FURY OF A PATIENT MAN is sure to be one of the biggest surprises out of Spain this year.

 

Thriller / Spain / 2016 / Spanish / 91 min. 

 

After eight years in prison for burglary, Curro leaves to start a new life with his family, but comes upon someone unexpected and unknown: Jose, who will take him on a strange trip where they will face ghosts of the past and sink into the abyss of revenge.

 

FILM FACTORY at the PLATINO AWARDS
Jul 25, 2016

We are very proud to announce three Platino Awards that went to: 

 

IXCANUL 

Best Breakthrough Director for Jayro Bustamante

Best Feature Audience Award

 

THE CLAN

Best Actor for Guillermo Francella

 

Netflix Acquires Spain's 'Skins' as It Drives Into Spanish Content
Jul 20, 2016

Eduardo Casanova’s feature debut, title is produced by Alex de la Iglesia

 

Building its increasingly impressive lineup of titles from Spain, Netflix has made an early acquisition of global rights to “Pieles” (Skins), a social-drama addition to a burgeoning new genre talent factory overseen by Spanish director-producer Alex de la Iglesia (“Perfect Crime,” “Witching & Bitching”).

 

The Netflix deal was clinched by Vicente Canales’ Film Factory.

 

“Skins” is a spinoff of Spanish actor-turned-director Eduardo Casanova’s short “Eat My S—,” about a girl who has a hyper-realistic anus for a mouth, which screened at 2016’s South by South West Fest.

 

Turning on “malformed people looking for a place in society,” “Skins,” a choral multi-story drama, also features a girl without eyes, De la Iglesia told Variety at last September’s San Sebastian Fest. It is Casanova’s feature debut.

 

The movie will enroll fellow stars of “Aida,” one of Spain’s biggest TV comedy series hits, such as Carmen Machi, Ana Polvorosa and Secun de la Rosa. Candela Peña (“Torremolinos 73”), Jon Kortajarena (“A Single Man”) and Joaquin Climent (“To Steal From a Thief”) co-star.

 

“‘Skins’ is a punk, rebel and violent riposte to the social construct, all the pressure society is subjected to,” Casanova said. 

 

De la Iglesias produces “Skins” out of his Madrid-based Pokeepsie Films, which he runs with actress Carolina Bang, in partnership with Kiko Martinez’s Nadie es Perfecto.

 

An early acquisition deal for “Skins” — rather than a co-production, as some Spanish media suggested — gives Netflix more flexibility in its financing and local release, opening the door for the movie to bow in Spanish theaters, which is required by law for access to national subsidies. Otherwise, however, it looks as if Netflix will have global exclusivity.

 

Netflix launched here in Spain last October, with a client take-up estimated at well below one million. That compares to more than 80 million in the rest of the world, including 47 million in the U.S., as of March 31.

 

When acquiring Spanish films for distribution, Hollywood studios often focus on titles that will make most of their money in the domestic market, and therefore acquire Spanish rights. But Netflix looks at a movie’s international potential.

 

De la Iglesia told Variety that “Skins” hews close to an American indie tradition, which may aid its viewership abroad. “Far from being a future project, Netflix is a current and essential bet for Spanish production,” he said.

 

But Netflix is just only beginning to ramp up its investment in local content, whether via original production orders or early acquisitions of movies and series.

 

“If you look at Netflix, by hours of content available, local [national] content in most major Western European markets typically represents between 2% to 5% of the catalogue,” said Richard Broughton of Ampere Analysis. “E.U. content represents a much larger proportion of the catalogue.”

On May 25, the European Union proposed 20% European content quotas in all E.U. territories for Netflix operation and European product-investment requirements in E.U. countries that demand them. Most European Netflix services meet a 20% European content level, according to an Ampere Analysis study.

 

Spain is one of only four territories in the 28-member E.U. that currently imposes an investment quota on national VOD services, so it may be more likely to extend that to Netflix.

 

Analysts have warned that E.U. content and investment quotas could result in higher costs and lower returns on investment. But that is almost certainly not the case for Spain. Even if a VOD investment quota were set at the same level as that for free-to-air broadcasters and pay-TV operators in Spain, at 6% of annual revenue, Netflix could probably meet that threshold at present simply through its first original series order in Spain, an untitled work from Bambu Producciones announced this March.

 

“Depending on how the quotas were structured, they could cause issues if they were applied across smaller markets without large local production sectors, they were set at broadcaster levels (i.e. 10%-12%) or higher, [and] they were based on share of programming spend rather than share of revenue,” Broughton said.

 

Originally published at Variety.com by John Hopewell. 

Sony Pictures Spain, Enrique Cerezo, TVE Pact for '1898, Our Last Men'
Jul 13, 2016

Film Factory to show early footage from adventure pic to international buyers at November's AFM

 

MADRID — Sony Pictures Spain has acquired all Spanish distribution rights to real-event-based adventure pic “1898, Our Last Men in the Philippines,” produced by Spain’s Enrique Cerezo and one of the first big modern mainstream films in modern Spain to sing the virtues of at least a reduced number of Spanish heroes, set here at a time of national defeat.

 

 

Spain’s film establishment is normally highly critical with its establishment, and its figures, born out by such local B.O. hits as swashbuckler “Alatriste,” starring Viggo Mortensen, set in a seventeenth century Madrid and an acerbic take on Spain’s loss of empire.

 

Backed by Spanish state TV network TVE and the recently-launched nationwide private channel 13TV, the film underscores once more the crucial role played by TV broadcasters in local film financing schemes.

 

Vicente Canales’ Film Factory Entertainment, the sales agent of Damian Szifron’s “Wild Tales” and Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan,” handles international sales rights to “1898,” one of the most ambitious features coming out of Spain this year.

 

According to Canales, Film Factory will show “1898’s” first footage to international buyers at November’s American Film Market. A multi-generational Spanish cast, directed by first-time helmer Salvador Calvo, is led by Luis Tosar and Javier Gutierrez, stars respectively of Spanish sales breakouts “Cell 211” and “Marshland.”

 

Karra Elejalde, star of local B.O. juggernauts “Spanish Affair” and “Spanish Affair 2,” Eduard Fernandez (“The Skin I Live In,” “Biutiful”) and Carlos Hipolito (“The Department of Time”) also topline.

 

Also in the cast are younger thesps whose fame has been forged on local primetime TV dramas such as Alvaro Cervantes (“Carlos, King Emperor”), Ricardo Gomez (“Remember When”), Patrick Criado (“Red Eagle”) and Emilio Palacios (“El Principe”), plus Miguel Herran, winner of the Goya for best breakthrough performance in “A cambio de nada.”

 

Patriotism has been relatively rare in Spanish films since the heydays of Francoist era movies which briefly exalted national virtues in the 1940s and early 1950s, when a first version of “Los ultimos de Filipinas” was filmed in 1944, to large box office success.

 

Penned by Cuban scribe Alejandro Hernandez (“Cannibal”), “1898” is a modern take on a clutch of Spanish troops’ survival of a 11-month 1898-99 siege in the Spanish-American War, which marked the final days of the last high-profile colony in Spain’s Empire.

 

Among the last fifty Spaniards in Philippines, the troops suffered all illness and deprivation, barricaded inside a church in the small village of Baler, on Luzon island and attacked by the country’s indigenous Tagalog troops.

 

Filming from May 9 in Guinea, then on locations in the Canary Islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, “1898” completed early July a nine-week shoot. Spanish d.p. Alex Catalan (“Marshland,” “A Perfect Day”) serves as cinematographer.

 

Enrique Cerezo, producer of the two most recent movies from Alex de la Iglesia, “Witching and Bitching,” “My Big Night,” heads the project, which is produced  by Cerezo’s CIPI Cinematografica and Manila Producciones.

 

“I’ve had this project in mind for years,” Cerezo said in a statement. “To produce ‘1898’ is one of the greatest satisfactions a film producer can have, and to rebuild Baler is one of the most important events in Spanish production history,” he added.

 

“There is a wide range of audiences that will enjoy this great production, regardless of their greater or lesser knowledge of this controversial episode in the history of Spain,” said Ivan Losada, managing director at Sony Pictures Spain, calling “1898” a “primarily epic title.”

 

Originally published at Variety.com by Emiliano de Pablos.

 

'Smoke & Mirrors', 'Jota', '100 Meters' Lead Madrid de Cine Dealing (EXCLUSIVE)
Jun 30, 2016

Spain’s annual export mart sees deals go down, announced on a brace of titles

 

MADRID — Alberto Rodriguez’s “Smoke & Mirrors”, Carlos Saura’s “La Jota” and Marcel Barrena’s “100 Meters” cut three of the highest-profile deals at an upbeat Spanish Screenings-Madrid de Cine, which wrapped Wednesday.

 

The three-day Spanish cinema sales market was a small event in comparison to its French and British counterparts, UniFrance’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in January and this month’s London Screenings. That said, a healthy number of deals went down, highlighting some upcoming titles which look set to hit big festivals and Spain’s box office from this late summer.

 

Based on a corruption scandal which helped oust former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez’s socialist government from power in 1996, the Film Factory-sold espionage thriller “Smoke & Mirrors” closed in Madrid with Italy’s Movies Inspired.

 

Antoine Zeind’s A-Z Films bought Canada rights at the Spanish Screenings. Warner Bros. distributes in Spain. Ad Vitam, a Paris-based distributor of breakout Academy Award winners such as “Son of Saul” and “Whiplash,” has already acquired rights for France. All four deals include commitments for the film’s theatrical release, said Film Factory’s Vicente Canales. Warner Bros. releases “Smoke & Mirrors,” one of Spain’s biggest box-office hopes for 2016, on Sept. 23.

 

Musical docu-feature “La Jota” is directed by Saura, the leading light of Spain’s 1960s’ Nuevo Cine Español, Spain’s equivalent of France’s Nouvelle Vague. It presents a score of choreographed, studio-performed songs and dances from Saura’s native Aragon in northern Spain which range from ancient pieces to contemporary avant-garde. It was sold by Latido Films to France’s Epicentre Films in another on-site Madrid de Cine sale.

 

A Paris-based distributor, Epicentre has also acquired French rights to the Latido-sold “Bosch, The Garden of Dreams,” directed by Jose Luis Lopez Linares, a docu-feature which punctures bogus explanations of Bosch’s extraordinary painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” The deal was clinched by Stephane Sorlat at the film’s French co-producer, Mondex et Cie. “Bosch” also has an offer on the table from Italy, Latido Films head Antonio Saura, the director’s son, said at the Spanish Screenings.

 

In another banner Spanish Screening deal, Barcelona-based Filmax International, the sales arm of Spain’s mini-major Filmax Group, also licensed dramedy “100 Meters” to A-Z Films in Canada.

 

A Filmax co-production with Portugal’s MGN Filmes helmed by first-timer Marcel Barrena, “100 Meters” toplines Dani Rovira and Karra Elejalde, two of the stars of local box-office juggernauts “Spanish Affair” and “Spanish Affair 2,” the tale of a Spanish athlete battling multiple sclerosis. Filmax is positioning “100 Meters” as Spain’s “The Untouchables.” Ascot Elite has already picked up rights for Germany.

 

Two decades  ago, Filmax carved out an international name for itself producing and exporting horror pics from its pioneering Fantastic Factory. As the DVD business has declined, the Barcelona-based company now sells a far more diversified slate of relationship and psychological dramas and romantic comedies. Some, such as 2015’s “Truman,” with Ricardo Darin, have broken out to bullish results abroad.

 

Gone are the days, too, when a foreign-language title could be brought to one international market and practically sell out there. Business and deal announcements at the Spanish Screenings show sales agents selling titles piecemeal over multiple market events. Some further salient deals announced in Madrid:

 

*Mexico’s Gussi has acquired all Latin American rights to Antonio Chavarrias’ historical thriller “The Chosen,” turning on a Spanish Stalinist’s extraordinary assassination of Leon Trotsky. Filmax’s Ivan Diaz said Germany and France are now under discussion.

 

*Moscow-based Russian World Vision took all Russian rights to Miguel Angel Lamata’s romantic comedy “Our Lovers,” co-starring Eduardo Noriega (“Sweetwater”) and Michelle Jenner (“Isabel”).

 

*David Castellano’s Cinema Republic closed Norwegian rights with distributor As Fidalgo on Arturo Ruiz’s Spanish Civil War-set thriller “The Exile.”

 

*Madrid-based outfit El Gato Persa is fielding offers from South Korea, Bulgaria and Brazil for the fashion world-set comedy “Paranoid Girls,” the feature debut of photographer-turned-filmmaker Pedro del Santo’s. The winner of a Special Jury Award at 2016’s WorldFest Houston, “Paranoid Girls” was acquired some months back by Somos TV for the U.S. pay-TV market in a deal struck by Los Angeles sales agent House of Film. Latter’s distributor Area 23A is now in advanced negotiations for a U.S. theatrical release, Pedro del Santo told Variety at Madrid de Cine.

 

Originally published at Variety.com by John Hopewell and Emiliano de Pablos.

 

 

'Spy Time' ('Anacleto: Agente secreto'): Film Review
Jun 28, 2016

A homebody discovers that his aging father is the James Bond of Spain.

 

A Spanish action-comedy that gets the balance just right, Javier Ruiz Caldera's Spy Time adapts a well-known comic book without getting bogged down in the series’ details. Winner of the best director award at the Seattle International Film Festival and a handful of Goya and Gaudi awards back home, it would play well to English speakers who enjoyed Michel Hazanavicius' French OSS 117 films, though this effort is less archly focused on the stylistic tropes of James Bondian mythology.

 

The hero of Manuel Vázquez Gallego's 1960s comic refers to himself as "Anacleto, Secret Agent" as frequently as 007 says "Bond, James Bond." Here, though, Anacleto (played with silver-haired panache by Imanol Arias) is not quite the star. The plot centers on his son, Adolfo (Quim Gutiérrez), an underachiever whose lack of adventurousness causes longtime girlfriend Katia (Alexandra Jimenez) to dump him.

 

Before he has processed the breakup, Adolfo is targeted by villains: He doesn't even know Dad is a superspy, but Anacleto's longtime nemesis Vasquez (Carlos Areces) has decided to kidnap the youth to torment the old man. Curiously, in the first couple of kidnapping attempts, Adolfo surprises himself with combat skills that even a lifetime of first-person-shooter gaming can't explain. (A gem of a slapstick combat scene finds him fending off an attacker with hairspray, a toilet brush and one of Katia's sex toys.)

 

Anacleto, who has always posed as a humble sausagemaker, takes Adolfo out to their farmhouse, where the truth eventually comes out and more broad, enjoyable combat ensues. (We also get funny flashbacks showing how father taught son self-defense without the latter knowing.) Eventually Adolfo and his buddy Martin (Berto Romero), who happens to be Katia's brother, must team with Anacleto to stop the not-quite-masterful evil mastermind.

 

Though acting is sharp across the board and Caldera's direction is lively, Arias tends to steal the show in a performance where tuxedo-clad dignity gets shaded with just enough self-mockery to make the film's point. Constantly coming up against government cutbacks that hobble his secret-agent division, Anacleto must do more with less — before inevitably passing the mantle, and the bowtie, down to his newly ready-for-action son.

 

Venue: Seattle International Film Festival
Production company: Zeta Cinema
Cast: Imanol Arias, Quim Gutierrez, Alexandra Jimenez, Berto Romero, Carlos Areces
Director: Javier Ruiz Caldera
Screenwriters: Pablo Alen, Breixo Corral, Fernando Navarro
Producer: Francisco Ramos
Executive producer: Jaime Ortiz de Artinano
Director of photography: Arnau Valls Colomer
Production designer: Balter Gallart
Costume designer: Cristina Rodriguez
Editor: Alberto de Toro
Composer: Javier Rodero
Casting director: Juana Martinez
Sales: Film Factory


In Spanish


Not rated, 92 minutes

 

Originally published at The Hollywood Reporter by John DeFore.

Film Factory Acquires International on Sony-Distributed 'Boy Missing' (EXCLUSIVE)
Jun 27, 2016

Suspense thriller reps latest feature from ‘The Orphanage’s’ Rodar y Rodar

 

MADRID — Sony Pictures Releasing has set an Aug. 19 release date in Spain for “Boy Missing” (“Secuestro”), the latest suspense thriller from from Barcelona-based Rodar y Rodar, producers of “The Orphanage,” “Julia’s Eyes” and “The Body,” three of Spain’s highest-profile psychological thrillers of the last decade.

 

The sales agent of “Wild Tales” and “The Clan,” Vicente Canales’ Film Factory has acquired internationals sales rights to “Boy Missing,” reflecting in a common practice in Spain, where a Hollywood studio handles domestic distribution in the country and a sales agent international sales.

 

Public broadcaster RTVE, pay TV operator Movistar Plus, regional TV network Televisio de Catalunya and cable net Cosmopolitan TV share TV rights in Spain in a strong show of local TV interest in the title.

 

Film Factory will arrange a private screening for “Boy Missing” at this week’s 10th Spanish Screenings-Madrid de Cine, an arrangement used by sales agents on top titles at national cinema film markets, whether UniFrance’s Rendez-Vous With French Cinema in January or the Spanish Screenings.

 

Directed by Rodar y Rodar co-head Mar Tarragona, “Boy Missing” is written by Oriol Paulo, scribe of “Julia’s Eyes” and writer-helmer of “The Body.” Toplining Blanca Portillo, seen in Pedro Almodovar’s “Volver,” in her first starring role, it turns on a reputable lawyer who takes the law into her own hands when her deaf son’s presumed kidnapper walks free for lack of conclusive evidence against him. Her actions, however, has unforeseen consequences and events spiral out of control.

 

“Boy Missing” is about “motherhood, the extremes to which a mother will go to protect her child and the ethical problems that can provoke,” said Targarona, adding that she had tried to make a film that was “credible, though not realist.”

 

Madrid de Cine hosts “Boy Missing’s’” first screening for buyers, said Canales describing it as a “multi-twist ‘Gone Girl’-style psychological thriller with an excellent cast.”

 

Sony Pictures Releasing will bow “Boy Missing” on 250 to 300 screens, a high mid-level opening, said Targarona.

 

Released in Spain by Warner Bros., and sold internationally by Wild Bunch, Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Orphanage” earned $7.2 million in the U.S. for Picturehouse on its way to a total $78.6 million gross worldwide, $37.7 million out of Spain, where it topped 2007 box office charts. “Julia’s Eyes” garnered $9.1 million in Spain, “The Body” which was also distributed by Sony, $8.4 million. “Julia’s Eyes” and “The Body” ranked No. 2 and No. 4 of Spanish releases for the year.

 

The 10th Spanish Screenings-Madrid de Cine unspool June 27-29 in Madrid.

 

Originally published at Variety.com by John Hopewell

 

FILM FACTORY at the PLATINO AWARDS
May 27, 2016

Film Factory at the PLATINO AWARDS with 17 nominations: 


IXCANUL - 8 nominations

Best Iberoamerican Film

Best Screenwriting for Jayro Bustamante

Best Original Music for Pascual Reyes

Best Breakthrough director for Jayro Bustamante

Best Editing for César Díaz

Best Art Directon for Pilar Peredo

Best Cinematography for Luis Armando Arteaga

Best Sound Editing for Eduardo Cáceres and Julien Cloquet

 

 

THE CLAN - 6 Nominations

Best Iberoamerican Film

Best Director for Pablo Trapero

Best Male Actor for Guillermo Francella

Best Editing for Pablo Trapero and Alejandro Carrillo Penovi

Best Art Direction for Sebastián Orgambide

Best Sound Editing for Vicente D'Elía and Leandro de Loredo

 

 

RETRIBUTION - 3 Nominations

Best Breakthrough director for Dani de la Torre

Best Editing for Jorge Coira

Best Sound Editing for David Machado, Jaime Fernández and Nacho Arenas

 

Film Factory Joins Ricardo Darin, Santiago Mitre, K & S on 'La Cordillera' (EXCLUSIVE)
May 25, 2016

La Union de los Rios, Maneki, Mod, Telefe-Telefonica Studios also back a big-canvas swing from Cannes’ 2015 Critics’ Week winner

 

CANNES — Ricardo Darin, one of Latin America’s biggest marquee draws, will play the president of Argentina in “La Cordillera,” directed by Cannes 2015 Critics’ Week winner Santiago Mitre(“Paulina”), and uniting “Paulina’s” producers with much of the production-sales team behind “Wild Tales” and “The Clan,” two Argentine B.O. milestones.

 

Vicente Canales’ Film Factory Ent. will represent world sales rights. “La Cordillera” won the Prix Arte International for the best feature film project at the Cannes Festival’s Cinefondation L’Atelier, Cannes’ development-co-production workshop, on Thursday, May 19, as its co-pro structures fell into final place over the festival.

 

Described by producer Matias Mosteirin as a big step up in scale for Mitre, “La Cordillera” is set at a three-day leaders summit in the Andes attended by Hernan Blanco, Argentina’s head of state. As regional alliances and strategies are forged, speeches, made and political intrigues, pacts and deals advanced behind closed doors, Hernán Blanco struggle with personal drama. Ultimately, he will have to choose between his closest family and political career.

 

“La Cordillera” is scheduled to go into production second semester 2016, shooting on locations in Argentina and Chile.

 

K&S Films has boarded “La Cordillera” as its lead producer. It will produce with La Unión de los Ríos, Mitre’s own label, Telefe/Telefonica Studios, and France’s Maneki Films and Spain’s Mod Producciones.

 

“Paulina” producers Agustina Llambi Campbell, Fernando Brom, and Mitre himself at La Unión de los Ríos, Didar Domehri Maneki Films and Axel Kuschevtazky at Telefe-Telefonica Studios developed the project.  K&S, Telefe-Telefonica Studios and Film Factory all teamed on “Wild Tales” and “The Clan.” Madrid and Barcelona-based Mod, headed by Fernando Bovaira and Simon de Santiago, have produced Alejandro Amenabar’s recent films as well as Alejandro G. Inarritu’s “Biutiful.”

 

Dolores Fonzi will also be feature in “La Cordillera,” after her internationally acclaimed performance in “Paulina.”

 

Exploring, as in Mitre’s debut “The Student”, the disfunctionality of contemporary politics through its potential personal cost to its practitioners, “La cordillera” is Mitre’s follow-up to “Paulina” which obtained the Nespresso Grand Prix and the FIPRESCI award at La Semaine de la Critique, where Mitre serves this year as a jury.

 

The star of Juan Jose Campanella’s Oscar-winning “The Secret of Their Eyes,” which earned $6.4 million for Sony Pictures Classics in 2010 and “Euros6.3 million ($8.25 million) for indie distrib Alta Films in Spain in 2009, Darin also toplined Damian Szifron’s Cannes hit “Wild Tales,” another Sony Pictures Classics U.S. pickup which grossed €38.9 million ($44.1 million) worldwide.

 

He is one of the only actors in Latin America who can help spark pre-sales and open a film theatrically abroad. Following a strategy developed with “Wild Tales” but seen this year at Cannes with “Neruda,” the robust international co-production structure of “La Cordillera” multiplies the producer expertise on “La Cordillera,” and gives it the budgetary muscle to allow the director to make the film he wants with the VFX, crowd scenes and stars it requires. The presence of TV network Telefe among producers guarantees “La Cordillera” a muscular marketing platform in its native Argentina.

 

Originally published at Variety.com by John Hopewell.

Film Factory Takes Four-Pic Apache Slate (EXCLUSIVE)
May 21, 2016

Deal joins two of the most prominent film forces in the Spanish-speaking world

 

Vicente Canales’ Film Factory Entertainment has sealed a four-movie output deal with Enrique Lopez Lavigne’s Apache Films.

 

Presented to buyers by Canales at Cannes, the quartet is led by “The File,” a real case-based horror movie from “(REC)” co-director Paco Plaza, and “The Singer,” a dark women’s drama from Carlos Vermut.

 

Also on the slate: “Maus,” a fantasy horror first feature from short film director Yayo Herrero (“Picnic,” “Safari”), and “The Call,” an offbeat musical comedy, the debut of actors Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi.

 

Vermut’s third feature, “The Singer,” is a tale of a world-famous singer, Lila, who loses her memory in an accident. Her number one fan, Eva, helps her to remember who she was.

 

Presented via a teaser at Cannes, “Maus” centers on a couple, Alec and Sasa, who are vacationing in Bosnia-Herzegovina when Sasa, a Muslim survivor of the Balkan Wars, senses a mysterious force pursuing them. Principal photography starts in August. Alma Terzic (“In the Land of Blood and Honey”) and Javier Botet (“The Revenant,” “(REC)”) star.

 

Inspired by a stage hit in Spain and Latin America, “The Call” toplines Macarena Garcia (“Blancanieves,” “Palm Trees in the Snow”) and one of Spanish comedies rising stars, Belen Cuesta (“Kiki: Love to Love”). Billed as a hymn to freedom and young love, it turns on two teens at a summer camp run by nuns.

 

Lopez-Lavigne is also producing “Shame,” a caustic romantic half-hour and the first premium TV series put into production at telco giant Telefonica’s Movistar Plus.

 

Originallly published at Variety.com by John Hopewell.

 

Film Factory to sell Alex de la Iglesia thriller 'The Bar'
May 12, 2016

EXCLUSIVE: Company is launching sales on Álex de la Iglesia’s thriller at Cannes.


Film Factory has picked up worldwide sales rights to Álex de la Iglesia’s prestige thriller The Bar (El Bar) and is touting to buyers on the Croisette.

 

Pokeepsie Films, Nadie Es Perfecto and Atresmedia Cine produce the film from the Spanish genre specialist, whom Film Factory managing director Vicente Canales hailed as “one of the most ground-breaking and talented directors in contemporary cinema.”

 

The action takes place at a watering hole one morning where a regular leaves the establishment and is promptly shot dead.

 

When a customer who attempts to help the dead man is also killed, the clientele hole up inside, wondering not just why the killings are occurring, but where the killer is located. De la Iglesia wrote the screenplay with Jorge Guerricaechevarri.

 

Blanca Suárez, who starred in De la Iglesia’s 2015 comedy My Big Night and Pedro Almodovar’s I’m So Excited!, leads a cast that includes de la Iglesia regulars Mario Casas, Jaime Ordóñez, Terele Pávez and Carmen Machi.

 

The Bar marks Film Factory’s third collaboration with the director after My Big Night and Witching & Bitching.

 

“Álex de la Iglesia is the one of the most ground-breaking and talented directors in contemporary cinema,” said Canales. “He is a unique creator that has successfully developed a trademark and I’m sure that international distributors will love this funny and frenetic thriller.

“It’s again my pleasure to work once again with producers Pokeepsie, Atresmedia Cine and Nadie es Perfecto.”

 

Originally published at Screen by Jeremy Kay. 

 

'To Rob a Thief': Film Review
Mar 18, 2016

The first Spanish blockbuster of 2016, Daniel Calparsoro’s well-dressed, high-energy heist thriller blends action with a timely critique of contemporary political corruption.

 

Spanish director Daniel Calparsoro has devoted himself in recent years to banging out loud and proud action thrillers, sometimes with a political angle (Invasor) and sometimes merely vacuous (Combustion). So it’s too the good that To Rob a Thief, a slickly made and played piece of work, is rooted in the contemporary Spanish reality of high-level political corruption, because that gives this highly polished product at least the veneer of depth and urgency.

 

Making all this moral filth look and feel so damn attractive and audience-friendly is questionable, but then that’s what thrillers do, and Calparsoro, in his generic, undistinctive way, does it well. But this is still intelligent, well-played, twistily scripted (by Alex de la Iglesia regular Jorge Guerricaechevarria) and well-shot fare — think a slightly less sharply dressed Inside Man.

 

Partly produced by the same team as Daniel Monzon’s international 2009 hit Cell 211, the film bears comparison with the earlier thriller in that it’s about the shenanigans of a gang of ne’er-do-wells locked up together in an alien place, fronted by an angry Luis Tosar. Thief is not as good as Cell 211, but that hasn’t prevented it from bringing Spaniards into the cinemas in droves, briefly knocking Deadpool off the box-office top spot. Sales throughout Spanish-speaking territories beyond the producing territories is likely for a thriller with a style and elegance that transcends its Spanish focus.

 

It’s raining heavily, and extremely cinematographically, in Valencia in eastern Spain on the day that hard-nosed bank director Sandra (Patricia Vico, delivering the film’s weakest performance in a cast which contains some very fine actors, though not always giving it their best) gets the call that she’s ‘on the list,' i.e. that she’s about to be fired. (The city, incidentally, has become something of a byword for corruption.)

 

In what will turn out to be a lucky break for Sandra, it’s the same morning that the gang led by El Uruguayo (Rodrigo de la Serna), a brash, seasoned heistmeister who’s satisfyingly always one step ahead of the game, and Gallego (Luis Tosar) decide to rob the bank. They wear costly looking masks which look cool but which don’t perhaps hide their features as well as they think they do (at least it’s easy for the audience to figure out who’s speaking).

 

The captives are down on the floor, the building is circled. But the gang didn’t count on the rain, and as they try to make their underground tunnel escape, they find that the water is rising quickly. Sandra, knowing she’s out of a job anyway, cuts a deal with Gallego. So far, so standard thrills, but then the neat distinction between criminals and victims breaks down and the film’s Spanish marketing tagline “Who’s robbing who?” comes into play. A safe box in the bank, belonging to a politician and containing sensitive material, is trapped in there with them, and it becomes a matter of urgency to the government’s press officer, Ferran (the normally fine Raul Arevalo, here looking out of place) to get it out, unopened. (It’s surprising that the filmmakers missed the trick, in a nod to Cell 211, of titling it Box 314.) This is just the first of the twists inThief, which pile up at an almost bewildering speed. It’s a tricky plotline, but it does basically stand up to post-viewing scrutiny.

 

Thief has all the apparatus you’d associate with a heist thriller: tunnels, ticking bombs and panels which slide over holes in the floor. But it also has more, and Guerricaechevarria’s script neatly folds in a sharp criticism of institutionalized corruption.

 

Given the antipathy that Spaniards currently hold towards both banks and the political class (which to a degree are the same thing), it’s not hard to sympathize with the thieves, who at least are not gray, serious-faced men like their antagonists. Rodrigo de la Serna seems to be having a high old time as the irrepressible, motor-mouthed Uruguayan, witty Argentinean epithets dropping from his lips and in stark dramatic contrast to the intense, buttoned-down Tosar.

 

Only Loco (Joaquin Furriel) — you wonder whose idea it was to invite such a loose cannon onto the team in the first place, and he does commit one error which might have been drawn from a straight comedy — can match their distinctiveness: it’s the Argentinians who take the acting plaudits in this largely Spanish film. Poor Jose Coronado (who starred in Box 507, a less accomplished but not dissimilar Spanish thriller) and Marian Alvarez, normally guarantees, appear to have been handed half-roles and told to do the best they can.

 

The pic's title derives from the Spanish proverb, "To rob a thief that steals from another thief brings 100 years of forgiveness." It’s perfect for the film’s frankly unpleasant vision of a society in which absolutely everyone seems to be out to get their hands on whatever they can.

 

Production companies: Vaca Films, Morena Films, Telecinco Cinema, Invasor Producciones
Cast: Luis Tosar, Raul Arevalo, Rodrigo de la Serna, Joaquin Furriel, Luciano Caceres, Patricia Vico, Marian Alvarez
Director: Daniel Calparsoro
Screenwriter: Jorge Guerricaechevarria
Producers: Juan Gordon, Emma Lustres, Borja Pena, Ghislain Barrois, Alvaro Agustín
Executive producers: Pilar Benito, Javier Ugarte, Axel Kuschevatzky, Gabriel Arias-Salgado
Director of photography: Josu Inchaustegui
Production designer: Juan Pedro de Gaspar
Costume designer: Patricia Monne
Editor: Antonio Frutos
Composer: Julio de la Rosa
Casting director: Rosa Estevez
Sales: Film Factory

Not rated, 99 minutes

 

Originally published at The Hollywood Reporter by Jonathan Holland

 


Guadalajara: Film Factory Acquires 'We Need To Talk' (EXCLUSIVE)
Mar 3, 2016

Deal comes as Spanish comedies sell, sometimes well, to Latin America, occasionally with extraordinary results

 

GUADALAJARA – Targeting Mexico and Latin America, Film Factory will talk up at Guadalajara sales on the Warner Bros.-distributed “Tenemos que hablar” (“We Need To Talk”), directed by David Serrano, (“Football Days”) and reteaming Film Factory with Warner Bros. and top Spanish production players Atipica Films and Atresmedia Cine.

 

“We Need To Talk” will be one highlight on Film Factory’s slate at the Guadalajara Film Market, where it will be based out of the European Film Promotion stand.

 

Released Feb. 26 by Warner Bros. Pictures España, “We Need To Talk” is the latest play for mainstream audiences in Spain, a romantic comedy starring Hugo Silva and Michelle Jenner. As in many breakout comedies in Spain, both made their name in TV: Silva in “When Class is Over” and Jenner in “Paco’s Men” and then “Isabel,” playing Spanish monarch Isabella I of Castile.

 

Written by Serrano and Diego San José, the co-scribe of “Spanish Affair” and “Spanish Affair 2,” the highest-grossing Spanish movies of 2014 and 2015, “Talk” punched a first weekend €570,297 ($615,920) in Spain off a high-to-middling 270 screen-run, ranking No. 5 at Spain’s Feb. 26-28 box office, per Rentrak.

 

In “We Need To Talk,” a screwball comedy set against the background of Spain’s fall out from its economic bubble, Jenner plays Nuria, a woman who has it all: A marvelous job, house and fiancée everything except divorce papers from Jorge, a one-time banker, now down-and-out, after his cavalier financial advice squandered Nuria’s parents fortune. ‘ Trouble is, Jorge is an emotional wreck, so when Nuria approaches him, she hides her fiancée, and tries to pretend that her parents, now separated, are still a happy couple, despite Jorge’s actions.

 

Film Factory sold out the world on Alberto Rodriguez “Marshland,” produced by Atípica and Atresmedia Cine and released by Warner Bros. in Spain to a final €7.7 million ($8.4 million) cume.

 

Jose Antonio Féliz produces for Atípica, Mikel Lejarza and Mercedes Gamero for Atresmedia Cine, whose recent credits include “Palm Trees in the Snow,” also sold by Film Factory, which has run up a remarkable €16.8 million ($18.1 million) to date in Spain.

 

Film Factory’s push on “We Need To Talk” at Guadalajara is no coincidence. France has dramatically disproved the industry lore that comedies don’t travel. In fact, they are France’s biggest export fare, per a UniFrance study published in January. Mainstream Spanish comedies work best in Latin America and the U.S. Latino market, though the most frequent buyers are channels such as HBO, said Film Factory founder Vicente Canales.

 

Underscoring the complexity of the international market, there are also phenomena such as Puerto Rico, where “Spanish Affair,” Spain’s all-time biggest B.O. hit, played for a year at one theater, generating revenues of $300,000, and beating many Hollywood blockbusters. “Now or Never,” also starring Dani Rovira, was No. 1 in Puerto Rico for five weeks, Canales added.

 

Originally published at Variety.com by John Hopewell.

 

 

Film Factory, Mod, Board Caetano's 'Sun' (EXCLUSIVE)
Feb 19, 2016

Leonardo Sbaraglia, Daniel Hendler star in anticipated high-profile Argentine title

 

Film Factory and Mod Producciones have both boarded film noir “Beneath the Burning Sun,” fromIsrael Adrian Caetano, one of the driving forces of the New Argentine Cinema.

 

Vicente Canales’ Film Factory, which sold hits “Wild Tales” and “The Clan,” has acquired world sales rights and will introduce “Burning Sun” to buyers at the European Film Market.

 

“Burning Sun” is lead-produced by Argentina’s Rizoma Cinema, headed by Hernan Musaluppi and Natacha Cervi, and stars Leonardo Sbaraglia (“Wild Tales”) and Daniel Hendler (“Lost Embrace”); it is being co-produced by Mod (“Biutiful”), as well as Uruguay’s Oriental Features and France’s Gloria Films.

 

Currently shooting, “Burning Sun” is set in an Argentinian town where the enforcers of the once repressive apparatus of the country’s dictatorship still go about their business, such as killing people. When his mother and brother are gunned down, Cetarti (Hendler) arrives to collect their life insurance, which involves falling in with the town’s chief, Duarte (Sbaraglia), a friend of his mother’s murderer who runs a sideline in kidnapping, and aiding their racketeering.

 

“Israel Adrian Caetano is one of the most talented international directors working today. He has a unique and universal vision,” Canales said.

 

Published at Variety.com by John Hopewell

 

Berlin: Ad Vitam Acquires France on 'Smoke and Mirrors', from 'Marshland' director Alberto Rodriguez (EXCLUSIVE)
Feb 5, 2016

Warner Bros. to distribute in Spain, Telefonica Studios board as co-producer

 

Paris-based Ad Vitam, one of Europe’s high-profile art/crossover distributors, has acquired all French rights to awaited espionage thriller “Smoke and Mirrors,” Spaniard Alberto Rodriguez’s large-scale follow-up to fest, sales and B.O. hit “Marshland”, which sold out the world.

 

Warner Bros. will distribute in Spain, with its release scheduled for this fall. Telefonica Studios, which cherry-picks the most commercially and artistically attractive of Spanish titles, has boarded as a co-producer.

 

Kicking off “Smoke and Mirrors’” international roll-out, the France deal announcement, a bellwether for other overseas territories, comes in the run-up to next week’s Berlin European Film Market where Vicente Canales’ Film Factory, “Smoke and Mirrors” sales agent, as on “Marshland,” will be unveiling exclusive footage from “Smoke and Mirrors.”

 

Specializing in accessible high-profile arthouse/crossover and indie movies such as LazloNemes’ “Son of Saul” and Deniz Gamze Erguyen’s “Mustang,” both Academy Award nominated in the foreign-language category, Ad Vitam can punch standout results on select titles, when they click. “Whiplash” and “Mud” both scored about $4.5 million in France.

 

“We are proud and thrilled to be the French partner of the new film by Alberto Rodríguez.  We believe that ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ will be one of the great films of the year,” said Gregory Gajos, Ad Vitam’s head of acquisitions.

 

Written by Rodriguez and regular co-scribe Rafael Cobos, “Smoke and Mirrors” (aka “El hombre de las mil caras”) is based on a real-life case, and a shadowy espionage figure, which both riveted Spain for years.

 

“Smoke and Mirrors” stars Eduard Fernandez (“The Skin I Live In,” “Biutiful”) as Francisco Paesa, a Madrid-born businessman, Swiss banker, arms-dealer, subterfuge maestro, playboy, gigalo, thief and secret agent, who is shopped by his own government in 1986 but still supported by his faithful friend Jesus Camoes (Coronado). Years later, ruined and separating from his wife, he is approached by Luis Roldan (Carlos Santos), a former head of Spain’s Civil Guard, with a scheme to get Roldan out of the country and safeguard two luxury properties in Paris and the Antibes and $9 million which Roldan has pilfered from public funds.

 

Paesa sets out to wreak revenge on the Spanish government and steal Roldan’s money in what the film’s producers describe as a brilliant and intricate operation worthy of the best spy stories of the Cold War. He will also, naturally, try to seduce Roldan’s wife (Marta Etura, “The Impossible”).

 

Punching powerful production pedigree for Spain, Zeta Cinema, Atresmedia Cine, Atipica Films, Sacromonte Films and Telefonica Studios produce “Smoke and Mirrors,” in association with Movistar Plus, Canal Sur and Atresmedia. Fernandez has won two Spanish Academy Goyas, Coronado and Etura on each.

 

“Smoke and Mirrors” weighs in as one of Spain’s most ambitious productions of 2015/16. “When I see the end result, I realize that all the difficulties we have had to overcome were well worth it,” said Jose Antonio Felez, co-producer and executive producer of “Smoke and Mirrors.”

 

He added: “Making a film like ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ has been a challenge: We filmed more than 200 scenes in four countries (France, Spain, Singapore and Switzerland) and in over 100 different locations.  This is a film with high international appeal as the enormous interest from distributors all over shows.  We are very happy to have Ad Vitam as our partner in one of the world’s most important territories.”

 
Originally published at: Variety.com by John Hopewell.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING @ Berlinale
Jan 22, 2016

We are proud to announce that

 

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

has been selected at

 

the BERLINALE in the "Panorama" competitve section.

 

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is the new feature from Sundance-winning director Alejandro Fernández Almendras (To Kill a Man)

 

Suspense, drama / 2016 / Chile / Spanish / 92 min

 

Vicente is a young, reckless loner who comes back to his parents’ beach house after a year studying in LA. One of those random nights of downing shots and chasing girls changes his life forever when Vicente becomes the prime suspect in a hit-and-run that kills a local fisherman. Vicente was wasted. His memories are a blur. Yes, he was in the car, but he swears he wasn’t driving. And what’s worse, the guy he remembers being behind the wheel is the son of a powerful politician. A tangled web of lies engulfs the truth, crushing out a social scandal before it can begin.

 

CAST

Augusto Silva (Nasty baby)

Alejandro Goic (The Club)

Luis Gnecco (Neruda)

 

CREW

Alejandro Fernández Almendras (To Kill a Man)

 

Atresmedia, Warner's 'Palm Trees' Dislodges 'Star Wars' from Spanish B.O. No. 1 Berth
Jan 19, 2016

Gonzalez Molina's melodrama overhauls 'Capture the Flag' as the second biggest Spanish release of 2015

 

 

Distributed by Warner Bros. Intl. Pictures Spain, Fernando Gonzalez Molina’s epic romance “Palm Trees in the Snow,” an Atresmedia Cine production, dislodged over Epiphany “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” from the No. 1 B.O. berth in Spain.

 

Vicente Canales’ Film Factory Ent. handles international sales.

 

The ambitious Spanish-language pic, toplining local film and TV stars Mario Casas and Adriana Ugarte, held its leading position over the Jan. 8-10 weekend, scoring €10.5 million.($11.3 million) at the local B.O.

 

Bowing Dec. 25, “Palm Trees” collected $4.97 million in 2015, and $6.3 million-plus in 2016. By Jan. 13, the film had cumed $12.1 million, overhauling Telecinco Cinema’s “Capture the Flag” as the second biggest Spanish release of 2015. The film has sold to date 1.72 million tickets.

 

And it is showing legs, topping $2.1-plus million over the last weekend, down just from $2.97 million, the weekend before.

 

The film launched at the end of a year in Spain when its highest grossing movies were event-group movies from the friends-friendly “Star Wars: the Force Awakens,” to the more family-skewed “Minions,” “Jurassic World” and “Inside Out.”

 

“We were very surprised by the film’s strong start, in a highly competitive environment, but mostly by the fact that it has just fallen 16% in its second weekend and 25% in the third, thanks to a spectacular word of mouth,” said Mercedes Gamero CEO at Atresmedia Cine

.

“’Palm Trees in the Snow’ plays well with female audiences but also the whole family and groups of friends. It’s a film that makes you feel very human, with a huge love story, a movie that feels bigger than life. Many friends go back with the family, and vice-versa,” said producer Adrian Guerra atNostromo Pictures.

 

“We still have at least $3 million-$4 million to go,” Guerra said. A final B.O. trawl of $15 million, $9.5 million-$10.6 million grossed this year, would set a substantially high bar for Spanish films in 2016, only beaten by one Spanish release – TC’s “Spanish Affair 2” – last year.

 

“Palm Trees” represents the latest sign of muscle production expertise, financing and promotion by Spanish media conglom Atresmedia, whose film production arm, Atresmedia Cine, partnered with Nostromo, Warner Bros. and giant telco Telefonica to board the project.

 

Penned by Sergio G. Sanchez (“The Impossible,” “The Orphanage”) “Palm Trees” adapts the same-titled 2012 best-selling novel by Spanish author Luz Gabas and marks the first feature film developed in-house by Atresmedia Cine.

 

With a $10.8 million budget, a higher-bracket cost for a Spanish film, the Spanish-language pic shot on location in the Pyrenees mountains near Huesca, the Canary Islands and Colombia.

 

The story begins in 1953, turning on two brothers, Kilian (Casas) and Jacobo (Alain Hernandez) who leave the Pyrenees to embark upon a journey to the African island of Fernando Poo (present-day Bioko), a Spanish colony where their father works on a cocoa plantation.

 

They enjoy its relatively liberal life-style until one of the brothers falls in love with Bisila, a black woman, played by Berta Vazquez.

 

Five decades later, Clarence (Ugarte), the daughter and niece of the two brothers delves into their tragic past, discovering the secret of a forbidden love story framed within turbulent historical circumstances whose consequences will have repercussions in her present-day life.

 

One of Spain’s most popular actors, Mario Casas’ credits include Alex de la Iglesia’s “Witching & Bitching” and Patricia Riggen’s “The 33.” The star of 2013’s sales and audience hit period TV series “The Time in Between,” Adriana Ugarte will topline in Pedro Almodovar’s upcoming “Julieta” (aka “Silencio”).

 

“’Palm Trees” results come in handy for both Atresmedia Cine and Spanish film industry in general to demonstrate that we can produce big Spanish-language projects which connect with audiences and that they see that we don’t only produce funny and successful comedies, but we are able to address other film genres such as melodrama and get through with flying colors from the challenge,” Gamero said.

 
Published at Variety.com by Emiliano de Pablos.
 

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING @ Sundance Film Festival
Jan 12, 2016

We are proud to announce that

 

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

has been selected at

 

the SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2016 in the "World Dramatic" competitve section.

 

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is the new feature from Sundance-winning director Alejandro Fernández Almendras (To Kill a Man)

 

Suspense, drama / 2016 / Chile / Spanish / 92 min

 

Vicente is a young, reckless loner who comes back to his parents’ beach house after a year studying in LA. One of those random nights of downing shots and chasing girls changes his life forever when Vicente becomes the prime suspect in a hit-and-run that kills a local fisherman. Vicente was wasted. His memories are a blur. Yes, he was in the car, but he swears he wasn’t driving. And what’s worse, the guy he remembers being behind the wheel is the son of a powerful politician. A tangled web of lies engulfs the truth, crushing out a social scandal before it can begin.

 

CAST

Augusto Silva (Nasty baby)

Alejandro Goic (The Club)

Luis Gnecco (Neruda)

 

CREW

Alejandro Fernández Almendras (To Kill a Man)

 

Spain Box Office: 'Spanish Affair 2' Becomes Top-Grossing Film of the Year
Dec 14, 2015

The sequel to last year's smash-hit romcom delivers the same box-office bang.

 

Emilio Martinez-Lazaro’s Spanish Affair 2 became this year's top-grossing film at the Spanish box office on Wednesday, having earned €24.5 million ($27 million) since its release by Universal Pictures International Spain (UPIS) less than three weeks ago.

 

The romantic comedy that plays on stereotypes that Spaniards have about each other now sits above MinionsJurassic World and Fifty Shades of Grey with 3.9 million tickets sold. 

 

Spanish Affair 2 is the sequel to last year’s Spanish Affair, which broke all-time records for ticket sales and sits only behind Avatar as the top-grossing film of all time at the Spanish box office with $61.9 million. Both pics saw Telecinco co-produce with La Zona Films, with Universal distributing theatrically in Spain.

 

Published at The Hollywood Reporter by Pamela Rolfe.

 

Ventana Sur: Film Factory Swoops on Primer Corte's 'Sangre en la boca' (EXCLUSIVE)
Dec 9, 2015

Starring Leonardo Sbaraglia (“Wild Tales”), set on Argentina’s boxing scene, Hernan Belon’s noirish melodrama acquires a sale agent at Ventana Sur

 

BUENOS AIRES – In one of the major pick-ups of Ventana Sur, Vicente Canales’ Film Factory has powered up River Plate-side trading swooping in world sales rights to Argentine Hernan Belon’s drama “Sangre en la boca,” which bowed in rough cut at the Latin American film mart’s pix-in-post showcase Primer Corte.

 

Film Factory has acquired all international rights outside Argentina, save for Italy, where “Sangre” is co-produced by Italy’s Cinedea, which will provide post-production services.

 

One of the big potential Argentina B.O. plays of 2016 – though it has still to close a domestic distribution deal – “Sangre en la boca” stars Leonardo Sbaraglia (“Wild Tales”) who re-teams with Belon after latter’s 2011 Venice Critics’ Week player “El Campo” (In the Open), his first feature.

 

“A melodrama with elements of film noir,” “Sangre” charts the destructive sadomasochistic relationship between Ramon (“Sbaraglia) a near over-the-hill boxing champ and Deborah, a young boxing trainee for whom he leaves his family.

 

“For me, ‘Sangre en la boca’ is the most commercial of titles at Ventana Sur’s Primer Corte, and the title with most sales potential,” Canales said. “It played to a full house at Ventana Sur and nobody walked out at all,” he added.

 

Canales went on to say that he aimed to have a promo ready for 2016’s Berlin Fest and ‘Sangre en la boca’ ready for May’s Cannes Festival.

 

“I didn’t really think if ‘Sangre en la boca’ was commercial when I made it. It was the film I needed to make,” Belon said at Ventana Sur.

 

“I was fascinated by passion, people who for love take decisions which don’t benefit them, a passion which has changed the world, if you think of Helen of Troy,” he added, saying that, that said, was very happy to have Film Factory on board.

 

Film Factory has a habit of moving smartly to tie down rights to movies showcased at the world’s top Spanish-language pix-in-post competitions. In 2013, it picked up “To Kill a Man” as it screened in post at San Sebastian’s Films in Progress, in 2014, “Ixcanul” at the same event. Helmed by Chile’s Alejandro Fernandez Almendras, “To Kill a Man” went on to win Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize in its World Cinema –Dramatic section; “Ixcanul,” from Guatemala’s Jayro Bustamante, took Berlin’s 2015 Alfred Bauer Silver Bear, sold widely, including a Kino Lorber U.S. pick-up and is now Guatemala’s Foreign Language Oscar entry.

 

Published on variety.com by John Hopewell.

 

Spain Box Office: 'A Spanish Affair 2' Soars in Opening Weekend
Nov 25, 2015

The sequel to Spain's highest grossing hit ever earned more than $8 million in the first weekend.


A Spanish Affair 2, the sequel to the biggest Spanish box office hit of all time from 2014, set a new high for a 2015 opening weekend for a domestic film in Spain.

 

The film earned $8.4 million (€7.9 million), according to Rentrak Spain.

 

The Universal Pictures International Spain release outperformed opening weekends for Alejandro Amenabar’s Regression, starring Emma Watson and Ethan Hawke, which earned $2.87 million and Fifty Shades of Grey with $8.2 million — both of which were also released by Universal in Spain.

 

With 1.86 million tickets sold, the film called Ocho Apellidos Catalanes in Spanish, snagged more than 70 percent of the weekend receipts off of 755 copies.

 

Similar to the first film in the franchise, Emilio Martinez Lazaro’s sequel plays on stereotypes Spaniards have of different regions in the form of a romantic comedy. 

 

LaZona Films and Weather Films AIE produced the film — which stars Dani Rovira, Clara Lago, Carmen Machi and Karra Elejalde — for Telecinco Cinema with the collaboration with Mediaset Spain.

 

Spanish Affair has earned more than $62 million, sitting only behind Avatar as the top-grossing film in the history of the Spanish box office.

 


Madrid de Cine: 'Wild Tales' Wins Spanish Export Award
Nov 20, 2015

2014 marks milestone export year for Spanish movies

 

MADRID – Auguring a potential new phenomenon, the Spain-Latin America B.O. crossover, Damian Szifron’s “Wild Tales” won the FAPAE-Rentrak 2015 award at the 9th Madrid de Cine-Spanish Film Screenings for the best Spanish movie export of 2014.

 

Produced out of Spain by Pedro and Agustin Almodovar and Esther Garcia at El Deseo and Hugo Sigman and Matias Mosteirin at K & S Films in Argentina, and co-produced by Telefe-Telefonica Studios, “Wild Tales” was sold by Vicente Canales’ Film Factory to 48 countries. A CannesCompetition player that swept July’s Platino Awards, “Wild Tales” was a Sony Pictures Classics U.S. pick-up, and a Warner Bros. release in Latin America, Spain and – unusually for a Spanish-language film – France.

 

Made for the Spanish film of the past year with most international impact, FAPAE-Rentrak Prize is recognition of the strategy of film’s producers and Canales of standing form when they first brought “Wild Tales” onto the pre-sales market at Cannes in 2013 and not accepting below the going price offers until reception at Cannes Competition in 2014 “revolutionized” buyers’ interest, as Agustin Almodovar has said in the past.

 

“Film’s co-production structure allowed us to realize all the film’s potential,” Almodovar said Wednesday at Madrid de Cine.

 

Also Academy Award nominated, “Wild Tales” has proved the precursor of a new, if still highly select, bread of powerful crossover movies that are emerging in Latin America and Spain: Alberto Rodriguez’s “Marshland,” Pablo Trapero’s abduction thriller “The Clan,” which, reteaming most of “Wild Tales” backers, has sold 2.7 million tickets for Fox in Argentina from a Aug. 13 bow, Lucrecia Martel’s existential epic “Zama,” now in post production, again co-produced by El Deseo; and Pablo Larrain’s upcoming “Neruda,” a powerfully-selling Chile-Argentina-France co-pro.

 

Powerful art films with more mainstream tropes and wider audience ambitions, they boast amped-up budgets, multiple partner co-production structures, often-star presence or star directors, big fest potential, vfx or action scenes, sometimes use of genre to drive narrative.

 

“Wild Tales” plaudit, maybe the last of its career, came as Ramon Colom announced that Spanish films punched €186.4 million ($199.5 million) outside Spain in 2014, per Rentrak figures, 23.8% up on 2012, the last year for which figures are available. Added to Spanish movies’ €131.8 million ($141.0 million) in Spain, when local movies in Spain grabbed a 25.5% share, their best result since 1977, Spanish movies’ total €318.2 million ($340.5 million) 2014 trawl marks a modern milestone.

 

The total 15,280 copy run of Spanish films’ abroad is 7.6% up on 2012, almost 70% up on 2011, said Ramon Colom, FAPAE prexy.

 

“The international interest in Spanish films’ continues to increase,” he added.

 

In a turn-up for the stat books, at a time when Latin American producers and film authorities lament that Latin American films rarely travel beyond their country of origin in Latin America, Latin America overhauled Europe (outside Spain) as Spain’s premier film market. That is not only in terms of total gross (€66.2 million: $70.8 million), which could be explained in part by “Wild Tales’” $17.5 million in Argentina, but also, more surprisingly, in terms of the number of releases, repping 45.4% of all international bows. Italy, with 36 theatrical openings, was Spain’s biggest single-territory market, followed by Mexico (30), Colombia (25), South Korea (23) and Argentina (22). France saw only 16 releases.

 

The major challenge for Spanish films, as indeed all foreign-language movies, is to run up significant box office outside their country of origin. “Wild Tales” grossed $3.1 million for Sony Pictures Classics, about $3.4 million in France. The number of Spanish movies punching over $1 million in any year in international territory is highly limited, however.

 

Basque-language Flagship 'Loreak' Hits New York
Nov 9, 2015

Spain's Foreign Language Academy Award entry opens in New York, distributed by Music Box

 

The limited release Oct. 30 at New York’s Paris Theatre of Basque-language film “Loreak” (“Flowers”), Spain’s Foreign Language entry for the 88th Academy Awards, lays down a milestone for the newly burgeoning Basque cinema.

 

Jon Garano and Jose Mari Goenaga’s women suspense drama, released Stateside by Music Box Films, scored $7,000 box office with its only print at the Paris. This was the fourth highest-average per copy in the U.S. theaters, although during one of the weakest weekends of the year in terms of cinema attendance, which coincides with Halloween.
“Flowers” will continue its American odyssey in Washington, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Florida’s Fort Lauderdale and Coral Gables.


The New York commercial release is a modest but pioneering move for a Basque-language feature, part of a film industry that only makes two Basque-language film by year.
Produced by Guipuzcoa-based outfits Irusoin and Moriarti Produkzioak and distributed in Spain by Adolfo Blanco’s A Contracorriente, “Flowers” is handled internationally by Vicente Canales’ Film Factory Ent.

 

World preeming at 2014’s San Sebastian Film Fest, and the first ever Basque-language film to score a main Competition slot, film is enjoying a successful festival career, which includes the Cine Latino Award at the Palm Springs Intl. Fest.

 

Following “Flowers” path, another Basque-language film, Asier Altuna’s “Amama” (“Grandma”), a Txintxua Films-produced rural family drama has received upbeat reactions at key international film festivals such as San Sebastian, where it world premiered, the last month’s Rome. It currently competes in Mar del Plata’s New Authors sidebar.
Released Oct. 16 by Golem Distribucion, “Amama” cumed a correct €165,959 ($183,655) B.O. in Spain after nine days.


Also, last week, Navarre helmer Raul de la Fuente’s docu-short “Minerita,” a multi-awarded production by San Sebastian’s company Kanaki Films, was selected for Oscar docu-short short list.


“The Basque cinema is on fire,” argues “Flowers” producer Xabier Berzosa at Irusoin, who perceives “a certain consolidation” of a move that started with 2014 “Flowers” release.

From the ‘90s, a high-profile generation of film talent, which included directors such as Alex de la Iglesia, Julio Medem and Imanol Uribe, which had abandon the Basque Country to pursue a film career.


“The big difference now is that there is a new generation committed to making films here,” Berzosa said.

 

The gamut of Basque-language films may also be broadening with “Loreak” weighing in as a film about three women’s coping with loss. The “story of three women unexpectedly brought together by floral bouquets is elegantly lensed and warm-hearted to the core, without getting sappy,” Jay Weissberg wrote in a Variety review. While grounded in a Basque reality, it could take place in many modern European locales.

 

Also, Basque Country film policies are paying off, Berzosa added.
The recent introduction of two new tools for film production, a 30% tax break for any Spanish film and a Basque bank loan guarantee scheme called Elkargi, are helping to dynamize the Basque film industry.


The Basque government dedicates $880,000-$1.1 million per year to backing Basque feature films; regional pubcaster ETB invests a total $5.0 million for film and TV productions. Basque film productions are also available to receive subsidies from Spain’s central government.


“We have significant support, new financing models are being consolidated, but it’s time to turn the Basque film industry into an strategic sector,” Berzosa says.
Basque film producers’ ambitions include achieving more funding to multiply the number of Basque-language films and generate infrastructures to lure a bigger number of film shoots from abroad.

 

 

'The Clan' gets US release date
Oct 26, 2015

Fox International Productions and Twentieth Century Fox have set a theatrical release for Pablo Trapero’s Argentinian Oscar submission and local box office record-breaker.

 

The Clan (El Clan) will open in limited release on January 29 2016 in New York and Los Angeles. Fox International Productions will market and Twentieth Century Fox will distribute.

 

The film has grossed more than $16m and recounts the extraordinary true story of middle-class patriarch Arquímedes Puccio who manipulated his family – including his eldest son, a star rugby player for the Pumas national team  – to help him carry out a series of kidnaps and murders.

 

Guillermo Francella and Peter Lanzani star alongside Lili Popovich, Gastón Cocchiarale, Giselle Motta, Franco Masini, Antonia Bengoechea and Stefania Koessl.

 

Hugo Sigman, Matías Mosteirín, Agustín Almodóvar, Pedro Almodóvar and Esther García produced with Trapero.

 

Fox International Productions presents a Kramer & Sigman Films, Matanza Cine and El Deseo production in association with Telefónica Studios and Telefé.


Spain's Oscar Entry 'Flowers' Bought by Music Box for North America
Oct 14, 2015

Music Box Films has acquired North American rights to “Flowers,” Spain’s official foreign language Oscar entry.

 

Directed by Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga, “Flowers” (“Loreak”) marks the first time the country has selected a film in Euskara, the language of the Basque people. The movie won the Cine Latino Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and is an official selection at BFI’s London Film Festival and the San Sebastian Film Festival.

 

“Flowers” centers around three women whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways when a sudden, tragic event jolts all of them into a new reality. The film opens at New York’s Paris Theater on Oct. 30, followed by Los Angeles on Nov. 27.

 

The deal for North American distribution was finalized with Spain’s Film Factory.

 

THE CLAN for the Oscars!
Sep 29, 2015

We are very proud to announce that THE CLAN has been selected as Argentina's entry for the Academy Oscar® Awards.

 

THE CLAN is a hit with critics and audiences alike. It has brought in more than 2.5M admissions and is still growing!

 

THE CLAN has won the Best Director Silver Lion for Pablo Trapero at the 72nd Biennale di Venizia.

 

"It’s a terrifying encounter, filmed with the propulsive immediacy and virtuoso flair of a Martin Scorsese or Brian de Palma setpiece." VARIETY

 

"Combines the trappings of a family chronicle with shades of film noir. [...] Impressively well played." THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER


Argentina in the early eighties. Within a typical family home in the traditional neighborhood of San Isidro, a sinister clan makes its living off kidnapping and murder.

Arquímedes, the patriarch, heads and plans the operations. Alejandro, his eldest son, is a star rugby player at CASI—a prestigious local club—and the Argentine mythical national team (Los Pumas). The son gives in to his father’s will and identifies possible candidates for kidnapping; his popularity shields him from suspicion.

To a greater or lesser extent, the members of the family are accomplices in this dreadful venture as they live off the benefits yielded by the large ransoms paid by the families of their victims.

Based on the true story of the Puccio family, this film full of suspense and intrigue takes place in the context of the final years of the Argentine military dictatorship and incipient return to democracy.

 


LOREAK for the Oscars!
Sep 8, 2015

We are very proud to announce that Loreak has been selected as Spain's entry for the Academy Oscar® Awards.

Loreak was a critical success and enjoyed a long festival and awards life

 

2 Goya Nominations including Best Picture and Best Original Soundtrack.

Signis Award Special Mention Winner at the 62 San Sebastian Film Festival.

Selected at the Official Competition at the BFI London Film Festival 2014.

Cine Latino Award winner at the Palm Springs Festival 2015.

Selected at the Official Competition at the Miami Film Fest 2015.

Selected at the Official Competition at the Guadalajara Film Fest 2015.

 

Loreak (Flowers) is an intriguing and quietly touching drama which beautifully handles its suspenseful storylines of longing andd crossed destinies with echoes of Kielowski. The film is directed by Jon Garaño and José Mari Goneaga (For 80 days). 

 

Ane's life takes a turn when a bouquet of flowers is delivered to her house every week, always anonymously. Lourdes and Tere's lives are also affected by some mysterious flowers. A stranger leaves a weekly bouquet in memory of some important in their lives. Loreak (Flowers) is the story of three women, thre lives altered by the mere presence of flowers.

 

'The Clan': Review
Sep 7, 2015

Pablo Trapero’s singularly angry, loud and frantically sarcastic film The Clan is more than just the story of the infamous Puccio family, who kidnapped people in Buenos Aires for ransom only to kill them after collecting the money, but also a political parable intimately related to Argentina’s historical background. This solid festival title threads historical events throughout the film, and surely stands a shot at becoming Argentina’s Oscar submission with its high-profile producers including Spain’s Almodovar brothers.


Looking at these people, one is tempted to wonder what one’s next door neighbors are capable of, in their free time.

 

It is indeed impossible not to draw parallels between the sinister activities of the seemingly highly respectable, God-fearing Puccio family from San Isidro, a traditional, middle class Buenos Aires neighborhood, and the military junta who ruled over Argentina in the late seventies and early eighties and tortured or “disappeared” anyone even vaguely suspected of subversive tendencies.

 

Arquimedes Puccio goads, cajoles, browbeats and bribes in order to get his son’s support, using the same vocal tones and with the same authoritative arguments employed by the generals to justify their conduct to the people. (To underline this, Trapero shows real footage of the junta, including General Leopoldo Galtieri explaining on TV that losing the Malvinas was not really a defeat).

 

The cellar in which the Puccios kept their victims and the government’s unofficial jails were not dissimilar. Tacit collaboration with the Puccio family, whether active or passive, is more than reminiscent of all those who knew but never said a word, either out of fear or personal comfort.

 

Using his older son, Alejandro (Peter Lanzani), a much admired rugby star, as a decoy, Arquimedes Puccio (Guillermo Francella) selects his victims from the wealthier families in Buenos Aires. He orchestrates their capture, beats them up, keeps them in seclusion and forces them to write letters asking for help. He then makes phone calls to their relatives implying he represents a dark, secret organisation which is cooperating with the government, an easy enough assumption to sell given the climate of terror reigning at that time on the Argentine streets.

 

Arquimedes asks for money not just in cash but in American dollars, gives precise instructions on how it is to be delivered, and once the payment is made, he has the victim shot, to prevent any risk of identification.

 

The terrifying part is of course that for the Puccios, all this is just a line of business like any other, and one which does not affect their normal routines. Wife Epifania (Lili Popovich) goes on teaching at school, the couple’s two daughters prepare their homework with Daddy’s help, the younger son watches but never utters a word, and Alejandro’s doubts are sufficiently allayed by his father to keep him going.

 

Family dinners always start with a prayer, and they all trust Arquimedes, who looks just like a middle-aged, white haired, respectable businessman.

 

Shielded by corrupt law enforcement, whose heads, incidentally, do not change with the end of the junta, the Puccios are allowed to pursue their criminal career until they over-reach themselves by grabbing a woman whose family’s connections are too powerful to ignore.

 

With the film immediately placed into high gear even before the opening credits are completed, Trapero impetuously drives his own script forward. He never misses a chance to display his own jaundiced view of the higher echelons of his country’s society, which never stopped having a ball even during the darkest times. There are many violent sequences, accompanied occasionally by happy, classic pop tunes such as the Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon, a bit like Singing in the Rain accompanying the rape in Kubrick’s Clock Orange. .

 

Shot like a documentary on the raw, Trapero edited his film at such hectic pace that sometimes it defies continuity. His insistence on juxtaposing sex with torture for longer than necessary may seem just a bit too obvious. But he has the benefit of a scarily normal cast, headed by Guillermo Francella, whose steely eyes barely conceal the ferocious nature hiding behind them. Looking at these people, one is tempted to wonder what one’s next door neighbors are capable of, in their free time.

 

Pablo Trapero's The Clan Slays Tom Cruise in Argentina
Aug 21, 2015

Venice-Toronto competition player punches best opening ever for Argentine movie

 

 

Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox, made by the producers of “Wild Tales” and bowing Aug. 13, Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan” sold 504,000 tickets over in its first four days in Argentina, setting a new record for the best opening ever of an Argentine movie.

 

Total first week gross is around 825,000 admissions, said Film Factory’s Vicente Canales, movie’s sales agent.

 

Running up this record, “The Clan,” a dark abduction thriller, slaughtered “Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation” (400,000 in 12 days) and came out of the gates even bigger than Damian Szifron’s “Wild Tales,” 10% up on its “Wild Tales’’” first-frame 450,000 admissions.

 

Produced – like “The Clan” – by Buenos Aires’ K & S Film, the Almodovars’ Madrid-based El Deseo and Argentine broadcaster Telefe, as part of Telefonica Studios’ drive into movie investment, “Wild Tales” went on to sell 3.45 million tix in Argentina last year, becoming the highest-grossing Argentine film in history. “The Clan” is also co-produced by Fox International Productions.

 

A movie ticket sold at about $5.15 in Argentina over 2014.

 

Exploring social issues with a sense of both character and genre, led by film noir (think 2010’s “Carancho,” an expose of insurance fraud in Argentina), Trapero’s movies have often had B.O. traction in Argentina: Social issue priest drama “Carancho,” starring Ricardo Darin, grossed $2.5 million. But “The Clan” is already in a different B.O. league altogether.

 

Factor’s driving “The Clan’s” bar-raising trawl include Trapero’s caché, Argentina’s new-won enthusiasm for select big-play national movies, the willingness of a new generation of filmmakers to mesh weighty issues and entertainment, and the presence of lead actor Guillermo Francella, with Ricardo Darin Argentina’s biggest local marquee draw. In Francella’s best outing to date, 2013’s romcom “Corazón de leon” grossed $10.6 million in Argentina, sparking remakes in Colombia and now France, starring “The Artist” Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin.

 

For “The Clan,” which is based on true-events, Francella plays Arquimedes Puccio, whose family, the so-called Clan Puccio, abducted people from its own upscale Buenos Aires neighborhood, demanding hefty ransoms. Upon their receipt, they then killed their victims. Accomplices in varying degrees in the kidnappings, all the family members benefitted from the ransom payments. The action unspools around four kidnappings, from 1982 to 1985.

 

“The case that inspired ‘The Clan’ is one of the most emblematic crimes in Argentina’s history,” said Javier Braier, head of development at K & S Films.

 

He continued: “Like Ricardo Darin, almost every film Guillermo Francella stars in is one of the film events of the year. And the fact that this is a new film by Pablo Trapero is a large attraction for the media, critics, audiences and the film community. Next to Daniel Szifron and Juan José Campanella, he forms part of the elite of Argentine directors both is mass audience appeal and on an artistic level.”

 

The question is now whether “The Clan” can play international where Twentieth Century Fox has rights to Latin America and sales agent Film Factory announced a weighty big arthouse distrib pre-sale to France’s Diaphana at Berlin.

 

“The Clan” has snagged one of the best big fest runs possible for a foreign title, competing at Venice, where it international premieres on its first Sunday on Sept. 6, then segueing to Toronto’s new Platform competition. After that it plays San Sebastian’s Pearls section.

 

Certainly, Argentine press reviews have been favorable. “Very Good,” sentenced Pablo Scholz at “Clarin,” one of Argentina’s most influential dailies. “Trapero is a storyteller like few others on the Argentine scene, who grew with the initial New Argentine Cinema to evolve into a director who makes the best cinema, which combines art and commercial reach.”

 

Like “Wild Tales,” “The Clan,” it could be argued, is also not just about Argentina.

 

It channels an indignation at the sense of lack of accountability of the rich. “When the Pucci were finally arrested, many people said they must be innocent, because their social class simply didn’t commit this type of crime,” Trapero told Variety ladt December on the set of the film.

 

“The Clan’s” psychological heart is its father-son relationship, where Arquimedes Puccio persuades son Alejandro to abet his crimes. Here the film enters its heart of horror: How people whose ethical sense seems to have short-fused can carry such force of conviction when persuading others to commit the most hideous crimes possible in the claimed interest of a greater good – here the well-being of the Puccio family itself.

 

Marshland winner at the 19th Fantasia Film Festival
Aug 6, 2015

We are proud to announce that

 

MARSHLAND, by Alberto Rodríguez, has received the "Silver Price" for Best European Movie and the "AddikTV Price" for Best Thriller or Suspense film at the 19th Fantasia Film Fest

 

Venice Fest Reveals Robust Lineup Featuring Hollywood Stars and International Auteurs
Jul 29, 2015

The Venice Film Festivalhas unveiled a potentially strong lineup with enough studio/specialty titles toplining A-list stars.

 

Jake Gyllenhaal (“Everest”), Johnny Depp(“Black Mass”) and Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”) to boost its role as a classy awards-season platform, plus new works by Charlie Kaufman, Alexander Sokurov, Amos Gitai, and Marco Bellocchio, and plenty of other high-caliber international auteurs.

 

As previously announced, Baltasar Kormakur’s mountain climbing thriller “Everest” from Universal, starring Gyllenhaal, will open Venice Sept. 2, out-of-competition, a nice coup for artistic director Alberto Barbera, segueing from “Birdman” as opener last year, and sci-fi thriller “Gravity” in 2013.

 

With Toronto seemingly less aggressive in its push to secure more world preems, Venice is bowing several hot titles — including Cary Fukunaga’s child-soldier drama “Beasts of No Nation,” Atom Egoyan’s “Remember,” and Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight,” featuring Michael Keaton’s first post-“Birdman” screen appearance — that are subsequently Toronto-bound. The fact that the two events are set a bit further apart than usual this year — Venice takes place Sept. 2-12 and Toronto Sept. 10-20 — may also be making for a less conflictual co-existence.

 

Luca Guadagnino’s “A Bigger Splash,” a thriller about a celebrity couple, a famous rock star and a filmmaker (Matthias Schoenaerts and Swinton), vacationing and recovering on the strange sun-drenched Italian island of Pantelleria, is among promising titles in competition, as are Argentinian Pablo Trapero’s crimer “The Clan,” and Gitai’s “Rabin, the Last Day,” a hot-button drama centering around the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

 

The fest’s main jury, headed by Alfonso Cuaron, comprises Elizabeth Banks and Diane Kruger alongside Turkish auteur and 2014 Palme d’Or winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan; Poland’s Pawel Pawlikowski, the director of Oscar winner “Ida”; French author, screenwriter and director Emmanuel Carrere; Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien, who won best director at Cannes this year for “The Assassin”; Italian director Francesco Munzi (“Black Souls”); and British director and screenwriter Lynne Ramsay (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”).

 

Fest will run Sept. 2-12

 

VENICE FILM FESTIVAL — IN COMPETITION
“Frenzy,” Emin Alper (Turkey, France, Qatar)
“Heart of a Dog,” Laurie Anderson (U.S.)
“Blood of My Blood,” Marco Bellocchio (Italy)
“Looking for Grace,” Sue Brooks (Australia)
“Equals,” Drake Doremus (U.S.)
“Remember,” Atom Egoyan (Canada, Germany)
“Beasts of No Nation,” Idris Elba (U.S.)
“Per amor vostro,” Giuseppe M. Gaudino (Italy, France)
“Marguerite,” Xavier Giannoli (France, Czech Republic, Belgium)
“Rabin, the Last Day,” Amos Gitai (Isreal, France)
“A Bigger Splash,” Luca Guadagnino (Italy, France)
“The Endless River,” Oliver Hermanus (South Africa, France)
“The Danish Girl,” Tom Hooper (U.K., U.S.)
“Anomalisa,” Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson (U.S.)
“L’attesa,” Piero Messina (Italy)
“11 minutes,” Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland)
“Francofonia,” Aleksander Sokurov (France, Germany, Netherlands)
“The Clan,” Pablo Trapero (Argentina, Spain)
“Desde alla,” Lorenzo Vigas (Venezuela, Mexico)
“L’hermine,” Christian Vincent (France)
“Behemoth,” Zhao Liang (China, France)

 

OUT OF COMPETITION
“Everest,” Baltasar Kormakur (U.S., U.K.) – Opening Film
“Mr. Six,” Hu Guan (China) – Closing Film

 

FICTION
“Go With Me,” Daniel Alfredson (U.S., Canada, Sweden)
“Non essere cattivo,” Claudio Caligari (Italy)
“Black Mass,” Scott Cooper (U.S.)
“Spotlight,” Thomas McCarthy (U.S.)
“La calle de la Amargura,” Mexico Spain
“The Audition,” Martin Scorsese (U.S.)

 

NON-FICTION
“Winter on Fire,” Evgeny Afineevsky (Ukraine)
“De Palma,” Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow (U.S.)
“Janis,” Amy Berg (U.S.)
“The Event,” Sergei Loznitsa (Netherlands, Belgium)
“Gli uomini di questa città io non li conosco,” Franco Maresco (Italy)
“L’esercito piu piccolo del mondo,” Gianfranco Pannone (Vatican City State)
“Afternoon,” Tsai Ming-liang (Chinese Taipei)
“In Jackson Heights,” Frederick Wiseman (U.S.)

 

SPECIAL SCREENING
“Human,” Yann Arthus-Bertrand (France)

 

GOLDEN LION FOR CAREER ACHIEVEMENT
“La vie et rien d’autre,” Betrand Tavernier

 

HORIZONS
“Madame Courage,” Merzak Allouache (Algeria, France, U.A.E.)
“A Copy of My Mind,” Joko Anwar (Indonesia, South Korea)
“Pecore in erba,” Alberto Caviglia (Italy)
“Tempete,” Samuel Collardey (France)
The Childhood of a Leader,” Brady Corbet (U.K., Hungary, Belgium, France)
“Italian Gangster,” Renato De Maria (Italy)
“Wednesday, May 9,” Vahid Jalilvand, Iran
“Mountain,” Yaelle Kayam (Israel)
“A War,” Tobias Lindholm (Denmark)
“Interrogation,” Vetri Maaran (India)
“Free in Deed,” Jake Mahaffy (U.S., New Zealand)
“Boi Neon,” Gabriel Mascaro (Brazil, Uruguay, Netherlands)
“Man Down,” Dito Montiel (U.S.)
“Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?,” Hadar Morag (Israel, France)
“Un monstruo de mil cabezas,” Rodrigo Pla (Mexico)
“Mate-me por favor,” Anita Rocha Da Silveira (Brazil, Argentina)
“Taj Mahal,” Nicolas Saada (France, Belgium)
“Interruption,” Yorgos Zois (Greece, France, Croatia)

 

Saura, Celestini, Stone among Venice Days line-up
Jul 24, 2015

Luis Tosar thriller to open strand; Laurent Cantet to chair jury; programme includes Agnès Varda, Alice Rohrwacher shorts.


Dani de la Torre’s debut thriller Retribution, starring Luis Tosar, will open the 2015 Venice Days strand, which announced its line-up today.

The Venice Film Festival’s (September 2 - 12) independently run section will host 21 titles including 18 world premieres in its official selection.

The ten-title competition includes Matias Bize’s The Memory of Water, a drama about a young couple trying to rekindle their relationship after the death of their 4-year-old son, Vincenzo Marra’s fourth feature La Prima Luce, which stars Riccardo Scamarcio as an Italian lawyer tracking down his young son in Chile after an acrimonious divorce; Ascanio Celestini’s drama Long Live The Bride, starring Alba Rohrwacher, and Australian director Michael Rowe’s love drama Early Winter, featuring Suzanne Clement.

Geoffrey Rush, Miranda Otto, Sam Neill and Paul Schneider star in Simon Stone’s Australian drama The Daughter, will play out of competition and close the strand. Jan Chapman and Nicole O’Donohue produce the story of a man who returns home to discover a long-buried family secret.

Acclaimed director Carlos Saura will be on the Lido withArgentina, a documentary about tango which continues his exploration of the essence of popular dance and song while Turkish Nobel prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk is expected in Venice for the world premiere special event screening of British director Grant Gee’s Innocence Of Memories, based on Pamuk’s acclaimed book The Museum Of Innocence.

Meanwhile Roberto Rossellini’s grandson Alessandro will present the world premiere of Ingrid Bergman documentary Viva Ingrid!

French director Laurent Cantet will preside over the jury that will award the Venice Days Award worth €20,000 ($21,000) to the top competition title. Competition entries will also vye for the section’s audience award, while all first works are eligible for Venice’s Luigi De Laurentiis prize for best first work across all the Venice festival sections.

The programme also includes short films from Agnes Varda and Alice Rohrwacher.

 

FULL LINE-UP

Official Selection

The Memory of Water (La Memoria Del Agua) dir. Matías Bize

As I Open My Eyes (A Peine J’Ouvre Les Yeux) dir. Leyla Bouzid

Long Live the Bride (Viva La Sposa) dir. Ascanio Celestini

Klezmer dir. Piotr Chrzan

Retribution (El Desconocido) dir. Dani de la Torre

Arianna dir. Carlo Lavagna

First Light (La Prima Luce) dir. Vincenzo Marra

Island City dir. Ruchika Oberoi

Early Winter dir. Michael Rowe

Underground Fragrance dir. Song Peng Fei

The Daughter dir. Simon Stone

 

Special Events

Milano 2015 dir. AA.VV.

Harry’s Bar dir. Carlotta Cerquetti

Innocence of Memories - Orhan Pamuk’s Museum And Istanbul dir. Grant Gee

Viva Ingrid! dir. Alessandro Rossellini

Argentina dir. Carlos Saura

Ma dir. Celia Rowlson Hall

 

Miu Miu Women’s Tales

#9 De Djess dir. Alice Rohrwacher

#10 Les 3 Boutons dir. Agnès Varda

 

Special Projects

Il Paese Dove Gli Alberi Volano - Eugenio Barba E I Giorni Dell’Odin dir. Davide Barletti & Jacopo Quadri

Bangland dir. Lorenzo Berghella

I Sogni Del Lago Salato dir. Andrea Segre

Eduard Fernandez, Jose Coronado Set For Alberto Rodriguez's "Mil Caras"
Jul 14, 2015

Spaniard Alberto Rodriguez’s follow-up to ‘Marshland’ rolls from July 20 in Paris

 

MADRID –Two of Spain’s finest character actors – Eduard Fernandez (pictured, right) and Jose Coronado – are set to star in “El hombre de las mil caras,” a Warner Bros. Entertainment release in Spain.

 

A Spanish skullduggery imbroglio, “Mil caras” marks Alberto Rodriguez’s follow-up to noirish serial killer thriller “Marshland,” which ticked multiple boxes over 2014-15 and has now scored nine nominations, including picture, director, screenplay and actor (Javier Gutierrez) at next week’s Platino Ibero-American Film Awards.

 

A jury prize and best actor (Gutierrez) at last September’s San Sebastian, “Marshland” swept this year’s Goya Awards, was a Spanish box office hit €7.5 million ($8.25 million) for Warner Bros. and has sold to every major territory abroad, including the U.S. in a recently announced deal with Outsider Pictures’ Todo Cine Latino (TCL). Gutierrez now faces off for a best actor Platino Award.

 

In another sign of a “Marshland’s” success, “Mil caras” teams Zeta Cinema with not only “Marshland’s” distributor Warner Bros. but also its producers Atresmedia Cine, the film production arm of broadcast group Atresmedia, José Antonio Félez’s Atipica and Gervasio Iglesia’s Sacromonte. Film Factory handles international sales.

 

In one of its first announced film acquisitions, Movistar Plus, Telefonica’s new pay TV brand after anti-trust authorities cleared its acquisition of Canal Plus, has Spanish pay TV rights to “Mil caras.” Atresmedia and Andalusian pubcaster Canal Sur share free-to-air rights in Spain.

 

Based on a real-life story, “Mil caras” has Fernandez (“The Skin I Live In,” “Biutiful”) as Francisco Paesa, a Madrid-born Spanish spy, arms-dealer, subterfuge maestro and playboy who shopped Basque terrorist org ETA, selling it traceable weaponry, is believed to have fraternized with GAL, a government-inspired anti-ETA hit squad, dealt with the Russian mafia, and is credited with an attempted coup d’etat in Ecuatorial Guinea. Having staged his own death in Thailand, he now most probably lives in Paris, where “Mil caras” will go into production July 20.

 

Budgeted at €5 million – high now by Spain’s standards, “Mil Caras” will shoot on location for 11 weeks in Madrid, Paris, Geneva and Singapore.

 

“Mil caras” catches Paesa in the 1990s ruined, shopped by his own government but still supported by his faithful friend Jesus Camoes (Coronado). He is approached by Luis Roldan (Carlos Santos), a former head of Spain’s Civil Guard, with a scheme to get Roldan out of the country and safeguard $10 million which Roldan has pilfered from public funds. Marta Etura (“The Impossible”) plays Roldan’s wife.

 

In a modern world forged by emerging markets and the attempts of formal democracies to escape from an authoritarian past, Rodriguez has found a rich source of artistic inspiration exploring the recent past of Spain, a country whose transition to democracy from the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 was once held up as a model of democratic progress. Though Spain’s democracy has brought multiple essential benefits, the depth of that transition is now being questioned.

 

Set in 1980, “Marshland” portrayed some limits to change – the impunity of its ruling classes, for instance. Unspooling 14 years later, in “Mil caras” “there’s an incredible metaphor about corruption, about the enormous ability that we have, in Spain, to generate para-political people who are not part of the government or state but seem to be more in control of the country than politicians themselves,” said Francisco Ramos, who produces for Zeta Cinema, along with Antonio Asensio.

Film noir – where the true villain is part of the establishment – is one film type apt for an exploration of the limits of democracy. The espionage thriller – where, as Atresmedia Cine’s press release comments, appearances deceive, traps, lies and pacts constitute character’s hallmarks – yet another.

“Mil caras” d.p. will be Alex Catalan, who won San Sebastian and Goya best cinematography kudos for “Marshland,” and is now in the running for a Platino Award.

Also nominated: Rafael Cobos, Rodriguez’s near career-long co-scribe on “Marshland” and now “Mil caras”; and “Marshland”/”Mil caras” editor José Moyano and art director Pepe Dominguez.

Cannes: Film Factory Takes Oriol Paulo's 'The Invisible Guest'
Jun 15, 2015

Backed by Warner Bros. and a combo of top-notch Spanish producers, Orio Paulo is set to direct suspense thriller “The Invisible Guest,” his follow-up to 2012 box office hit “The Body.”

 

Film Factory Entertainment has acquired worldwide rights to “The Invisible Guest” and will introduce it to buyers at Cannes.

 

With principal photography scheduled for September, Warner Bros. will release “Guest” in Spain in 2016.

 

Think Studio (“Three Many Weddings”), Atresmedia Cine (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Marshland”), Nostromo Pictures (“Buried”) and Colose Producciones produce.

 

Mario Casas, once a Spanish teen heartthrob who has grown into character parts,  stars with Barbara Lennie (Carlos Vermut’s “Magical Girl”). “Body” star Jose Coronado also toplines.

 

Also written by Paulo, “The Invisible Guest” turns on a young businessman who wakes up in a hotel room locked from the inside with the dead body of his lover next to him. He hires a prestigious lawyer, and over one night they work together to clarify what happened in a frenetic race against time.

 

“Oriol Paulo is an incredibly talented storyteller and director and this film should take him one step further in his international career,” said Film Factory’s Vicente Canales.

Cannes: Film Factory, Jirafa Ink Two-Pic Deal (EXCLUSIVE)
May 16, 2015

 

Deal underscores maturity of Latin-American production sales scene

 

In a sign of the ongoing maturity of Latin American-Spain production-sales scene, Film Factory has swooped in on world sales rights to Christopher Murray’s “El Cristo Ciego” and Alejandro Fernandez Almendras’ “Much Ado About Nothing,” his follo-up to “To Kill a Man,” which won the 2014 Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize

 

Chile’s Jirafa Films, headed by Augusto Matte, produced both films.

 

In arthouse production, execution is all. Output or even mini-volume deals are relatively rare. But the stock of the best Latin American production houses and the sales potential of at least breakout Latin American films are rising fast: Having sold “To Kill a Man,” Film Factory’s Vicente Canales has not wanted to wait any longer before pacting with Jirafa, and not just on one but two movies, before they hit a films-in-post showcase, Canales told Variety.

 

Developed at Cannes’ Cinefondation and Torino Film Lab, and co-produced by Thierry Lenouvel’s CineSud Promotion, “El Cristo Ciego” turns on a man, who, believing he is a Christ, sets out to perform his first miracle, which is saving a dying friend. It begins shooting this month.

 

Currently shooting, “Much Ado” is inspired by a political scandal that outraged Chile: a political bigwig’s son who was involved in a hit-and-run case but absolved by a Chilean court. It is Chile’s first crowd-funded movie.

Berlin: Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize Winner 'Ixcanul' Rolls Out Major Territory Sales (EXCLUSIVE)
Feb 17, 2015

Guatemala-set tale of young Kaqchikel's woman's tribulations on track to sell over the world

MADRID — Described by Variety’s Scott Foundas as “a transporting, hypnotically beautiful debut feature” and “downright Herzogian (far more Herzogian than Herzog’s own ‘Queen of the Desert’),” Guatemalan Jayro Bustamante’s Berlin competition entry “Ixacanul” has broken out to major territory sales, with many more deals on the way.

 

Produced by Guatemala’s La Casa de Produccion and Edgard Tenembaum’s Paris-based Tu Vas Voir, whose credits also include Walter Salles’ “The Motorcycle Diaries,”

 

Ixcanul” won the 65th Berlin Festival’s Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize Saturday night for a film that opens up new perspectives.

 

From its first screening at Berlin – sales agent Film Factory opted not to send out screeners or links before Berlin –

 

Icxanul” has closed Italy and Japan, both with significant indie distributors: Andrea Occhipinti’s Lucky Red and Japan’s Gaga Communications. ARP Selection, one of France’s major art film distributors, took distribution rights to France before Berlin in a deal negotiated with Tu Vas Voir . A Belgian arthouse distribution institution, Cineart has bought Benelux: Vision Sudest has rights to Switzerland.

 

In further deals, Vendetta has acquired Australia/New Zealand, Spentzos has closed Greece, Mediavision Turkey, Dexin former-Yugoslavia and Moving Turtle the Middle East.

 

“We have got an incredible feedback from buyers with multiple offers in some territories. They loved the film and appreciate its uniqueness, beauty and powerful message,” said Film Factory’s Vicente Canales. “We will be able to close deals all over the world very soon.”

 

Film Factory is also negotiating a North American deal, Canales added.

 

World premiering at Berlin on its first Saturday, “Ixcanul” also ranked No. 3 in Screen Daily’s Critics Poll, tying with Jafar Panahi’s “Taxi” and Pablo Larrain’s “The Club,” the Golden Bear and Grand Jury Prize winners respectively.

 

The story of a young Mayan woman, living in a community of Kaqchikel-speaking coffee farmers, whose unwanted pregnancy brings her into final- and shocking – contact with the modern world she dreamt so much about, “Ixcanul” delivers a sucker punch about what Bustamante calls one driving theme of “Ixcanul”: the “impossibility of an underage woman, who is Mayan and lives far from a big city, to determine her own destiny.”

 

“Gabriel Garcia Marquez embodied magic realism. Unfortunately, a more appropriate term for Guatemala would often be tragic realism,” Bustamante told Variety at San Sebastian where “Ixcanul” already proved a standout when seen in rough-cut at the festival’s Films in Progress.

Berlin: Goya Winner 'Marshland' Sells Most of the World (EXCLUSIVE)
Feb 8, 2015

Winning 10 Spanish Academy Awards Saturday, Alberto Rodriguez's crome thriller is almost sold out

It’s not only the Spanish Academy that is sold on “Marshland.” Claiming 10 Goyas Feb. 7 in Madrid – among them, pic, director, original screenplay – Alberto Rodriguez’s early 1980s noirish serial killer thriller, set in the wetlands outside Seville, has almost sold out rights around the world for Film Factory Entertainment.

 

 

Joining France’s Le Pacte, a deal announced by Variety at September’s San Sebastian festival, “Marshland” has now closed the U.K. (Altitude), Germany (Koch Media), Japan (Klockworx), Italy (Movies Inspired), Australia/New Zealand (Vendetta), and Latin American pay TV (Fox).

 

 

Other deals include Switzerland (Praesens), Greece (Weirdwave), ex-Yugoslavia (MCF), Turkey (Sinema TV), Portugal (Zon Lusomundo), Canada (AZ Films), Hungary (MTVA), Czech Republic/Slovakia (Vapet), Middle East (SRND), Puerto Rico/Dominican Republic (Palmera) and airlines (Encore).

 

 

On the U.S, Film Factory is entering “the final straits of negotiation, and will announce a deal shortly,” said the company’s Vicente Canales.

 

 

Made in a still ideologically riven country, Spanish films still too often portray saints and out-and-out villains. “Marshland” is one of Spain’s earliest films to take a far more realistic view of human psychology, suggesting that a cop who committed terrible crimes under Franco is also capable of heroism – and that he will never be brought to a court of law for his past crimes. That nuanced vision receives an equally nuanced performance from Javier Gutierrez, which merited a best actor Goya.

Berlin Film Review: 'Ixcanul Volcano'
Feb 7, 2015

Debut helmer Jayro Bustamante fashions a powerful modern fable about the clash of civilizations in a Mayan farming community.

 

 

A young Mayan woman finds herself at a crossroads between the ancient and modern worlds in “Ixcanul Volcano,” a transporting, hypnotically beautiful debut feature from Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante. A simple, fable-like movie made in close collaboration with a real Mayan farming community from the Guatemalan highlands, Bustamante’s film is downright Herzogian (far more than Herzog’s own “Queen of the Desert”) in its surfeit of physical detail, observed ritual and looming clash of civilizations. Festivals will take extensive note, though paying spectators will be hard to come by outside major arthouse markets.

 

It’s a mark of how viscerally Bustamante pulls us into his remote jungle world that, when a paved road (and a car traveling down it) appears around the movie’s 45-minute mark, the image seems so alien that it takes a moment to process it. By that point, the film has already steeped us in the daily routines of a community of Kaqchikel-speaking coffee harvesters who live at the foot of a vast volcano. Beans are harvested; a temperamental sow is hauled screeching into the pen of a mating boar; and a young woman in ceremonial headdress is brought to the ashen hillside to receive a marital blessing.

 

The volcano, though, isn’t the only thing that’s smoldering here; so, too, does passion burn in the loins of the teenage Maria (Maria Mercedes Coroy), whose hand has been promised to Ignacio, the coffee plantation foreman. But Maria’s own heart beats more excitedly for Pepe, a lowly coffee cutter who dreams of starting a new life in the U.S. (which he romantically describes as sitting just on the other side of the volcano, with only a little thing called Mexico in between).

 

These scenes and most of what follows in “Ixcanul Volcano” play out in static, color-saturated, deep-focus compositions that are highly stylized and yet never overly precious or exotic, always rooted in Bustamante’s fundamental desire to let his subjects express themselves in their own terms. In one especially striking setup, Maria lurks quietly in the shadows behind a village cantina while a drunken Pepe steadies himself. Then, quietly but unambiguously, she offers herself to him — an action whose unintended consequences loom large over the rest of the film.

 

In its attention to indigenous customs and its central confusion over the way babies are conceived, “Ixcanul Volcano” glancingly recalls Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s 2009 “The Milk of Sorrow,” which won the Golden Bear in Berlin on its way to a foreign-language Oscar nomination. In the case of Bustamante’s Maria, pregnancy does prove to be her ticket out of village life and into the big city, though not quite in the way she imagined. When that fateful moment arrives, the accompanying shifts in the film’s tone and visual language — from stately tableaux to a kind of jagged cinema verite — rank among Bustamante’s most accomplished effects.

 

If it’s to be expected that the meeting of tribal culture and Westernized medicine will be fraught with peril, the exact way that plays out in “Ixcanul Volcano” is nonetheless as startling as a hot lava bath — a narrative twist inspired by Guatemala’s long history of indigenous exploitation (including an alarming rate of child abduction and human trafficking). What emerges, finally, is a film that gives an urgent, original voice to a people too frequently marginalized in both movies and society at large.

 

Among the wholly impressive non-professional cast, the heavy-lidded, sad-eyed Coroy exudes a particularly warm, empathetic presence. In addition to d.p. Luis Armando Arteaga’s impeccable widescreen lensing, Eduardo Caceres’ immersive sound design adds to the film’s sensory richness.

 

By Scott Foundas

Ixcanul
Feb 7, 2015

Guatemala’s active Pacaya volcano is a symbol both of ancient traditions and modern threats in this absorbing, beautifully shot film about the consequences of a peasant girl’s pre-marital pregnancy. First-time director Bustamante steers a steady course, mostly avoiding ethno-arthouse clichés by focusing on characters, especially the mother and daughter who are the sympathetic focus of this sensitive, male-directed women’s film.

 

There’s also social and political resonance in the story’s setting, a coffee-growing community that for all its folk wisdom and pre-Christian spiritual traditions is not a world apart: the big city where the bosses and the bureaucracy come from, and the lure of emigration to the United States, which one character places somewhere “on the other side of the volcano”, are constant disruptive forces.

 

Much credit too must go the actors, all non-professionals who were discovered by the director via community meetings and theatre workshops. There’s no Brechtian alienation here: these are committed yet unmannered performances that help to flesh out what might otherwise be a thin story. Ixcanul (Volcano) was picked up by Spanish sales company Film Factory for all territories except Central America, France and Switzerland after attracting strong buzz at last year’s San Sebastian Films in Progress sidebar, and an upbeat critical and audience reaction at the Berlinale should guide it towards arthouse berths in more than a handful of territories.

 

Though this is by no means a travelogue, the majesty of the locations won’t hurt its prospects: it’s probably no coincidence that one of the backers credited at the beginning is the Guatemalan Tourist Board.

 

The film’s central focus, Maria (Mercedes Coroy) is a late teenage girl who lives in a shack on the lower skirts of the volcano with her resilient mother Juana (Telon) and father Manuel (Antun), who works as an overseer on a nearby coffee plantation. The rough beauty of the landscape and the budding purity of Maria’s half-modest, half-sulky features contrast with the harsh realities of the family’s near-subsistence lifestyle.

 

A pair of pigs is brought to copulate and later one is slaughtered; the scenes cast a shadow over Maria’s own nascent sexual feelings, which she centres on moody young plantation worker Pepe (Coroy), who plans to emigrate to the States. But Maria’s family has other ideas, setting up a marriage between her and plantation foreman Ignacio (Lorenzo), a big fish in this small pond who, unlike Maria’s Kaqchikel-speaking family, has a little Spanish. Later scenes in which Ignacio interprets selectively in exchanges between the family and two different public officials neatly bring home a deep fracture in Guatemalan society, in which failure to speak Spanish (and there are no less than 24 Mayan languages spoken here) inevitably leads to exploitation and disempowerment.

 

In giving herself to a drunken Pepe, Maria hopes to persuade him to take her overland to the States with him; but he departs alone, leaving her pregnant. She seems at first to have fallen into one of those cycles of entrapment that perpetuate misery and poverty – like Pepe himself, who spends all the money he earns in the plantation at the bar set up by the plantation owners, and can only break the cycle by running way.

 

But there’s an inner strength in Maria and her mother that’s lacking in any of the film’s men, obsessed as they are with money, drink and copulation. Some of this strength is linked to the black, smoking volcano, where the two women go to pray to the spirits; but later this connection is questioned, shown to be a false god. This is a world poised between shamans and shams, between charms designed to cast out ‘sacred’ poisonous snakes and chemical repellent imported from the US. Tellingly, neither work.

 

There’s something too hastily sketched in about the film’s final act, revolving around a national scandal relating to the babies of Guatemalan peasant women. But the script holds back from sensationalism; in the end it’s the welfare of a vulnerable woman that it has at heart – a vulnerability that is well-captured by Luis Armando Arteaga’s crisp widescreen cinematography, that so often sets Maria, alone or with her mother, as the only thing of colour in a grey and barren landscape.

 

By Lee Marshall

'Ixcanul Volcano' ('Ixcanul'): Berlin Review
Feb 7, 2015

Debut feature from Guatelaman writer-director Jayro Bustamante, contending for the German festival's Golden Bear, delves into the Mayan culture of his homeland

 

Lovers of lava-spewing geological spectacle may be disappointed by Jayro Bustamante’s assured debut Ixcanul Volcano (Ixcanul volcan), as from start to finish the writer-director boldly resists showing a full view of the eponymous peak. But  non-vulcanologists will find much to like about this sensitively-handled tale of a teenage girl’s halting progress to womanhood in a remote, dirt-poor village in western Guatemala, granted a high-profile world premiere slot in the main competition at the Berlinale. A solid example of low-key, well-observed, humanistically sympathetic ethnography, the French co-production could well pick up a minor prize from Darren Aronofsky’s jury - and even if it leaves Potsdamer Platz empty-handed will likely find plenty of festival bookings over the coming months. 

 

Six years ago Claudia Llosa – who´s on Berlin the jury this year – took the Golden Bear for her study of superstition and femininity in a Peruvian backwater, The Milk of Sorrow. Just as that picture depended strongly on the luminous appeal of actress Magaly Solier, here Bustamante´s camera opens with and often lingers on the face of his non-pro lead Maria Mercedes Coroy. Coroy’s visage in repose has the impassivity of an African tribal mask – and even in states of emotional extremis, there’s always something intriguingly guarded about this young woman as she finds her place in a complicated world.

 

Identified as 17 in press materials, Maria is the only child of the energetic Juana (Maria Telon) and the downtrodden Manuel (Manuel Antun), the trio eking out a living working on a coffee-plantation on the slopes of a rumbling, presumably dormant volcano. Juana and Manuel´s main priority is to get their daughter suitably married off as soon as possible, and they arrange an engagement with their overseer Ignacio (Justo Lorenzo). Maria seems to accept this development, but nevertheless sneaks off for trysts with a lad her own age, Pepe (Marvin Coroy). When she becomes pregnant with his child, this spells big trouble for all concerned – and Juana´s reliance on folk remedies tends to exacerbate rather than improve the situation.

 

Relating a story whose basic lineaments have been familiar in oral and written tradition for centuries all over the world, Ixcanul Volcano takes place in a world of pungently realistic particulars - Bustamante displays a keen appreciation of environment - which simultaneously exists in a timeless, fable-like bubble. When the action relocates temporarily to a nearby city in the final third, the sudden appearance of modern technology is jarring – and the extent of the family´s deprivations become apparent. With no running water, no reliable electricity supply, unable to read or write, speaking no Spanish – only the Mayan language Kaqchikel  – and having received barely rudimentary education, they are easy prey for exploitative employers, relying heavily on superstition to help them through problems minor and major.

 

Most pressing of these is an infestation of snakes which menaces the livestock on the family farm, location of one of those unsimulated animal-slaughter sequences which is apparently de rigueur for all low-budget rural pictures from Latin America these days. Bustamante in general hews closely to the usual templates for such fare, although his visuals have a consistent, entrancingly classy depth and sheen thanks to the celluloid-like beauty of experienced DP Luis Armando Arteaga’s widescreen cinematography.

 

Further deepening the sensory appeal of Ixcanul Volcano, farm-noises, indigenous music and the volcano’s near-incessant susurrant rumblings are conjured into an impressive, organic soundscape by sound-designers Eduardo Caceres and Julien Cloquet. Bustamante may be a relative greenhorn himself, but his choice of seasoned collaborators augurs well: son of the legendary cinematographer Ghislain, Cloquet boasts which credits stretch back to the seventies, and include a rather steamier variation on the female-sexuality theme, Jean-Jacques Beneix’s Betty Blue.

 

By Neil Young

Berlin: Telefonica Studios, Film Factory Board Alex De la Iglesia's 'My Big Night' (EXCLUSIVE)
Feb 5, 2015

At a Berlin festival boasting a record-high 60-plus Latin American features in different sections, Telefonica Studios, the Spanish telco giant’s film/TV production arm, and Film Factory, a preeminent Spanish sales company, have boarded one of the highest-profile productions from the Spanish-speaking world: “My Big Night,” the next big comedy from Alex de la Iglesia (“Witching & Bitching”).

 

Telefonica Studios has taken substantial minority equity on “My Big Night”; Vicente Canales’ Film Factory introduces the title, produced by Enrique Cerezo, at Berlin.

 

Pic stars Spanish crooner Raphael, and goes into production on Feb. 23, aiming for a fall fest berth.

 

Co-written with Jorge Guerricaechevarria, De la Iglesia’s career-long co-scribe, “My Big Night” unspools at a lavish New Year’s Eve TV show, where the frenzied fake bonhomie contrasts with the shoot date – a sweltering mid-August – the participants’ actions and sentiments, and the solitude of the studio’s setting. Raphael plays a sadistic, ratings-chasing diva.

 

Beyond Raphael, “My Big Night” stars Spain’s hot young thesps Mario Casas (“Witching & Bitching”), Hugo Silva (“I’m So Excited”) and Blanca Suarez (“The Skin I Live In”) and “Torrente” director-star Santiago Segura.

 

“ ‘My Big Night’ is a multi-character, farcical dark comedy with the high-pitched energy of Billy Wilder’s ‘One, Two, Three,’ in the line of ‘Ferpect Crime,” top-notch De la Iglesia, and the recuperation of Raphael, a legend in Spain and Latin America, is a masterstroke,” said Telefonica Studios director Axel Kuschevatzky.

 

The “My Big Night” investment also highlights Telefonica Studios rapid ramp-up as a major financing force in Spain and Argentina, where 18 TS features will open in 2015. Backed by Telefonica, which posted €57.1 billion ($64.5 billion) revenues in 2013, Telefonica Studios is involved in 24-or-more co-productions.

 

“We’ve never dealt with such a huge lineup. We’re not aggressive but, yes, ambitious, in how we see our involvement in the filmmaking process,” said Kuschevatzky. Line-up features the two biggest Spanish movies of 2015, on paper at least, and both co-produced by Telecinco Cinema: Alejandro Amenabar’s “Regression,” and toon feature “Capture the Flag.”

Film Factory Picks Up Pablo Trapero's 'The Clan'
Jan 27, 2015

Almodóvars and other 'Wild Tales' partners reteam on Trapero's suspense thriller

Zeroing in on one of the most anticipated Latin titles this year, in the run-up to the Berlin Film Festival, Spain’s Film Factory Ent. has acquired world sales rights outside Latin America to “The Clan,” an ‘80s –set suspense thriller which marks the next film from Argentina’s Pablo Trapero (“White Elephant,” “Lion’s Den”).

 

Film Factory will introduce “The Clan” to buyers at Berlin’s European Film Market, showing a first promo reel. “The Clan” teams major forces behind prestige Latin American productions which break through to seven figure box office in territories abroad: Argentina’s K & S Films and Trapero’s Matanza Cine, Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar’s El Deseo, Fox Intl. Productions and Argentine broadcaster Telefe produce. 20th Century Fox will distribute “The Clan” in Latin America.

 

Producers are K & S’ Hugo Sigman and Matias Mosteirin, Trapero, and Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar and Esther García at El Deseo.

 

Part of Telefonica Studios drive, powered by Axel Kuschevatzky, into top-notch Argentina titles, Telefe co-produced “Wild Tales,” as well as Juan Jose Campanella’s “Foosball” and “The Secret of the Eyes.”

 

Now in post-production, and aiming to be ready for delivery by May 2015, “the real-event inspired “The Clan” stars Guillermo Francella (“The Secret of Their Eyes,” “Heart of a Lion”), one of Argentina’s biggest marquee draws, as Arquimedes Puccio, the patriarch of Clan Puccio, a well-heeled Buenos Aires family that abducted people from its own neighborhood, benefitting from the facade of respectability enjoyed by their social status and one of their sons playing for the Pumas, Argentina’s national rugby team. Demanding and receiving hefty ransoms, the Puccios then killed their victims. Accomplices in varying degrees in the kidnappings, all the family members benefitted from the ransom payments.

 

“The Clan’s” action takes in four murders, from 1982 to 1985, during two years of dictatorship and two years of democracy, with the Puccios effectively privatizing the Argentine Junta’s practice of abduction and murder, turning them into a business model.

 

“This is a behind-the-scenes portrait of the Argentine society of the ‘80s which unfortunately has a lot in common with Argentina’s society of today, its double morality, the hypocrisy of many people,” Trapero said on “The Clan’s” set last month.

 

He added: “It’s also a vision of politics, not state politics, but intimate politics, how the Puccios moved, their links with power, and a film about suffering and absences, which has a larger resonance than just that of the victims of the Puccios.”

 

K & S, EL Deseo and Telefonica Studios, via Telefe, teamed to produce Damian Szifron’s “Wild Tales,” which was also sold by Film Factory.

 

A Cannes Competition player, Sony Pictures Classics U.S. pick-up, and Warner Bros release in Latin America, Spain and France, “Wild Tales” has become the highest-grossing Argentine ever in Argentina. Boosted by its Almodóvar cache, it bowed No. 2 in Paris over Jan. 14-18 for a total France €1.5 million ($1.9 million) cume through Jan.25 . Goosed by word of mouth, it has shown sturdy legs in Spain, where it has cumed €4.5 million ($5.4 million) per Rentrak, and has played for 15 weeks in the top 20 in the Czech Republic, said Film Factory’s Vicente Canales.

 

“Vicente handled Damian Szifron’s ‘Wild Tales,’ which was the first time we worked with him. We understood one other marvelously well. He kept his nerve in 2013 when buyers expressed a lot of doubts about the film. At screenplay, we could have undersold, gone with the wrong foreign distributors. His advice, to practically not make any sales, was very important,” Agustin Almodóvar told Variety.

 

“From the moment of its Cannes Competition selection, which revolutionized distributors’ interest, as the expert sales agent he is, Vicente also stood firm, choosing the best distributor for every territory, which was not always the one who made the highest offer.”

 

For Agustín Almodóvar, Vicente Canales “also coincides with the idea El Deseo –and our Argentine partners – have of cinema, which is somewhat special, non standard-issue, less conventional, cinema which has to be placed in expert hands who know how to handle films with a strong auteurist voice.”

 

“With Film Factory, we’ve constructed a successful team and are sure that Vicente Canales will achieve the best of results with this powerful new picture,” K & S’s Sigman and Mosteirin added.

 

“Pablo Trapero is one of the most talented directors working nowadays. He has a unique and universal vision,” Canales himself commented.

 

“It is a great pleasure for me to keep working with such great producers as K & S and El Deseo. We are still enjoying the incredible experience of ‘Wild Tales.’ I am sure ‘The Clan’ is going to be one of the best of 2015 films.”

'Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission Implausible' ('Mortadelo and Filemon contra Jimmy el Cachondo'): Film Review
Dec 12, 2014

Spain's favorite hapless investigators return for this big-budget animated version

 

The accident-prone agents who have brought laughter to Spanish kids and their parents since the late 50s make a very creditable leap into CGI with the energetically entertaining Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission Implausible. Previous film versions of the exploits of Francisco Ibanez’s titular heroes have been patchy, including director Javier Fesser’s own 2003 live action stab, but this time it works, successfully welding the spirit of the original to spectacular hi-tech visuals which are keeping both purists and newcomers happy following a strong pre-vacation entry at the Spanish box-office.

 

Sales seem guaranteed to multiple Spanish-language territories, and despite the film’s extreme Spanishness, strong marketing could just about see this family-friendly duo wreaking havoc elsewhere.

 

Early scenes portray an entertainingly hi-tech, glossy variation on classic M & F slapstick motifs before it’s revealed that it’s all been a dream by Filemon (Janfri Topera). We’re returned to the ramshackle, comically violent, malfunctioning gadget-filled world they normally inhabit, something like a mash-up between Looney Tunes and Wallace and Gromit. Brainless, but an expert in disguise, Mortadelo (Karra Elejalde) and his temperamental boss work for a criminal investigation agency, under threat from a dastardly Marty Feldman lookalike called “Jimmy el Cachondo” (Gabriel Chame), loosely translatable as “Jimmy the Joker”.

 

When Jimmy steals a safe from the TIA (not CIA) building, the Superintendent (Mariano Venancio) instructs our heroes to recover it. Further bad news arrives in the form of the monstrous Tronchamulas (Victor Monigote), a violent, three-ton criminal who wishes to take revenge on Filemon by doing a terrible, nameless “something” to him. Professor Bacterio (all characters are visually faithful recreations of the originals) has invented a serum called Reversicine, intended to transform Mortadelo and Filemon into intelligent beings, but Tronchamulas is accidentally injected with it, whereon he becomes gentle and baby-like, also revealing that he is Jimmy’s cousin.

 

The pages of a Mortadelo and Filemon comic book are packed with detail, verbal wit, and visual invention, and on screen this translates into a hyperactivity and breathlessness which is at times almost exhausting: it’s the kind of viewing experience designed to deliver new visual pleasures on a second viewing as the viewer refocuses on the background. Many of these pleasures are satirical Spanish references -- to Spanish reality TV, for example, or even to the failed 1981 coup d’etat -- which will fly over the heads of non-Spanish viewers, as will the constant punning, which will make subtitlers sweat.

 

More seaside postcard than South Park, the humor is appealingly old-fashioned. It's knockabout schoolboy-ish fare which rarely depends on knowing irony for its effects, and which is a little bit sexist, though reinvigorated by the smart use of technology. Fesser has indeed captured the spirit and flavor of the original and his genuine affection for these characters and their world bounces off the screen. But the original cartoons are pretty much lacking in the pathos or tenderness which have played so crucial a part in the adult appeal of the really successful animated films of recent years, and the film is too.

 

What you do get is perfectly-executed cartoon slapstick by the mile, with bodies stretched, smashed and squeezed into all kinds of unlikely shapes, and sequences of technically breathtaking visual wit, particularly through the aerial fight and chase sequences as M & F pursue Jimmy in his rickety helicopter over vast, receding 3D cityscapes. But not once, despite a rather elegant slow-motion sequence involving Cupid and his arrow and the occasional sharply human observation, do things slow down to allow these cartoon characters to stop being characters and to start resembling people.

 

The slick 3D generally feels intrinsic to the effect rather than added-on, whether focusing on the pores of Filemon’s gigantic nose or through the aerial sequences. Music is audible pretty much throughout, underpinning the sense of visual and verbal excess which is the film’s trademark. Voice work is excellent, setting the standard high for the English language version which this highly entertaining duo deserves.

 

By Jonathan Holland

Film Review: 'Flowers'
Dec 10, 2014

An elegantly lensed, heartwarming story of three women unexpectedly brought together by floral bouquets.

 

If Joe Mankiewicz were alive, one could imagine him wanting to remake “Flowers,” with its poignantly old-fashioned premise that also comments on contempo society. Sophomore directors Jon Garano and Jose Mari Goenaga, along with co-scripter Aitor Arregi, could use a little of the Mankiewicz touch in deepening characterization through modulation, but their story of three women unexpectedly brought together by floral bouquets is elegantly lensed and warm-hearted to the core, without getting sappy. A rare Basque-lingo production that could see a European release if marketed right, “Flowers” should also become a staple in Iberian showcases.

 

A trip to the doctor tells Ane (Nagore Aranburu) that she’s more or less fine, apart from early-onset menopause. For this lonely, childless woman, stuck in a less-than-happy marriage to Ander (Egoitz Lasa), the news is just one more finished chapter in her life. Then a bouquet of flowers arrives with no note — who are they from? The question becomes more acute as new arrangements arrive every week. Ane truly doesn’t have a clue who’s sending them, but her whole outlook changes: She now observes the world with curiosity, casting expectant glances at people in public and wondering, “Could it be him?”

 

Audiences know the sender is Benat (Josean Bengoetxea), a crane operator employed by the construction company where Ane is secretary. The sweet-natured, unassuming man is married to Lourdes (Itziar Ituno), a toll-booth worker with a son from a previous marriage and a headache in the form of Benat’s meddling mother, Tere (Itziar Aizpuru). On a rainy night, while heading to pick up his wife, Benat’s car crashes and he’s killed.

 

As unexpectedly as Ane’s flowers appeared, now they’re gone. Meanwhile, Lourdes’ stymied sense of mourning leads her to sweep away all traces of her husband’s presence, and though a suddenly sensitized Tere tries to finally connect with her daughter-in-law, her attempts are rejected. By chance, Ane discovers the identity of her late admirer, and she starts placing flowers of her own once a week at the crash site. Three years later, Benat’s widow and mother encounter the mystery woman with this unexplained floral devotion, with predictably divergent responses.

 

Like the semi-transparent film around a bouquet,

 

Garano and Goenaga (“In 80 Days”) wrap “Flowers” in a layer of discreet melancholy. All three women are unfulfilled, and their unrealized dreams of what life would be like at their age act as a constant irritant. For Bena,t too, marriage isn’t what he anticipated, yet his sweetly romantic though cowardly secret-admirer act is itself a sign of his inability to express his feelings openly. This general lack of communication is reflected not only in the minimal dialogue but also in the way the widescreen lensing isolates the figures, emphasizing their distance from one another.

 

Lourdes’ bitterness lacks fuller motivation, and her character requires more depth, especially as there’s little sign her marriage was ever a love match. A little more of Benat’s psychology would also help (the menfolk are all on the sketchy side), and Tere’s sudden change of heart regarding her daughter-in-law feels too abrupt. But these are minor quibbles about what is, in essence, an affecting story of loss and the ways people cope. The three lead actresses, beautifully cast, form just enough of a contrast to each other to create extratextual tension while maintaining a high degree of sympathy.

 

Javi Agirre Erauso’s spare visuals are complemented by the production design’s earth tones, adding to a sense of interiority, the kind associated with rainy days that go on for weeks. That’s why Ane’s renewed openness to life once she starts receiving the flowers acts as such a pick-me-up.

 

By Jay Weissberg

 

CARMINA & AMEN nominated for Best European Comedy at EFA Awards
Nov 18, 2014

CARMINA & AMEN

Comedy / 2014 / Spanish / 90 min. / Spain

 

We are proud to announce that Carmina & Amen has been nominated for Best European Comedy at the EFA (European Film Academy) Awards.

 

Life and death come together in this outrageously funny and original comedy by comedian Paco León ("Carmina or Blow Up") where he proofs himself a worthy successor of Almodóvar.

Typically Spanish and wonderfully universal, Carmina & Amen joyously breaks taboos and brings back echoes of much-beloved films such as Volver.

 

After the sudden death of her husband, Carmen convinces her daughter, Maria, not to announce his passing until she's been able to get paid the bonus he was due. Over two days, they will have to hide the corpse and mask their mourning within the daily comings and goings of an apartment block in a poor neighborhood in Seville.

 

Cast

Carmina Barrios (Carmina or Blow Up)

María León (Brain Drain, Carmina or Blow Up)

Yolanda Ramos (Volver)

Manolo Solo (Biutiful, Cell 211, Pan's Labyrinth)

Director

Paco León (Carmina or Blow Up)

Producers

Paco León (Carmina or Blow Up)

Álvaro Augustin (Spanish Affair, The Impossible, Cell 211)

Ghislain Barrois (Spanish Affair, The Impossible, Tad: The Lost Explorer)

'Loreak' ('Flowers'): Film Review
Nov 17, 2014

A minimalist Basque-language meditation on romance and remembrance

The memorial flowers left on highway crash sites by the bereaved provoke in us a flash of quickly forgotten reflection as we speed by. With their second feature after 2010’s In 80 Days, Jose Mari Goenaga and Jon Garano have chosen instead to pull over and build a gently melancholic story around one such bunch of flowers. Despite the fears raised by its deceptively banal title, Flowers is an emotionally precise, subtle and quietly gripping exploration of the romance and remembrance that they evoke.

 

This is cinema for grown-ups, as quiet and unshowy as that title, and made for viewers with the life experience making them capable of recognizing its truths - but at the same time accessibly structured, like a thriller. At the very least Flowers, a film which absolutely deserves wider exposure, merits festival attention as one of the best Basque language films ever made.

Under the weather after hearing that she’s started the menopause early, and locked into an unfulfilled marriage with Ander (Egoitz Lasa), construction site office worker Ane (Nagore Aranburu) starts to receive flowers from, presumably, an unknown admirer. While Ander starts to feel jealous, Ane starts to feel better about herself, loses her bracelet, and unsuccessfully sets about uncovering the identity of the sender.

 

Meanwhile, toll booth attendant Lourdes (Itziar Ituno) is married to Benat (Josean Bengoetxea), a crane operator who spends his days working high above the construction site. Lourdes’ relationship with Bernat’s domineering mother Tere (Itziar Aizpuru) is tense, since she feels Lourdes is an unsuitable partner for her son. The viewer is just starting to wonder what these people are doing in Ane’s film when Benat crashes his car and is killed.

At one level it is here that the film really begins, the rest of it a compelling exploration of the emotional fallout of Benat’s crash. The unfortunate Benat, it turns out, will probably have a deeper impact on people’s lives from the morgue to which he’s sent than he ever did when he was alive. It is giving nothing away to say that Ane’s bracelet is found in his crane.

 

Flowers withering and dying is a millennia-long symbol of the ending of love, but Flowers is too clever for that, instead associating the flowers with the death not of love but of the memory of the loved one. Post Benat, Tere wishes to seek reconciliation with Lourdes, but she is rejected as the tight-jawed Lourdes seeks to close down her previous life. Should we seek to forget the tragedies that befall us, like Lourdes, or to remember them, as Tere does? In this, Flowers plays into Spanish social issues of historical memory and forgetting relating to Spain’s Francoist past, something which is briefly alluded to.

 

But happliy the focus remains tightly on the characters and on the capturing the subtle shifts in the relationships between them. The script, which itself feels like something carefully nurtured to maturity, is able to explore the emotional situations it posits right through to their final consequences: the conclusion, which comes via some emotionally supercharged, tremblingly tense dialogue between Ane and Lourdes, brings things elegantly full-circle.

 

Performances are up to the mark, with the boyish-faced Aranburu as the innocent, dreaming Ane, and Iranburu as the determined but damaged Lourdes, managing between them to explore a challengingly broad range of emotions (the men are very much in the background in Flowers). Javi Agirre Erauso’s photography often uses subdued tones to successfully evoke the atmosphere of airless non-communication in which these characters live. Pascal Gaigne’s score subtle string score is sparingly employed, in line with the film’s minimalism.

 

By Jonathan Holland

San Sebastian Film Review: 'Marshland'
Sep 28, 2014

Alberto Rodriguez’s satisfyingly atmospheric neo-noir is steeped in a brooding transitional world of distrust and perversion, though frustration over plot holes could hinder international success.

 

A couple of mismatched cops in the immediate post-Franco era investigate the brutal murders of two teenage girls in Alberto Rodriguez’s satisfyingly atmospheric neo-noir, “Marshland.” Steeped in a brooding transitional world of distrust, perversion, and disillusionment, this stylish thriller from the director of “Unit 7” superbly captures its milieu, yet ultimately isn’t on top of its narrative, which disappoints in the denouement and leaves too many questions unanswered. Bold, award-winning visuals from d.p. Alex Catalan and charismatic leads paper over most of the holes, but lingering frustration over plot points could hinder the film’s international success. Local play should be strong, and a pan-European release is certainly possible.

 

Mesmerizing satellite images of the wetlands around the Guadalquivir River in Spain’s deep south set the tone for something destabilizing, the land-mass patterns resembling a color-dyed brain membrane slice under a microscope. The time is September 1980, five years after Franco’s death, and a moment of deep political volatility. Investigators Pedro (Raul Arevalo) and Juan (Javier Gutierrez) arrive at night in a backwater town amid the rice paddies, during the annual fair. The region is a Franco stronghold: Pedro is disgusted to find a cross with photos of Hitler and the Generalissimo on his hotel room wall, though Juan’s not so bothered.

 

The two are polar opposites: Pedro is of the new generation, left-wing, honest and determined to be a part of a reformed police force. His wife back in Madrid is pregnant, and he’s keen to get back home. Juan, on the other hand, is showily unattached, a cop of the old school quick to pummel an uncooperative witness or genially liquor up possible sources of information. Pedro’s not pleased that he’s been paired with the older detective, especially after being told his new partner regularly shakes down hookers and bar owners.

 

They’re in town investigating the disappearance of teenage sisters Estrella and Carmen, missing for three days. Their angry father, Rodrigo (Antonio de la Torre), offers no support, while their mother, Rocio (Nerea Barros), displays all the signs of an abused wife. When Rodrigo’s back is turned, she gives the cops a letter the girls received, containing a semi-burned negative strip with pornographic shots of the sisters. Later, the girls’ bodies are found naked, sodomized and mutilated in a ditch.

 

Two other unsolved disappearances bear a striking resemblance, and it turns out that all the young women were connected to local stud Quini (Jesus Castro, “El Nino”). Quini’s arrogance is provoking, but his DNA doesn’t match that of the semen found on the bodies. Still, his predilection for teen girls is troubling, and his relationship with the sisters’ peer Marina (Ana Tomeno) sends up red flags, especially when the detectives realize there’s someone else joining their rendezvous in an isolated hunting lodge.

 

Various leitmotifs run through “Marshland,” adding to the unsettled atmosphere. All the young woman yearn to move out of this godforsaken corner, making them especially vulnerable to promises of employment elsewhere. In addition, labor unrest forms a constant background element, adding to the sense of deep societal instability that makes the air ripe for exploitation and sadism. The problem is that, too often, Rodriguez lavishes more attention on mood than character: A disillusioned sleazy journalist (Manolo Solo) is just a stereotype, and the local factory owner, sketchily drawn, is too easy a villain. A drug-running subtheme doesn’t go anywhere; nor does the red-herring psychic who temporarily threatens to turn the pic into a Spanish “Angel Heart.”

 

Far better is the uneasy relationship between Pedro and Juan. As the investigation progresses, Pedro’s intensity flares into sudden violence, akin to Juan’s well-trained, almost blase recourse to brutality. Juan’s behavior is tied to his years as a cop under the Franco regime, but Pedro’s darkness, while partly stemming from his intolerance for the dictatorship, is also infected by the fascist society he grew up in, and escaping its legacy inside himself isn’t so easy.

 

As Pedro, Arevalo’s brooding is perhaps taken just a bit too far, though it acts as a good counterpoint to Juan’s mysterious calm assurance, masking a deep unpleasantness; no doubt it’s this shading that led to Gutierrez winning the best actor prize in San Sebastian. The fest also awarded Catalan’s superb cinematography, capturing in menacing detail the disquieting landscape of the delta. From a heart-racing nighttime car chase to torrential evening downpours, visuals and editing combine to coax out all the disconcerting elements of the region, trapped by the past’s inescapable corruption.

 

By Jay Weissberg


Film Factory Swoops on 'Ixcanul'
Sep 24, 2014

Bustamante's debut, produced by Edgard Tenembaum, a standout at San Sebastian's F'ms in Progress

SAN SEBASTIAN –Spain’s Film Factory Ent. has swooped on world sales rights to Jayro Bustamante’s “Ixcanul,” a standout in San Sebastian Fest’s pix-in-post competition, Films in Progress, which wrapped Wednesday at the Spanish Festival.

 

Deal excludes Central America, France and Switzerland. Struck at San Sebastian with “Ixcanul” producer Edgard Tenembaum, at Paris-based Tu Vas Voir, and Bustamante, also a producer, the sales pact was made on a title which was enthusiastically received at 2014’s Films in Progress for its ability to combine entertainment with a impacting and informed presentation of the abuses and lack of freedom suffered by women in rural parts of Guatemala.

 

“Ixcanul” ended up with a Films in Progress Special Mention, the equivalent of a Special Jury Prize in larger competitions.

 

Vicente Canales’ Film Factory, a Barcelona-based sales house, already handles a slew of the most prominent Spanish arthouse/crossover and genre titles: Two Film Factory sales titles, “Marshland” and “Loreak” (Flowers) play San Sebastian’s main competition.  Added to Film Factory’s handling of Argentine Damian Szifron’s “Wild Tales,” a Cannes competition, Telluride, Toronto and now San Sebastian player, and the “Ixcanul” deal confirms Film Factory’s interest in moving in forcefully on select Latin American titles that enthuse founder Canales.

 

Written by Bustamante, who grew up in the Guatemalan highlands where “Ixcanul” is set, his debut feature first portrays the daily existence of a 17-year-old Kaqchiqel girl living in a village in the foothills of a volcano, Ixcanul, who faces an arranged marriage with the overseer of the local lands. But she falls under the spell of Pepe, a young plantation worker who enthralls her with talk of emigrating to the U.S.  When Pepe leaves alone, he also leaves Maria pregnant.

 

Her dishonor levels up “Ixcanul’s” narrative drive. She attempts ever more desperate remedies to redeem herself and her family in the village’s eyes until she is rushed to hospital in the city, finally makes contact with the modern world she has dreamed of living in. Its treatment of her, however, delivers a shocking finale.

 

Bustamante commented: “Ixcanul” turns on the “impossibility of an underage woman, who is Kaqchikel and lives far from a big city to determine her own destiny.”

 

“Gabriel Garcia Marquez embodied magic realism, Unfortunately, a more appropriate term for Guatemala would often be tragic realism.”

 

“’Ixcanul’ is the best film by a large head that I saw this week at San Sebastian,” Canales told Variety at the Spanish Festival.

 

“It’s original, unique, powerful, can have a great festival run and sales in specialized circuits and to distributors who want to bet on a film which is new and authentic.”

 

“I am very happy to think ‘Icanul’s’ in such good hands. The film will go far. Jayro Bustamante, despite his young age, has a sensitivity and maturity which is extraordinary,” Tenembaum added.

 

Tenembaum’s producer credits include Walter Salles’ “The Motorcycle Diaries” and Cuban Pavel Giroud’s upcoming “The Companion,” now in pre-production, which won the EGEDA best project award at 2013’s San Sebastian’s 2nd Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum.


Cannibal wins the 'Melies d'argent
Sep 22, 2014

We are proud to announce that

 

CANNIBAL, by Manuel Martín Cuenca, receives the “Melies d'argent" ( Prix du Jury) at the European Fantastic Film Festival in Strasbourg and so will enter the competition in Sitges for the “Melies d'or”.

Marshland review by By Fionnuala Halligan, Screen
Sep 22, 2014

Marshland (La Isla Minima), a strikingly handsome period cop drama from Alberto Rodriguez (7 Virgins and hit Spanish period crime film Unit 7), places two mis-matched and troubled detectives in the atmospheric Andaluz swamplands, where they lead a hunt for a serial killer of teenage girls.

 

Although their case is uniquely set against the backdrop of civil unrest in the wake of Franco’s death and the slow, suspicious end of Spain’s dictatorship and transition to democracy, Marshland still treads some very familiar ground, most recently worked over by TV’s True Detective. The film premiered in Official Selection at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

 

However, while the story occasionally feels like an old friend, Marshland’s terrain is most emphatically new. The swampy lowlands at the mouth of Spain’s Guadalquivir River, as lensed by cinematographer Alex Catalan, help liberate the film from its genre moorings to produce a striking new form of Southern Gothic. The detectives may plod through the tropes but this vibrant milieu could connect with genre audiences.

 

Rodriguez lays out the routine bones of his plot against a unique backdrop:  it is 1980, and an impoverished rural Spain is beginning to emerge from the repressive shadow of Franco. Young people are leaving their repressed lives in the town of Villa-Franco del Guadalquivir (Marshland was filmed around the Donana National Park, in Carmona) in the hope of a better future. Democracy beckons. Women, in particular, are attracted by the prospect of liberation and the chance to work in the nearby, permissive Costa Del Sol. They are becoming more sexually active.

 

But two teenage sisters have disappeared and detectives Pedro (Raul Arevalo) and Juan (Javier Gutierrez) are reluctantly sent in from Madrid to the marshland to find them. The local Guardia Civil would clearly be happy to let the matter rest, as the girls have a reputation for being “loose”. Righteous Pedro is young and outspoken and this trip is a punishment for him – he wants to be sent back to Madrid where his wife is about to have a baby. The more experienced Juan is happy to cross the line whenever necessary.

 

After some very awkward if not outright hokey sequences involving a “psychic” fisherwoman and a visit to the girls’ glowering, monosyllabic parents, the brutally violated bodies of the twins turn up in the swamp and the murder hunt is on. The rice harvest is late and trouble is stirring amongst the local workforce who take to the streets with their noisy protests. It soon transpires that other girls of a similar age have gone missing in the past but the authorities have turned a blind eye.

 

Now Pedro and Juan, with their differing methods and mutual distrust, must deal with a rising body count, their potentially corrupt boss, and locals who play their cards fatally close to their chest. In the best Gothic tradition, everyone is suspicious – of their husband, neighbour, child, employer, in what turns out to be a lawless environment which is as black as noir.

 

As a policier, Marshland is competent if predictable, although it slams its way home with a pleasingly inconclusive finale. The two male leads are dependable anchors and, despite some early tonal issues, Rodriguez pulls a solid narrative out of an obvious set-up. What lends Marshland heft is its political nuance and outstanding art direction, both of which seem unlikely to go unnoticed in the international marketplace. Alex Catalan, for one, must surely be recognised for a technical ambition which dwarves many more lavishly-funded films in the international marketplace.

Wild Tales is still #1 in after four weeks
Sep 19, 2014

WILD TALES

 

Thriller Comedy / 2014 / Spanish / Completed / Spain-Argentina coproduction 

 

 

Wild Tales is still #1 in after four weeks

 

It has brought in 2M admissions in Argentina on 330 screens, four times that of the #2

 

The film is very close to start smashing all box-office records!!

 

 

WILD TALES is an intense, outrageous and darkly funny multiple-story film coproduced by Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar’s El Deseo in Spain and K&S in Argentina and directed by enfant terrible Damián Szifron.

 

WILD TALES is made up of six separate stories. The drive for success, vertigo, competition and the inequality of the world we live in causes many people to be stressed out or depressed. Some burst. This is a film about them.

  

Director

Damián Szifron (On Probation)

Production Companies

Kramer & Sigman Films

El Deseo

Producers

Matías Mosteirín (7th Floor, The Last Elvis)

Esther García (I’m So Excited, The Skin I Live In)

Music

Gustavo Santaolalla (Babel, Brokeback Mountain)

 

Cast

Ricardo Darín (The Secret in Their Eyes, Chinese Take-Away)

Óscar Martínez (Empty Nest)

Darío Grandinetti (Talk to Her)

Leonardo Sbaraglia (Red Lights)

Rita Cortese (Brother and Sister)

Julieta Zylberberg (A Boyfriend for My Wife)

Erica Rivas (Lock Charmer)

 

 

Screenings at San Sebastian International Film Festival’s Pearls section

 

PUBLIC SCREENINGS

Sep 25 (Thu) 6:30pm @ Teatro Victoria Eugenia

Sep 26 (Fri) 12am @ Kursaal, 2

Sep 26 (Fri) 10:45pm @ Antiguo Berri

Sep 26 (Fri) 8:30pm @ Príncipe, 7

 

PRESS SCREENING

Sep 25 (Thu) 11:30am @ Teatro Victoria Eugenia

Film Factory Takes San Sebastian Competition Player 'Flowers'
Sep 1, 2014

Bulwarking its already powerful Spanish pic lineup, Film Factory Entertainment has acquired world sales rights to “Flowers” (“Loreak”), a flagship contempo Basque movie production.

 

Made by Film Factory’s Vicente Canales Monday, the pick-up announcement comes just four days before the Toronto Festival, where “Loreak” will be screened to buyers.

 

Produced by Irusoin and Moriarti, “Flowers” then world premieres at Spain’s San Sebastian Festival, where it will be the first movie ever shot in Basque to play in the Festival’s main competition.

 

A suspense drama about longing and crossed identities from writer-director duo Jon Garano and Jose Mari Goenaga, “Flowers” turns on three women who lives are changed by the presence of flowers.

 

Ana’s life takes a turn, for example, when she begins to receive weekly flowers from an anonymous sender; Tere and Lourdes’ lives are also affected after a weekly bouquet appears at the scene of a car accident in memory of someone important in their lives.

 

Garano and Goenaga commented: “According to the context in which they’re given, who sees or receives them, the meaning of flowers can change radically. Something so empty in principle of meaning as flowers can become the most certain of messages and change the recipient’s reality,” the directors commented.

 

“Flowers” is a beautiful film and it perfectly suits our slate of quality films with commercial potential. This film has something special truly different, just what buyers are looking for,” said Film Factory’s Vicente Canales.

 

“The latest from the directors of the international award-winning ‘For 80 Days,’ ‘Flowers’ confirms the talent of these up-and-coming directors of high-quality films from Spain,” added producer Xabier Berzosa, adding that “Flowers” also turns on “memory, how the passage of time makes people interpret things in a different way and the only valid thing is reconciliation, with the world and oneself.”

 

“Flowers” was co-written by Aitor Arregi. Production houses Moriarti and Irusoin, producer Berzosa, d.p. Javier Agirre Erauso and editor Raul Lopez all repeat from “For 80 Days,” Garano and Goenaga’s groundbreaking debut.

 

The story of a seventy-something farmer’s wife who rediscovers lesbian desire after reconnecting with a friend from her youth, “Days” screened at over 100 festivals, including Karlovy Vary, San Sebastian, Cairo and the Montreal World Film Festival. It won over 30 kudos, including the San Sebastian Film Commission Prize and and Sebastiane Prize for best LGBT movie, making it the most-laurelled of Basque-language films to date, Berzosa said.

 

Sold by the producers, then sales company Latido, “Days” wracked up multiple international sales, especially in Europe, where it closed France, Germany, Scandinavia, Germany and Russia, among major territories. In France, Epicentre released “80 Days” in Basque on more Basque-language copies than it enjoyed bowing in Spain.

 

“Flowers” high-profile berth at the most international of Spanish-world festivals is a natural step-up. “Flowers” looks set for another strong fest run after San Sebastian.

 

By John Hopewell

Messi
Aug 29, 2014

A must for fans of the beautiful game, Alex de la Iglesia’s absorbing and fascinating documentary about Argentinean soccer legend Lionel Messi by its very nature flies close to hagiography, but the sheer enthusiasm of the people interviewed for Messi’s sublime skills win through in the end. A possible theatrical release in Spanish-speaking territories where football rules, it would have naturally benefited from an Argentina win at the recent World Cup, but the subject matter – and de la Iglesia’s strong reputation – should guarantee further festival screenings.

 

Spanish director, Álex de la Iglesia raises issues about his difficulties winning supporters of the national team; comparisons with Diego Maradona and hints at the darker side of Messi.

 

Shot in Barcelona, Buenos Aires and Messi’s hometown of Rosario in Argentina, the film follows the young Messi from his elementary school and the club where he played his first official match, recreating some key scenes of his life for the film, through to fame and fortune with F.C. Barcelona in Spain and with his national team.

 

The film blends recreations of Messi’s younger days with a number of actors playing the young talent as he rose through the ranks at his local club (in a similar was to recent golfing biopic Seve, but shot in a far better fashion) a familiar format of talking heads debating the man and the player. But Messi uses a different format in that the interviewees are shot in a plush restaurant, eating and drinking as they tell Messi stories.

 

Always small for his age, his height didn’t stop the youngster from becoming a free-scoring player for local team Newell’s Old Boys. This is the recreations work well, as the film charts his determination and skill set alongside snippets of actual video footage and interviews with friends, teachers and coaches at the club. It became clear he needed hormone injections every day to aid his growth, and while his parents initially did their best the ultimate option became linked with his footballing career. He went for trials over in Spain at F.C. Barcelona on the understanding they would pay for his treatment.

 

Clearly things worked out, and thanks to fascinating footage of the young talent in Spain the film charts his journey to be one of the greatest soccer players of all time, winning four FIFA Golden Balls and 2014 World Cup Golden Ball.

 

Spanish director, Álex de la Iglesia (who made dramas such as As Luck Would Have It and Witching & Bitching) raises issues about his difficulties winning supporters of the national team; comparisons with Diego Maradona and hints at the darker side of Messi (who only appears in old interviews and only ever comes across as ordinary), but in the end is happy to let those who knew him – as a child or as an adult player – try and explain just how exceptional he is.

 

By Mark Adams, chief film critic

Shrew's Nest - Official Selection at TIFF's Vanguard, Fantastic Fest (Austin) and Sitges Film Festival
Aug 12, 2014

We are proud to announce that Shrew's Nest has been selected at the Toronto International Film Festival's Vanguard section, Fantastic Fest (Austin) and Sitges Film Festival.

The screenings schedule will soon be announced. 

 

Master Director & Producer Álex de la Iglesia, presents this distressing claustrophobic horror-suspense film to take the audience on the edge of anguish.

 

Spain, 1950s. Montse's agoraphobia keeps her locked in a sinister apartment in Madrid and her only link to reality is the little sister she lost her youth raising. But one day, a reckless young neighbor, Carlos, falls down the stairwell and drags himself to their door. Someone has entered the shrew's nest... perhaps he'll never leave.

 

Directors

Juanfer Andrés

Esteban Roel (Crematorium)

Producers

Álex de la Iglesia

Carolina Bang

Kiko Martínez

 

Cast

Macarena Gómez (Sexy Killer, Witching & Bitching)

Nadia de Santiago (Niños Robados)

Luis Tosar (Sleep Tight, Cell 211)

Hugo Silva (Witching & Bitching)

Film Factory Takes Alex de la Iglesia's 'Messi'
Aug 1, 2014

Mediapro-produced portrait of soccer genius selected as closing film at Venice Days

BOURG MADAME, France – Forging a partnership with Mediapro, one of Spain’s most prominent producers of international art house auteurs, Film Factory has acquired world sales rights outside Spain to “Messi,” a docu portrait of one of soccer’s all-time greats.

 

Completed, and shown in June at a press screening in Rio, “Messi” will world premiere at Venice Days, where it has been selected as the closing film of the section. Film Factory will also screen it at the Toronto Festival.

 

“Messi” marks the first venture into docu filmmaking of Spain’s Alex de Iglesia, helmer of titles – 1995’s seminal “The Day of the Beast” and a string of other hits – “Common Wealth,” “Ferpect Crime,” most recently 2013’s “Witching & Bitching” – which yoke a Spanish comedy tradition and genre tropes and American pacing and VFX and graphic novel inspiration.

 

Written by Jorge Valdano, a former Argentine soccer player, sports journalist and manager and sports director of Real Madrid’s soccer-club, “Messi” ask whether the soccer player’s genius is nature or nurture.

 

De La Iglesia’s answer is both: One theme of the film is the sacrifice and determination necessary to become the first soccer player in history to win four FIFA Golden Balls, as well as the World Cup Golden Ball.

 

Two examples: As a child, Messi was labeled “The Flee” for his diminutive size that many thought ruled him out of major league soccer. Messi injected himself to treat growth-hormone deficiency; his family stayed with him for three months in a Barcelona hotel, while they attempted to get him a trial at the soccer club. Perseverance paid off: At the age of 24 – a decade before many soccer players retire, Messi became Barcelona’s all-time top scorer.

 

Lensing in Buenos Aires, Rosario and Barcelona, De La Iglesia has interviewed Argentine soccer solons such as Cesar Luis Menotti, the coach of its winning 1978 World Cup team, Alejandro Sabella, the coach of Argentina’s World Cup side; Barcelona team-mates Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano; and Johan Cruyff, the first originator of the multi-passing, position changing, pressure-up-field game which Barcelona, led on field by Messi, developed and used under Pep Guardiola’s management to win the Champions League, Liga, Copa del Rey, Spain Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup, all in 2009.

 

But the shoot also took in recreated scenes from Messi’s childhood and youth in his native city of Rosario, his primary school and the club where he played his first official soccer match, plus first-hand testimony of his friends, family, and primary school teachers. Second half of the film charts Messi’s rise to greatness at Barcelona.

 

“As a soccer lover, in my humble opinion, Messi is the best footballer in the world. I know this film will surprise buyers all over the world and will help them get to know and understand the secrets of this world-renowned star,” said Film Factory’s Vicente Canales.

 

He added: “It’s a luxury and a privilege to be able to work with Mediapro, a great production company with international prestige and vision.”

 

“We are proud of have joined in the film the talents of both Alex de la Iglesia and Leo Messi,” said Javier Mendez, head of Mediapro’s content division. “We are also very happy of starting this new venture with Vicente Canales and his team at Film Factory,” he added.

 

Spain’s biggest independent production, rights-holding and services conglom, Mediapro produced Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” and “Midnight in Paris,” as well as Oliver Stone’s “Comandante,” Roman Polanski’s “Carnage,” Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “His Majesty Minor” and Isabel Coixet’s “The Secret Life of Words.”

 

Mediapro is post-producing “A Perfect Day,” acclaimed Spanish director Fernando Leon de Aranoa’s English-language feature debut, toplining Benicio del Toro, Tim Robbins, Olga Kurylenko and Melanie Thierry. A humor-laced conflict-zone drama-thriller, “Perfect Day” marks Mediapro’s third co-production project with Leon de Aranoa’s outfit Reposado, after “Princesses” and “Amador.”

 

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Cannes competition player 'Wild Tales'
May 16, 2014

In one of the high-profile deals announced early during Cannes, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North America and Australia/New Zealand rights to Damian Szifron’s buzzed-up Cannes Competion entry “Wild Tales.”

 

Spain’s Film Factory is selling “Wild Tales” at Cannes.

 

Directed by Damian Szifron, “Wild Tales” was described by Cannes Festival chief Thierry Fremaux as a “very unique, personal and different cinema that should wake up the Croisette.”

 

“Wild Tales” is written and directed by Argentinean filmmaker Damian Szifron and produced by Hugo Sigman, Pedro Almodovar and Agustin Almodovar, with Matias Mosteirin and Esther Garcia executive producing.

 

Szifron is best known for a TV series Los Simuladores (“The Pretenders”), produced for Argentine broadcaster Telefe and remade for Mexico’s Televisa by Sony Pictures Television Intl. He broke through to critical attention with 2003’s “Bottom of the Sea,” a tale of obsessive jealousy. 2005’s “On Probation,” a cop-psychiatrist buddy movie, became a cult item, but saw limited sales abroad.

 

Made up of six stories, “Wild Tales” turns on the contemporary world’s drive for success, the adrenaline-kick, vertigo, competition, causing people to stress out or be depressed. Some burst. “Wild Tales” is about them: a fresco of rage, fury, deception, revenge.

 

“Wild Tales” also marks a significant step-up in budget, production values and cast for Szifron, starring many of Argentina’s most admired and best-known actors, led by Ricardo Darin, the lead in Juan Jose Campanella’s Oscar-winning “The Secret in Their Eyes.”

 

Also in the cast: Oscar Martinez (“Empty Nest”), Leonardo Sbaraglia (“Red Lights,” “King of the Hill”), Erica Rivas (“Tetro”), Rita Cortese (“The Inheritance”), Julieta Zylberberg (“The Invisible Eye”) and Dario Grandinetti (“Talk To Her”).

 

Argentine Double Academy Award winner Gustavo Santaolalla (“Babel,” “Brokeback Mountain”) composed the score.

 

“Wild Tales’ is electrifying a film as they come. It is with tremendous excitement that we join our dear friends Pedro, Agustin, Esther, Barbara and the entire El Deseo team, along with Hugo, Matias and K& S and Vicente Canales to introduce the wild and wacky world of Damian Szifron to the American Audience,” said Sony Pictures Classics.

 

The Sony Pictures Classics acquisition is the second significant recent Hollywood studio deal on “Wild Tales,” confirming its status as one of Cannes’ breakout sales titles. Warner Bros. Pictures Intl. – which rarely picks up foreign-language films – closed France a few weeks before Cannes, having already acquired rights to Spain and Latin America.

 

“We always believed in Kramer Sigman that ‘Wild Tales’ has a universal message and this agreement with Sony Pictures Classics confirms this idea,” said K & S founder Hugo Sigman.

 

“We are very happy Sony Pictures Classics is taking care of ‘Wild Tales” U.S. distribution. After so many years working together, we have no doubt they will be the best bridge between the American audience and Daniel Szifron’s film, as they’ve been with our films before,” said Agustin and Pedro Almodovar.

 

By John Hopewell

CANNES: Film Factory to Distribute Romance 'Palm Trees in the Snow'
May 14, 2014

As Cannes kicks off, Film Factory has closed world sales rights to romance “Palm Trees in the Snow”. Pic is backed by “Buried” producer Adrian Guerra and Atresmedia Cine, whose credits include Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “I Want You” and “Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang.”

 

Warner Bros. will release “Palm Trees” in Spain on 500 screens in December 2015. Principal photography kicks off in July in Spain and Colombia. Film Factory presents a teaser promo at Cannes.

 

One of Spain’s biggest productions of the year, “Palm Trees” is written by “The Impossible” and “Orphanage” scribe Sergio Sanchez. It’s set in the last days of the Spanish colonies in Africa, following a star-crossed love, with the consequences of that love reaching into the 21st century.

 

Fernando Gonzalez Molina directs, coming off Spanish box office hits “Three Meters Above the Sky” and “I Want You”. “Palm Trees” stars two of Spain’s young marquee draws: Mario Casas, who has grown a following in key markets such as Russia and Latin America after toplining “Three Meters” and “I Want You”; and Adriana Ugarte, star of hit period TV drama “The Time in Between” and Daniel Calparsoro’s movie “Combustion”, which sold to most of the world. An actress winner at San Sebastian for “Blancanieves,” Macarena Garcia co-stars.

 

By John Hopewell

Wild Tales - Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival
Apr 15, 2014

WILD TALES

aka Relatos Salvajes

 

Thriller Comedy / 2013 / Spanish / 100 min. / Spain-Argentina coproduction 

 

We are proud to announce that Wild Tales has been selected at the Cannes Film Festival, Official Selection - In Competition.

 

Official Selection and market screenings will be announced soon.

 

WILD TALES is made up of six separate stories. The drive for success, vertigo, competition and the inequality of the world we live in causes many people to be stressed out or depressed. Some burst. This is a film about them.

 

WILD TALES is an intense, outrageous and darkly funny multiple-story film coproduced by Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar’s El Deseo in Spain and K & S in Argentina and directed by enfant terrible Damián Szifron.

 

Director: Damián Szifron (On Probation)

Production Companies: El Deseo, Kramer & Sigman Films

Producers: Matías Mosteirín (7th Floor, The Last Elvis), Esther García (I’m So Excited, The Skin I Live In) 

Music: Gustavo Santaolalla (Babel, Brokeback Mountain)

Theatrical Release: August 2014 by Warner

 

Cast

Ricardo Darín (The Secret in Their Eyes, Chinese Take-Away)

Óscar Martínez (Empty Nest)

Darío Grandinetti (Talk to Her)

Leonardo Sbaraglia (Red Lights)

Rita Cortese (Brother and Sister)

Julieta Zylberberg (A Boyfriend for My Wife)

Erica Rivas (Lock Charmer)

 

'Spanish Affair' Becomes Box Office Phenom in Spain
Mar 31, 2014

Title now the highest-grossing release in Spain of 2014

 

MADRID – Spain’s “Ocho apellidos vascos” (Spanish Affair), distributed by Universal Pictures International Spain, continues to rewrite record books in Spain.

 

In its third frame, over March 28-30, Emilio Martinez Lazaro’s romantic comedy grossed €5.5 million ($7.6 million), in Spain, 24% up on its second weekend, and 95% up on its opening three days, per Rentrak provisional figures.

 

Total cume through March 30 stood at €16.5 million ($22.7 million).

 

“In the last 17 years, I have never seen any Number One film perform like this in Spain, Spanish or foreign,” said Arturo Guillen, Rentrak VP, EMEA.

 

“Spanish Affair” is produced by Telecinco Cinema, the film production arm of broadcast network group Mediaset Espana, and Gonzalo and Ignacio Salazar-Simpson’s Madrid-based Lazona (“No Rest For the Wicked”), Film Factory Entertainment handles international sales rights.

 

By John Hopewell


Spanish Affair breaks Spanish box office records
Mar 17, 2014

 

Emilio Martinez-Lazaro romantic comedy Spanish Affair (Ocho apellidos vascos) has taken €2.83m ($3.9m) from 400 screens in its first three days.

 

It marks the biggest opening for a Spanish film in nearly 18 months since the mammoth $13.1m taken by Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible after just four days.

 

Spanish Affair, distributed by Univeral Pictures Intl. Spain, has been acquired by Vincente Canales’ Film Factor for international sales.

 

The film was produced by Telecinco Cinema, La Zona Film and Wowalski.

 

It marks the return of local comedy to the top of the box office, after a period in which genre films such as Three Many Weddings and Witching & Bitching ruled over other local fare.

 

TeleCinco head producer Alvaro Agustín said: “This return to comedy is linked to cycles in production and public preference.

 

“This is a very difficult period for Spanish people and it’s clear that the audience expect to have a good time when they go to see a film”.

 

Spanish Affair centres on youngsters Amaia (Clara Lago) and Rafa (Dani Rovira) who fall in love in Seville. But Amaia belongs to a small, nationalist Basque village in the north of Spain and Rafa is a pure Andalusian. To gain Amaia’s father favour, Rafa pretends to be Basque.

 

With nationalist tensions in Spain in a high, Agustín thinks “this contrast happens in almost every countr and I am sure that international audiences will understand the culture clash we are portraying”.

 

Speaking about director Martínez-Lázaro and writers Borja Coebaga and Diego San Jose, Agustín said: “This is a very good team. We need the fresh touch of these scriptwriters combined with the elements of a classic romantic comedy”.

 

The major marketing campaign led by Telecinco, which boasts seven TV channels, has also boosted its taking. “I think we have had great materials for the film and communicated very well the good spirit of the film,” he added.

 

By Juan Sardà

'Spanish Affair' Sets Box Office Records in Spain
Mar 17, 2014

Romantic comedy taps into craving for comedy, underscores the importance of TV partners in promotion

MADRID –Distributed by Universal Pictures Intl. Spain, Spanish romantic comedy “8 apellidos vascos” (Spanish Affair) has punched the best domestic opening of any film this year: grossing €2.83 million ($3.9 million) off 400 screens its first three days, per Rentrak.

 

“Affair’s’” first weekend is also the best for any Spanish film in nearly a year and a half, since Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Impossible” made an extraordinary four-day opening of $13.1 million – on its way to a final $54.5 million trawl.

 

Vicente Canales’ Film Factory has acquired international rights to the comedy hit.

 

What’s particularly impressive about “Affair’s” bow is its timing. At least 23 movies bowed to €5 million plus in Spain over 2006-12.

 

That was then. Spain’s box office sagged terribly in 2013, as the consequences of crisis bit ever deeper into Spanish wallets, and has shown little recovery this year: Of high-profile titles, “300: Rise of an Empire” set the bar for the best bow in 2013 with $3.7 million. “The Wolf of Wall Street” grossed a first-frame $3.6 million, Scorsese’s biggest bow ever in Spain; “The Lego Movie” made $2.0 million.

 

Helmed by vet Emilio Martinez-Lazaro, written by Diego San Jose and Borja Cobeaga, who made a highly promising debut with 2009’s “Pagafantas,” “Affair” turns on Rafa, who’s never once thought of leaving his beloved Seville in Spain’s deep south until he meets Amaia, from a village in the Basque Country, in Spain’s deep North. Rafa is willing to perform the impossible to conquer her: leave Seville or pretend to be Basque.

 

For decades, one way Spanish filmmakers put down a film was to call it “very commercial.”

 

“ ‘Spanish Affair’ is a clear example of the new Spanish cinema that doesn’t have any problem is being thought of as entertainment,” said Arturo Guillen, Rentrak VP, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “It rests on some of the keys of success of sagas such as ‘Torrente,’ which find humor in discomfiting aspects of our own culture.”

 

Toplining two femme stars with strong marquee value – TV icon Carmen Machi, whose skeins “7 Vidas” and “Aida” ran for 12 years in Spain, and Clara Lago (“I Want You,” “The Hidden Face”), “Affair” marks another hit for Telecinco Cinema, which co-produced “The Impossible,” “The Orphanage,” “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Tad, the Lost Explorer.” Telecinco teamed with LazonaFilms and Kowalkski Films to produce “Affair.”

 

Telecinco Cinema’s parent company, broadcast group Mediaset Espana, was able to put its huge marketing muscle behind the release of “Affair.”

 

“Though not pretentious. ‘Spanish Affair’ is a film where the romance and the humor both work. As a product, it’s very well-rounded,” said Ghislain Barrois, Telecinco Cinema CEO. “It was also helped by the colossal campaign by Mediaset Espana across its eight TV channels, starting with New Year’s Eve commercials, and including promos in the recent Spain-Italy soccer match and extensive news coverage.”

 

Also, “ ‘Spanish comedy appears to be enjoying a Golden Age, at the moment,” said Pau Brunet, at boxoffice.es, citing “Family United” and above all “Three Many Weddings,” which grossed $8.5 million in Spain. “There’s a tremendous craving for this kind of movie: People don’t want to see movies where they suffer.”

 

Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this report.

Weinstein Co. Buys Animated Foosball, Re-Titled as Underdogs
Mar 17, 2014

The Weinstein Co. has acquired rights in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and France to Argentinian toon Foosball.

 

Juan Jose Campanella’s animated feature will be re-titled Underdogs

and released in English by TWC.

 

Foosball was released in July in Argentina.

Underdogs will get a wide theatrical release on Aug. 27

and will voices of several notable Hollywood actors.

 

Underdogs centers on a reluctant hero whose town is threatened

when his long-time rival returns home to avenge an old grudge.

When the players from his foosball table are magically brought to life,

he recruits them to help him enter into an underdog match

to save the town and win back the love of his life.

 

“This film’s magical story, heart and humor, along with its top notch animation,

truly resonated with us and is sure to captivate parents just as much as it will their children,”

said Harvey Weinstein. “We’re incredibly excited to share it with audiences

here in the US and around the world.”

 

The deal was negotiated by TWC by David Glasser and Michal Steinberg

with producer Jorge Estrada Mora on behalf of the filmmakers.

 

Campanella co-wrote and directed Foosball, inspired by the short story

“Memorias de un wing derecho” (Memoirs of a Right Wing)

by Argentine writer Roberto Fontanarrosa. The film costs $21 million,

making it most expensive Argentine film ever. 

 

By Dave McNary - Variety

Film Review: Cannibal
Mar 3, 2014

Antonio de la Torre is brilliant as a killer and eater of young women in Manuel Martin Cuenca's sumptuously lensed psychological drama.

 

Ronnie Scheib

 

The title of “Cannibal,” Spanish helmer Manuel Martin Cuenca’s fifth feature, is not merely figurative. Its hero, brilliantly incarnated by Antonio de la Torre, kills and consumes beautiful young women, and unlike other same-species carnivores, he pursues his solitary avocation with the same measured deliberation with which he plies his craft as a high-end tailor. Sumptuously shot in carefully composed long takes, the film firmly keeps its butchery offscreen, and given its glacial pace and lack of overt sensationalism, it definitely ranks as a niche item — and a rarefied one, at that. But sophisticated arthouse audiences might eat it up.

 

Cuenca opens his film with a murder. In extreme long shot, a couple at a gas station get into their car and drive off, at which point the camera’s viewpoint is revealed as that of Carlos (de la Torre). He forces them off the road, taking the woman’s body from the wreck to his chalet in the snow-covered mountains, where he reverently lays her nude body on a table, selecting the tools for her dismemberment. A single, sinuous ribbon of blood flowing alongside her immaculate corpse is the film’s only visualization of what follows.

 

Cuenca offers no explanation for his hero’s peculiar predilection, though it sometimes seems to represent a form of love, sexual communion or even transubstantiation, not unlike that enunciated by a priest while offering the host in a church-set mass.  Certainly religious symbolism abounds in Granada, where Carlos resides in a spacious apartment opposite his tailor shop. But religion may serve as just another ritual, like tailoring or vivisecting a body, which speaks to Carlos’ sense of precision and order. Indeed, if Carlos made a film, it would probably look like this one.

 

When sexy Romanian blonde Alexandra (Olimpia Melinte) moves into an upstairs apartment, her music and loud arguments, or even her simple presence, draw Carlos to watch her from his window. But when she invades his apartment, seeking help and prying into his secrets, only a fade to black (one of the film’s many such discreet ellipses) marks her disappearance from the scene.

 

Shortly afterward, Alexandra’s dark-haired, quieter sister, Nina (also thesped by Melinte), comes to Carlos looking for clues to her sibling’s whereabouts. Setting aside his usual need to keep a low profile, Carlos becomes more and more involved with Nina’s quest and Nina herself, squiring her to the police station or sharing a vegetarian dinner. Finally he invites her to his mountain retreat on a trip that proves continually and surprisingly life-changing.

 

The film’s slow deliberation and aesthetic rigor act as a form of seduction, luring the viewer into unwilling identification with Carlos; the immensely satisfying balance of the compositions somehow extends to the character (or vice versa), his monstrousness as carefully hidden by Cuenca as by Carlos himself. A quietly crafted harmony of surfaces and colors suffuses lenser Pau Esteve Birba’s every frame, whether we’re looking at a snowy mountain vista, an exquisitely ordered tailor shop or a nude body about to be cut up.

 

Although the scenery varies greatly, the northern chalet of Carlos’ “other life” is shot with the same painterly meticulousness as the warm interiors of Carlos’ old-world urban respectability. Here, as in Matteo Garrone’s “First Love,” about a goldsmith’s obsessive need to sculpt his lover’s body through starvation, aestheticism aligns itself with carnal perversion.

 

Film Factory Launches Genre Label for Spanish Scarefare
Feb 7, 2014

Film Factory’s Vicente Canales, one of Europe’s most experienced genre pic sellers, has launched a genre label, Fear Factory, focusing on European – especially Spanish – and Latin America scarefare.

 

Unveiled at Berlin’s European Film Market, Fear Factory’s first slate includes “Shrew’s Nest”, godfathered by Alex de la Iglesia, “Purgatory”, from “The Impossible” producer Apaches Ent., and “Damned Friday”, helmed by [REC] director Paco Plaza.

 

Set up at Pokeepsie Films, the new production house of De la Iglesia and actress Carolina Bang, the ’50 Spain-set “Shrew’s Nest” turns on a agoraphobic woman (Macarena Gomez) who cares on her own for her small sister. Years pass until an attractive man (Hugo Silva) knocks on her door, begging for help. Her sister is now not so young. The man may never get out of the sisters’ flat alive. Esteban Roel and Juan Fernando Andres co-direct.

 

A psychological thriller turning on a baby-sitting gig from hell, “Purgatory” marks the first lead role for Oona Chaplin, memorable Robb Stark’s wife in “Game of Thrones”, Catalan helmer Pau Teixador debut (Variety, Nov. 29, 2013).

 

“Buried’s” Adrian Guerra, who also co-produces “The Gunman”, with Sean Penn and Javier Bardem, produces “Friday”, a gritty vampire tale starring Leticia Dolera (Variety, Feb. 6, 2014).

 

Fear Factory’s first slate also features psychopath-on-the-loose slasher “Bloody April Fools”, helmed by 12-directors, one per sequence.

 

“Spanish genre is tradition, a brand known worldwide. Spanish genre movies are among its only films that can pre-sell. There’s enormous young talent”, Canales said.

 

“Latin America has huge potential. There will be great Latin American genre films”, he added.

'[REC]'s' Paco Plaza to Direct 'Damned Friday,' Adrian Guerra to Produce
Feb 5, 2014

Film Factory to unveil screenplay and concept design at EFM

Uniting two of Spain’s biggest genre talents, “[REC]” co-director Paco Plaza will helm “Maldito Viernes (Damned Friday)”, with Adrian Guerra producing.

 

“Friday” begins filming in Spain in July from Guerra’s Barcelona-based Nostromo Pictures. Film Factory will unveil the screenplay and design at Berlin.

 

Penned by Plaza and fully financed, “Friday” expands on his 2009 B&W mock teaser trailer, which spawned a comicbook, and had fans begging for a feature.

 

Leticia Dolera, the chainsaw-wielding bride of “[REC 3]: Genesis,” is a young woman who struggles with her family and boyfriend before becoming a vampire. “Friday” is a “ ‘Black Swan’-style drama applied to the vampire genre with a really strong central female character taking the audience on a gritty, emotional roller coaster,” Guerra said.

 

Pic will be a Spanish-language film shot in color, he added. It marks Guerra’s first non-English-language production.

 

“Some years ago I shot a fake trailer for a movie that didn’t exist at that point; it was called ‘Damned Friday’ and was presented at Sitges Film Festival, the Mecca for genre lovers as myself,” Plaza said.

 

“Right after that moment, people began to ask me when I was going to shoot it; so now it’s time to answer that and to bring to life ‘Damned Friday’, the story of a young woman who begins to develop symptoms of becoming a vampire. There is only one problem: As everyone knows, vampires don’t exist, do they?”

 

Plaza added: “I’ve shot a werewolf movie, a bunch of zombie films, but as a horror film fan, I felt I really wanted to shoot a vampire film. “There’s only one thing I can say for sure: there will be blood.”

 

“Part of the fun of ‘Damned Friday’ is that the story is universal but, like ‘Let the Right One In,’ localized in a specific place in language and characters behavior, Guerra argued.

 

“Also, everybody’s making English-language movies now. We wanted to differentiate ‘Damned Friday.’”

 

By John Hopewell

To Kill a Man wins in Sundande and Rotterdam
Jan 27, 2014

TO KILL A MAN

won the WORLD CINEMA GRAND JURY AWARD at SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL as well as the KNF AWARD (Film Critics Award & Best feature film in The Big Screen Award Competition) at the INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ROTTERDAM

 

Vengeance thriller TO KILL A MAN is a powerful, tough, original film from internationally acclaimed Chilean director Alejandro Fernández Almendras (By the Fire, Huacho). The script was selected at Cannes L’Atelier and Paris Project, and won the best project award at Locarno Film Festival’s Carte Blanche.

 

SCREENING IN BERLIN: Feb 6 (Thu) 11:30am @ CineStar 6

 

Jorge is a hardworking family man who’s just barely making ends meet. One day, he gets mugged by Kalule, a neighborhood delinquent. Jorge’s son decides to confront Kalule, only to get himself shot. Jorge’s son nearly dies and Kalule is sentenced to just two years and one day. When Kalule is released from prison, he goes on the warpath and terrorizes Jorge’s family. They look to the police for help, but are turned away. So Jorge decides to take justice into his own hands.

 

Suspense Thriller / 2014 / Spanish / Chile-France Co-production

 

Director: Alejandro Fernández Almendras (By the Fire, Huacho)

Producers: Eduardo Villlalobos (Huacho), Guillaume De Saille (Harmony Lessons, In Bloom, Watchtower, The Hunter)

Director of Photography: Inti Briones (The Loneliest Planet, Huacho)

Cast: Daniel Candia (Hidden in the Woods), Daniel Antivilo (Hidden in the Woods, Violeta Went to Heaven), Alejandra Yañez (Huacho), Ariel Mateluna (Machuca)

 

Film Factory Ready 'To Kill' (EXCLUSIVE)
Sep 25, 2013

Spanish sales co takes San Sebastian standout off table

John Hopewell

 

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain – In a pact closed Wednesday at Spain’s San Sebastian Festival, Vicente Canales’ Film Factory Entertainment closed world rights outside Chile and France to the most sought-after movie in San Sebastian’s pics-in-post Films in Progress section, “To Kill a Man,” from Chile’s Alejandro Fernandez Almendras.

 

The winner of Locarno’s Carte Blanche and Santiago de Chile’s Sanfic WIP last month, Chile-set vengeance thriller “To Kill” came to San Sebastian as the latest film with breakout potential from Chile, which is enjoying a remarkable run of festival prizes and sales, such as on Pablo Larrain’s “No” and Sebastian Lelio’s “Gloria.”

 

“To Kill” did not win Films in Progress despite –or because of – its previous prize trawl.

 

It was, however, judged by sales agents who attended San Sebastian’s Films in Progress to be by a clear head the most sellable of movies at FIP.

 

A questioning vengeance thriller teasing out the motives that really drive a retiring father to take justice into his own hands after his son is shot and his daughter kidnapped by the local barrio lowlife, “To Kill” marks a change of register for its director.

 

Fernandez Almendras previously helmed 2009 family saga “Huacho” and 2011’s countryside-set drama “By the Fire,” well received at Cannes and San Sebastian, respectively. “To Kill” marks a none-too-common potentially successful move toward the mainstream for a helmer.

 

“The film delivers on our aims: to not lose its director’s vision but to create a film which has larger audience potential. With Film Factory, we can achieve this aim all the more,” said “To Kill a Man’s” producer Eduardo Villalobos at El Remanso.

 

Pic is co-produced by Guillaume Deseille at France’s Arizona Films.

 

“’To Kill’ is a powerful, tough, original film from a director who is still growing and Fernandez Almendras’ most mainstream film to date,” said Film Factory founder Vicente Canales.

 

He added: “Chile is one of the most dynamic of Latin America’s national cinemas. It’s important for us to create relationships with talented producers who can do great things in the future.”

 

“Constructing long-term, deep links between Chile and international countries is a fundamental objective for CinemaChile,” said the director of the promotion org, Constanza Arena.

San Sebastian Film Review: 'Foosball'
Sep 25, 2013

Animated soccer toon from director of Argentina's Oscar-winning “The Secret in Their Eyes” strikes gold.

 

Jay Weissberg

 

Argentina’s Juan Jose Campanella makes the unusual move of following the Oscar-winning “The Secret in Their Eyes” with a soccer-themed 3D toon — and strikes gold. “Foosball” is a non-stop charmer allegedly geared to kids but just as likely to delight parents, featuring a nerdy table-soccer champ and the lead figurine players that come to life to trounce a bullying egomaniac. A summer release in Argentina went boffo, scoring the nation’s highest first-day B.O. bow, a feat likely to be repeated in other Spanish-lingo territories. The English version, with distribution from 369 Prods., should also see sky-high returns.

 

The media is championing the pic as the equal of U.S. animation giants, which isn’t an exaggeration given the slickness of the product as well as the cleverness of the design. “Foosball” is Latin America’s biggest budgeted cartoon feature — at $21 million — and will roll out in all territories once dubbing is completed.

 

As with the best sports-related films, “Foosball” uses the genre to raise larger themes like confidence, loyalty and teamwork, making it attractive to parents as well as their non-sporty tots. Campanella also brings in a generous amount of movie-related references, from “2001: A Space Odyssey” (the very funny opener) to “Star Wars,” Westerns and other cultural icons, ensuring the film works on multiple levels that satisfy all ages.

 

The majority of the story takes place in flashback, bookended by the tale of a father, Amadeo (David Masajnik), and son Mati (Natalia Rosminati), in which the dad tries to get his loner offspring off his iPad by telling him about his own youth. Back in the day, young Amadeo (Luciana Falcon) himself was an outsider, obsessed with playing table soccer at his local cafe and too shy to let Laura (Lucia Maciel) know his true feelings. When a group of tough kids came looking for a fight, Laura’s encouragement inspired Amadeo to wipe the floor with them on the soccer table, resulting in the eternal enmity of bully Grosso (Mariana Otero).

 

Years later, Grosso (Diego Ramos) comes back to take revenge on the only person who ever beat him at anything. With an oily manager (Coco Sily) by his side, he’s bought the entire town, which he plans to bulldoze to build the world’s largest stadium with himself as undisputed star. Also key to his plan is destroying the offending soccer table, which Amadeo is desperate to protect. While the table is being carted away, he rescues one figurine, who comes to life when splashed with Amadeo’s tears, and together they set off to save the other players.

 

Each player of course has a distinctive personality, with the blonde-afro’d Beto (Fabian Gianola) the most appealing, his puffed-up swagger and penchant for the spotlight (he does a terrific soft-shoe number) barely disguising his true-blue heart. It’s these unexpected touches of whimsicality that make “Foosball” such a pleasure to watch, from the hilarious list of stadium sponsors to Grosso’s outsized Xanadu of a mansion, replete with statues of himself in imitation of everything from Rodin’s “The Thinker” to, best of all, both figures in Michelangelo’s “Pieta.”

 

Oddly enough, the only place where “Foosball” falters is in the climactic soccer match, which has a certain drive but doesn’t quite achieve the level of excitement required. Ultimately it’s a minor quibble, and few will feel the temporary lag, instead swept up by the sight of Amadeo and the rag-tag assortment of underdog townspeople he’s pulled together, assisted by the soccer table figurines.

 

Given the toon’s clear stylistic debt to Pixar, comparisons with the “Toy Story” franchise are inevitable, though little here feels derivative thanks to the high entertainment value and impressive art direction. 3D is nicely integrated, adding amusement via details such as the flight of a foosball, or the oversized bosom of a townswoman. The rich orchestrations of Emilio Kauderer (“Miss Bala,” “The Secret in Their Eyes”), with hints of “Lion King,” Wagner, and a host of other sources, are true smile-inducers.

 

San Sebastian Film Review: 'Foosball'

Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (opener), Sept. 21, 2013. (Also in London Film Festival – Gala). Running time: 106 MIN. Original titles: “Metegol,” “Futbolin”

Production

(Animated -- Argentina- Spain) A Universal Pictures Intl. release of a Jorge Estrada Mora Prods., Plural Jempsa, Antena Tres Films, Atresmedia Cine production, in association with Canal plus, 100 Barres Prods., Telefe. Produced by Jorge Estrada, Juan Jose Campanella, Gaston Gorali, Manuel Polanco, Mikel Lejarza, Mercedes Gamero. Executive producers, Diego Rosner, Roberto Schroeder, Gustavo Ferrada. Co-executive producers, Eva Muslera, Modesto Rubio, Ivan Kozicki, Ricardo Freixa.

Crew

Directed by Juan Jose Campanella. Screenplay, Campanella, Eduardo Sacheri, Gaston Gorali, inspired by the short story “Memorias de un wing derecho” by Roberto Fontanarrosa. Camera (color, widescreen, 3D), Felix Monti; editor, Campanella; music, Emilio Kauderer; production designers, Nelson Luty, Mariano Epelbaum; sound (Dolby 7.1 surround), Jose Luis Diaz; associate producers, Axel Kuschevatzky, Pepe Torrescusa, Javier Beltramino; animation supervisor, Sergio Pablos; technical animation director, Mauro Serei; casting, Walter Rippell.

With

David Masajnik, Lucia Maciel, Diego Ramos, Fabian Gianola, Horacio Fontova, Coco Sily, Juan Jose Campanella, Ezequiel Cipols, Gabriel Almiron, Igor Samoilov, Roberto Kim, Natalia Rosminati, Luciana Falcon, Mariana Otero.


FOOSBALL
Sep 23, 2013

Dir: Juan Jose Campanella. Spain-Argentina. 2013. 106mins

 

Juan Jose Campanella’s first film since taking the Oscar in 2010 for The Secret In Their Eyes is the inventive 3D animated feature Foosball (Futbolin): a premier-league Spanish-Argentina co-production which should follow up its record-breaking run in Argentina with international acclaim.

 

Campanella’s feature fields a love for the beautiful game that is all but irresistible. Trailing a weak recent run for animated features, it also has all the fancy technical footwork necessary to dominate the big leagues, despite a slightly stretched 106-minute running time. The film had its world premiere at San Sebastian.

 

Spanish success seems inevitable with a Christmas release planned through Universal but, with appropriate translations and voice cast, this should storm the pitch in the international family marketplace. Sold already to territories including Korea and Japan, Capanella’s $21m feature is, at times, reminiscent of Pixar at its best and pays clear homage to the studio in its fundamental concept of toy figures come to life. An English-language version is set to bow at AFM.

 

Several key elements immediately mark Foosball out. Firstly, with a teaser set in prehistoric times, Campanella quickly carves out a common playing field for adults and children without patronising or alienating either quadrant. Secondly, Foosball’s animation style is both unique and appealing, its elongated human shapes set against the chunky subbuteo figures of the Foosball set.

 

Finally, Foosball is exciting and surprisingly pacey until its final, stickier, moments. It’s even, at times, slightly scary in a Finding Nemo/Bruce-the-shark way, with a rat chase and a gargoyle-filled funfair providing an edgy element which seems to have been focus-grouped out of recent animations.

 

Told in flashback, Foosball tells the story of Amadeo, a shy boy in a small town who’s a whizz with the sebbutio set. At his friend Laura’s urging, he trounces the local bully Grosso, the only time the boy has ever been defeated. Years later  international soccer star “Ace” Grosso returns to demolish the village, unable to forget his only humiliation. Nothing, it seems, can stand in his way – until the foosball set’s plastic figures come to life to help Amadeo save the town and win the girl.

 

Campanella has a few points to make, however, before Foosball plays some of its more obvious moral cards (stand up to bullies, don’t cheat). The fact that the film’s villain is an international soccer superstar is telling, and there’s a few savage swipes at the win-at-all-costs commerciality which has damaged the game and given a poor example to its younger followers. The villain’s team of mega-rich players, for example, have a list of sponsors including Cheaty-Cheaty Bang-Bang (and Warner Sisters).

 

Technically, Foosball is a surprise and will possibly herald a revival in the fortunes of Spanish animation, as there is little discernable difference between this and the bigger tentpole animations. It’s in 3D, which isn’t particularly vital, save for one sequence involving a pensioner’s false teeth and bouncing bosoms which makes wearing the glasses entirely worthwhile.

 

Production companies: Jorge Estrada Mora Producciones, Plural Jempsa, Atres Media Cine

International sales: Film Factory Entertainent, www.filmfactory.es

Producers: Jorge Estrada, Juan Jose Campanella, Gaston Gorali. Manuel Polanco, Mikel Lejarza, Merce des Gamero

Executive producers: Diego Rosner, Roberto Schroeder, Gustavo Ferrada

Screenplay: Juan Jose Campanella, Eduardo Sacheri, Gaston Gorali, inspired by Memorias de un wing derecho(Memoirs of a Left Wing) by Roberto Fontanarrosa.

Cinematography: Felix Monte

Editor: Juan Jose Campanella

Director of Animation: Sergio Pablos

Main voice cast (orginal): Raul Rojo, Pablo Aparicio, Vicente Gil, Eduardo Bosch, Luri Golovchenko, Claudio Serrano


Witching and Bitching (Las brujas de Zugarramurdi): San Sebastian Review
Sep 23, 2013

Prolific, high-profile Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia returns to the inspired anything-goes madness of his earlier films, but with a bigger budget.

 

Alex de la Iglesia has experimented with various genres down the years, but the shamelessly crowd-pleasing Witching and Bitching is a return to what he does best -- pure mayhem. One of the characters compares it all to being in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and that sounds about right. All the hallmarks of the director’s groundbreaking The Day of the Beast (1995) are back on display here -- high energy, unsubtle and tasteless but often hilarious satire, and an ability to transplant the wild comic book imagery of his imagination onto the screen, now armed with a battery of new technology. The noisy appeal this yarn of a bunch of hapless robbers who end up out of their depth in a witches' coven is infectious, and has translated into healthy pre-sales offshore.

 

One of the reasons why Spaniards are so fond of de la Iglesia is the way he transforms their familiar surroundings into the stuff of cinema. The Puerta del Sol in the center of Madrid is full of human statues. Jose (teen magnet Hugo Silva) posing as a body-painted Jesus, has decided to rob a well-known cash for gold store; he is fed up of trying to pay alimony to his wife Silvia (Macarena Gomez), and is accompanied by his young son Sergio (Gabriel Delgado) because, as he explains, he only gets to see him on Tuesdays. Jose's sidekicks are hunky but dumb Tony (Mario Casas) and cab driver Manuel (Jaime Ordonez).

 

The heist goes wrong, and Sponge Bob among others is shot dead. As they race away in the cab, the gang discuss, in sub-Tarantino style, their fear and dislike of women in unreconstructed terms that some will say the film itself buys into -- though it's also true that the boys themselves are never presented as anything other than idiotic. Tellingly, Manuel willingly joins the gang, despite the risk, on realizing that they share his insecurities about women.

 

But despite all the male bonding, the boys will be no match for the witches. Pursued by Silvia and by cops Calvo and Pacheco (Pepon Nieto and Secun de la Rosa) - an amusing double act -- the gang ends up in a Basque village in the grip of a family of witches - Marichu (the mighty Terele Pavez, her daughter Graciana (Carmen Maura), both de la Iglesia veterans) and her granddaughter Eva (Carolina Bang), living in a Gothic castle of stupendous proportions. The stage is set for an unlikely romance between Eva and Jose, and not one but two massive set-piece showdowns where the frenetic forward thrust of the narrative becomes technically aces but seen-it-before spectacle.

 

As ever having fun with Spaniards' image of themselves, de la Iglesia pokes indulgent fun at Spanish incompetence, the Spanish family and Spanish sexism among other targets, though cameos - for example from Santiago Segura and Carlos Areces (from Pedro Almodovar's I'm so Excited!) as a couple of gossipy housewives - feel surplus. But just occasionally, the script shows a little touch of well-observed human comedy, as in a brief exchange between Jose and Sergio about his homework.

 

Otherwise, the performances are appropriately shouty and over the top, with some of the cast evidently having been chosen for their naturally comic book features. The gag strike rate is unusually high for a de la Iglesia film, though later on, when the visuals take over, the script seems to run out of energy and just turns silly in a film that could easily have been twenty minutes shorter.

 

But as witches fly about in a ceremony staged like a rock concert, and hundreds of extras are marshaled into action, it no longer seems to matter, with de la Iglesia still retaining one CGI trick up his sleeve for the final reel. His canniness at making use of available space, particularly in his use of jaw-dropping real caves suggests that Witching and Bitching is one movie that would have benefited from being shot in 3D.

 

The credits sequence at the start is a clumsy but amusing montage of witches down the ages. One of them is Myra Hindley, the British 60's serial killer. Another is Angela Merkel, the German chancellor who many Spaniards blame for the country's sorry economic plight.

 

Production: Enrique Cerezo PC
Cast: Hugo Silva, Mario Casa, Carolina Bang, Carmen Maura, Gabriel Delgado, Jaime Ordonez, Terele Pavez, Pepon Nieto, Secun de la Rosa, Macarena Gomez, Javier Botet, Enrique Villen, Santiago Segura, Carlos Areces
Director: Alex de la Iglesia
Screenwriters: de la Iglesia, Jorge Guerricaechevarria
Producer: Enrique Cerezo, Verane Frediani, Franck Ribiere
Director of photography: Kiko de la Rica
Production designer: Arturo Garcia (Biaffra), Jose Arrizabalaga (Arri)
Costume designer: Paco Delgado
Editor: Pablo Blanco
Music: Joan Valent
Sales: Film Factory Entertainment
No rating, 112 minutes

Grint Tops 'Foosball' English-language Cast (EXCLUSIVE)
Sep 22, 2013

Campanella’s 3D toon pic bows to applause, cheers at San Sebastián

John Hopewell

 

SAN SEBASTIAN –- “Harry Potter” star Rupert Grint will lead the English-language voice-cast of Juan Jose Campanella’s animated 3D feature “Foosball,” which bowed to strong applause and cheers at San Sebastián Friday, opening the Spanish Festival.

 

Grint will play “Foosball’s” hero Amadeo, a shy table soccer genius whose table soccer figures come alive to help him save his local town and win his childhood sweetheart, both threatened by a preening soccer mega-star.

 

Anthony Head (“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) limns the international soccer ace, dubbed Flash, who is also out for revenge after Amadeo beat him at table soccer as a kid, “Foosball” producer Jorge Estrada Mora announced Friday at San Sebastian.

 

An up-and-coming English actress, Eva Ponsoby (“The White Queen”) will dub Amadeo’s childhood sweetheart, Laura.

 

Produced by London-based 369 Production, headed by Victor Glynn and David Burgess, the English-language version, now in advanced production, is designed initially for release in the U.K., said Glynn.

 

Foosball” will first be seen on Oct. 19 at the London Film Festival.

 

Campanella will segue from the San Sebastian Festival, where “Foosball” has its international premiere as its gala opening on Sept. 20, to oversee dubbing on a few final scenes. He was also involved in the creation of the Spanish-language version for Spain, working with

 

An English-language version of “Foosball” reflect the film’s scale and creative ambition.

 

“Usually, at least in the U.K., if you have a foreign film, you’d subtitle,” Glynn said.

 

“But ‘Foosball’ has huge potential and is a family film, and kids want films in their own language,” he added.

 

Glynn “hopes and is confident” that he will see a lot more business dubbing animated films into English.

 

Foosball” was budgeted at $21 million. Its Argentine producers Plural-Jempsa, Catmandu and 100 Bares have “established themselves in a way that people wouldn’t have believed before “Foosball”, Glynn said.

 

“They can produce quality on par with L.A., comparable to Hollywood movies be produced by DreamWorks and Pixar, and above a  lot  of what is coming out of Asia, for a third of the cost,” he added.

 

At San Sebastian, Campanella said he and his partner were “thinking about” a sequel, but with no pressure. Also, they have to see the worldwide reaction to “Foosball”.

 

Foosball”, Campanella added, isn’t really about soccer. “I’m not into soccer. ‘Foosball’ is as much about soccer as ‘Casablanca’ is about war.  But soccer underscores other life passions, here, Amadeo’s need to grow up, to face challenges, or be wiped out.”

 

Distributed by Universal, “Foosball” has grossed $13.8 million to date in Argentina. Universal has taken Spain and Latin America distrib rights. A “neutral” Spanish-language version in also in preparation for Latin America outside Argentina, Estrada-Mora said.

 

Film Factory has also sold “Foosball” to Russia, Brazil, China, Italy and Korea, among major territories.

 

“Despite the huge difference in budgets between big Hollywood animation films and those from independent producers, we’re increasingly seeing independent animation films competing with Hollywood movies” said Gaston Gorali, “Foosball” producer and co-scribe.

 

In a specific play for the British market, Jonathan Pearce, from the BBC “Match of the Day” Saturday night soccer match round-up, will commentate “Foosball’s” English-language climax stadium-set game, teaming with impersonator Alistair McGowan.

 

Three well-known British TV thesps– Alex Norton (“Taggart”), Peter Serafinowicz, who voiced Darth Maul in “Star Wars 1: The Phantom Menace,” and Scottish comedian Lewis MacLeod, an ex-player for Scottish club Rangers – play prominent table soccer characters.

TORONTO:
Sep 10, 2013

Juan Jose Campanella’s toon feature continues its international sales roll-out

John Hopewell

 

MADRID – Gooooooooool!

 

Playing off two invitation-only screenings at this week’s Toronto Festival, Juan Jose Campanella’s $21 million, 3D animated feature “Foosball” has closed two further major territories: Italy with Koch Media and South Korea with Korea Screen.

 

Both distributors have committed to 300-plus print releases and a minimum of about $1.5 million in P & A spend, said “Foosball’s” sales agent, Vicente Canales, at Film Factory.

 

A U.S. distribution deal is under negotiation, he added.

 

One of the biggest movies ever to come out of Latin America and its biggest-ever animated feature, “Foosball” is also the first toon pic from Campanella, who is best known for Ricardo Darin-starring features “The Son of the Bride” and “The Secret In Their Eyes,” which won the 2009 foreign-language Academy Award.

 

A humor-tinged adventure-love story centering on a boy, Amadeo, whose table football figures come alive, helping him to save his hometown and win back his childhood sweetheart, “Foosball” has already pre-sold to Universal for Latin America and Spain, as well as to Russia’s Carmen Films. Poland’s Iti Cinema, Zon Lusomundo in Portugal and China’s Shanghai Vision Film:Mediavision has picked up Turkey, Gulf Film took the Middle East.

 

World preeming in Campanella’s native Argentina on July 18, “Foosball” has grossed $13.5 million to date.

 

Film Factory has received offers from key outstanding markets such as France and Germany, plus multiple smaller territories, Canales said.

 

Producers are awaiting three events before closing more international deals, however: a U.S. sale; “Foosball’s” international premiere at Spain’s San Sebastian Festival on Sept. 20, where it opens the festival; the conclusion of an English-language voice-cast version which will be screened at November’s American Film Market, where the film will also be shown, unlike in Toronto, in 3D.

Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang (Zipi y Zape y el club de la canica): Toronto Review
Sep 9, 2013

David meets Goliath in Oskar Santos’ classy-feeling update of a 1950s Spanish comic strip.

 

Like the kids who it’s about and who it’s for, Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang starts out wide-eyed and innocent before becoming more complex and interesting later on. Based on Jose Escobar’s 1950s comic strip, this yarn about a gang of rebellious sprogs taking on a big institution has been cannily updated for the pre-and early teen demographic, though without losing an attractively nostalgic air which should keep parents happily munching their popcorn. Strictly uncomplicated throughout, the delicious-looking film still has enough visual flair and pace to ensure that offshore sales will be brisk.

 

Friends Zip (Raul Rivas) and Zap (Daniel Cerezo: both floppy-haired, cute leads are debuting) have been banished to a Gothic, correctional boarding school (a Hungarian castle was used for exteriors) run by eye-patched Falconetti (Javier Gutierrez), who informs them that “fools are made by play, men are made by work”. The rebellious Zapi soon runs into trouble and is placed in solitary confinement.

 

Together with chubby Filo (Fran Garcia), tiny, bespectacled Micro (Marcos Ruiz) and Piojo (Anibal Tartalo), Zip and Zap form the Marble Gang, whose purpose is to make life difficult for Falconetti. Their first act is to deface a statue of the institutes’ founder; as a result, a map falls into Falconetti’s hands which will lead the way to hidden treasure. A race to the treasure ensues, between Falconetti and his sidekick Heidi (Christian Mulas) on the one hand, and the gang on the other. Meanwhile, Falconetti’s feisty niece Matilde (Claudia Vega), a bit or romantic interest for Zap, struggles to be accepted into the gang.

 

Though the script prefers things to stay on the wholesome side rather than tackle anything dark, space is reserved for a couple of upsettingly nasty images such as doll’s head with a worm crawling over it. Things move up a gear with the discovery of some old footage which reveals that the institution’s founder had actually designed the school as a place for play, a project which Falconetti has perverted. The real question, cleverly laid out by the scriptwriters, is not who will find the treasure, but what kind of education will win the day – imaginative or disciplined.

 

There is thus very little that’s new on display here, and there is always the sense that the film makers are aiming to revive the staples of good old fashioned boys’ stories for a modern audience. Though the comparison is unfair to Zip and Zap, it all feels appealingly retro in the same way as Harry Potter does, harking back to a pre-tech era in which the height of interactive fun was a game of marbles, whilst ladling on the digital tech to bring that era entertainingly to life.

 

Little time is spent on character development, and it’s clear from early on that Falconetti’s bark is worse than his bite: ironically, the eyepatch makes it all the more difficult for Gutierrez to create anything really evil, which would have given things an extra edge. The thoroughly wholesome kids likewise are indeed very entertainingly naughty, but not for a second interestingly bad. Outcomes are never in doubt.

 

All the adventure staples are here, including subterranean tunnels and a monstrous black dog, but it’s during the final reels that all the best stuff happens, as the booby traps, satisfying mechanical clicks and precision-engineered scares of the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark are extended for a really compelling twenty final minutes. The film makers have cannily realized that although modern technology does magical things, its inner workings are invisible to us, and Zip and Zap’s job, executed just fine, is to restore a little of that magic.

 

Viewers with an eye for allegory will see that the Spanish education system itself, with its general emphasis on subordination and discipline, is given a pretty rough ride.

 

Venue: Toronto Film Festival (Kids)
Production companies: MOD Producciones , Zeta Cinema, Atresmedia Cine y Kowalski Films
Cast: Javier Gutierrez, Raul Rivas, Daniel Cerezo, Claudia Vega, Fran Garcia, Marcos Ruiz, Christian Mulas, Anibal Tartalo
Director: Oskar Santos  
Screenwriters: Francisco Roncal, Jorge Lara, based on the comic strip by Jose Escobar
Producers: Fernando Bovaira, Paco Ramos, Mikel Lejarza, Mercedes Gamero, Koldo Zuazua
Executive producers: Juan Moreno, Juan Carlos Caro
Director of photography: Josu Inchaustegui
Music: Fernando Velazquez
Production designer: Juan Pedro de Gaspar
Editor: Carolina Martinez
Costume designer: Andrea Flesch
Sound: Gabriel Gutierrez, Aitor Berenguer
Sales: Film Factory Entertainment
No rating, 92 minutes

Cannibal (Canibal): Toronto Review
Sep 7, 2013

Manuel Martin Cuenca, a director with a reputation for exploring extreme states, comes into his own with his fourth feature, about a human-hungry Spanish tailor.

When a filmmaker is capable of exploring a series of frankly outlandish filmic, thematic and moral propositions with absolute conviction and sureness of touch, the results are usually memorable. Such is the case with Manuel Martin Cuenca’s Cannibal, a carefully crafted study of a psychopath that brings a whole new meaning to the phrase Eat, Pray, Love. Undermining right from the start the false expectations raised by its title, Cannibal is a essentially a beautifully composed character study, superbly played by Antonio de la Torre, which, like the best noir, is both chilling and moving. Art house sales are inevitable, but sharp marketing could just about see mainstream audiences eating out of Cannibals hand.

 

Carlos (the dependable de la Torre in a career-best performance) is a tailor, with a snobbish disdain for pret a porter, in Granada in southern Spain. Quietly spoken, fastidious and dapper, he's basically a perfect gent, practically friendless apart from his seamstress Aurora (Alfonsa Rosso), who innocently wonders when he’s going to settle down with a good woman. The fact that the Catholic Carlos is restoring a valuable fabric for a local religious brotherhood suggests the esteem in which he is held by the conservative local community.

 

A beautifully judged opening scene, shot mostly from a wary distance, reveals both Carlos’s darker side and his methodology. Driving an off-road vehicle that might have been built for the purpose, he drives toward cars on isolated back roads, forcing them off the road and killing the occupants. He then takes the female occupant to his mountain cabin in the Sierra Nevada where he uses a range of knives to expertly butcher the carcass, packages the meat, and stores it in his freezer to later be consumed with a glass of red wine: rarely can shots of someone chewing meat have been so charged.

 

Carlos is a fascinating figure, and it is to the credit of both de la Torre and the script that the audience’s fascination in him never spills over into the sensational. Cuenca approaches his subject matter with just the same care as Carlos takes to his tailoring, so that anything that might threaten imperfection is rapidly excised.

 

But imperfection indeed threatens in the form of a blonde Romanian immigrant (Olimpia Melinte) who comes to live in the house opposite from Carlos' and who Carlos observes from a distance as she undresses at her window. One night, following an argument over money, she runs to seeks shelter at Carlos’ house: An ellipsis suggests that she does not survive the visit, but Torre’s performance is subtle enough to suggest that he might be interested in her for more than simply culinary reasons.

 

Matters are complicated further for Carlos when the girl’s twin sister, Nina, also played by Melinte with dark hair, comes looking for her. The strange relationship that develops between these two outsiders is the focus from now on.

 

Cannibal pulses from first scene to last with a tension that’s likely to create a pin-drop atmosphere in theaters. But it is not the tension raised by the cheap question of how and when Carlos’s next victim will meet her end. The real focus is on the welter of conflicting emotions bubbling under the tailor’s always imperturbable surface, and it is to de la Torre’s great credit that from very early on the viewer is aware that there is another side to him, that at some level he is struggling to be normal. Indeed, de la Torre's understated performance looks like a concerted attempt to undo Sir Anthony Hopkins' cliche-inspiring work in The Silence of the Lambs. Melinte is a fine foil, playing Nina as a young woman for whom vulnerability is a way of life, but who is vulnerable in ways that she is not aware of. It is her innocent desire to see the best in people that makes the relationship between the two so engrossing.

 

In other words, there is the very real possibility that Carlos kills and eats because he loves, and it is on this struggle between the two primordial instincts of loving and killing that the film’s true focus, and also its universality, lies. Very clever indeed, the audience is manipulated into troubled sympathy for the cannibal, and in arriving at this position the film is forcing viewers to renegotiate some pretty deeply ingrained assumptions. Audiences will emerge from Cannibal with their perspectives slightly rearranged, something which few films can claim to do.

 

Cuenca’ previous film, Half of Oscar, which now looks a little like a trial run for Cannibal, also dealt with a psychopathic killer operating in stunning landscapes. (Indeed, the surprising killer has become something of a staple in recent Spanish cinema.) Cannibal’s unfailingly beautiful aesthetics, at their most emphatic in the beautifully composed blue sky and snow landscapes of Carlos’ trips to his cabin, are likely to raise complaints. The only gore comes early on, as blood trickles from Carlos’s first victim with all the carefully photographed, glossy beauty of a TV ad for honey, and indeed what must be the messy, chaotic aspects of a cannibal’s life are carefully elided over. But neither is the film morally duplicitous in trying to conceal Carlos’s victims’ suffering: a later sequence has him patiently standing on the beach, waiting for a victim to die as she struggles in the sea.

 

In a story whose effects depend as much on what is unsaid as on what is said, Alberto de Toro’s superbly-judged editing is crucial, generating ellipsis after ellipsis without ever feeling forced. Pau Esteve Birba’s photography matches the film’s fastidious tone, whether capturing impressive mountain landscapes or intimate, fleeting facial gestures. Perhaps the only false note comes with the inclusion of a brief TV clip from the roster of another film from the same production house.

 

Venue: Toronto Film Festival (Special Presentation)
Production companies: La Loma Blanca PC, MOD Producciones, Libra Film, CTB Film Company LTD, Luminor
Cast: Antonio de la Torre, Olimpia Melinte, Alfonsa Rosso
Director: Manuel Martin Cuenca
Screenwriters: Cuenca, Alejandro Hernandez, based on a novel by Humberto Arenal
Producers: Fernando Bovaira, Simon de Santiago, Manuel Martin Cuenca, Alejandro Hernandez
Director of photography: Pau Esteve Birba
Production designer: Isabel Vinuales
Editor: Angel Hernandez Zoido
Sound: Salva Mayolas, Pelayo Gutierrez, Nacho Royo-Villanova
Sales: Film Factory Entertainment
No rating, 116 minutes

WITCHIN & BITCHING selected for TORONTO, SAN SEBASTIAN and AUSTIN FILM FESTIVALS
Aug 21, 2013

We are proud to announce that

 

WITCHING AND BITCHING

directed by Álex de la Iglesa

has been selected by

 

the TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL (TIFF 2013) in "MIDNIGHT MADNESS"

and the 61st SAN SEBASTIAN FILM FESTIVAL (OFFICIAL SELECTION)

 

WITCHING & BITCHING is a mix of his groundbreaking horror hit The Day of the Beast and multi-awarded black comedy Common Wealth. WITCHING is a high budget genre film where the director is creating a very unique universe packed of evil witches, horror elements, action and lots of entertainment.

 

Universal releases the film on September 27, 2013 with 300 prints.

 

SYNOPSIS

When your marriage has you on the brink and your bank account in red, it’s time to rob a Cash-for-Gold shop. That’s the last-ditch decision made by a group of desperate guys led by divorced dad JOSÉ. Unfortunately for all, José never lets his kid down and the day of the break-in is his day of the week with his 8-year old son. Looks like little Sergio will have to tag along. They make it out of the shop with a bag full of 25,000 gold wedding rings only to find their getaway car has disappeared: ANTONIO’s wife had to go shopping.


They flag down a cab driven by Manuel, another victim of a marriage that leaves plenty to be desired. So do they run south to Morocco? Not easy getting through with a cab... Looks like it’s north to France, especially with José’s promise to Sergio that they’ll go live in Disneyland. Things get even more complicated when 8:30pm comes and José doesn’t drop Sergio off at his ex- wife’s as expected. She takes it to the police, but goes looking for Sergio herself when they don’t take it seriously enough.


Meanwhile, the 25,000 gold rings become a real curse when the guys enter the impenetrable forests of Basque Country, home to ancient covens and witchery. It’s poetic justice time for their failures with the opposite sex. They run head-on with a horde of crazed women who feed on human flesh. Trapped in a mysterious mansion, the witches try to seize the rings at all cost and to rip out our heroes’ souls to boot. Poor guys, they made their bed and now they’ll have to sleep in it. And all they wanted was a little peace and quiet.

ZIP & ZAP AND THE MARBLE GANG selected for TORONTO and SAN SEBASTIAN film festivals
Aug 14, 2013

We are proud to announce that

 

ZIP & ZAP AND THE MARBLE GANG

has been selected by

 

the TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL (TIFF 2013) in "TIFF KIDS"

and the 61st SAN SEBASTIAN FILM FESTIVAL (VELODROME)

 

ZIP & ZAP AND THE MARBLE GANG is a high budget live- action family adventure packed with special effects and lots of entertainment.

The film is produced by Zeta Cinema (3 Meters Above the Sky), MOD Producciones (The Others), Atresmedia Cine (Julia's Eyes) and Kowalski Films (Me Too).

 

Disney releases the film on October 4, 2013 with 300 prints.

 

SYNOPSIS

Naughty twins Zip & Zap are punished and sent to summer school at Hope, a strict re-education center run by Falconetti, who rules with a heavy hand and an eyepatch and forbids all forms of recreation and entertainment.  They form the Marble Gang, the children’s Resistance, in order to defy the evil headmaster.  Guided by intelligence, bravery and unbreakable faith in friendship, they uncover a mysterious secret hidden deep within the school and end up having the most exciting adventure of their lives.

FOOSBALL opens San Sebastian
Aug 8, 2013

3D animated movie Foosball, the latest film from Juan Jose Campanella (The Secret in Their Eyes),
has been selected as the opening night film in the upcoming San Sebastian Film Festival.
Never before has an animated feature opened this prestigious festival.

 

In its third week, the film continues smashing all records, reaching 1.5 million in ticket sales.

Once again, FOOSBALL holds strong at number one and has even beat out The Smurfs 2 release.

A humor-tinged adventure-love story centering on a boy, Amadeo, whose table football figures come alive, helping him to save his hometown and win back his childhood sweetheart.

Foosball’s first commercial release anywhere in the world was made in the face of tremendous competition from Fox's The Wolverine, Universal-Illumination’s Despicable Me 2, Pixar’s Monsters University and DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo.

FILM FACTORY will be showing the film to buyers in Toronto and AFM and expect to announce a US deal by mid-August.

FOOSBALL continous breaking records!!
Jul 31, 2013

FOOSBALL continues breaking records!!

 

3D animated movie Foosball, the latest film from Juan Jose Campanella (The Secret in Their Eyes), continuous rewriting the history books in Argentina as the fastest film ever, reaching 1 million admissions in just 10 days.

The film was also number 1 this weekend, only dropping 7% compared with last weekend and garnering a result that was 80% better than The Wolverine did during its first weekend release.

 

A humor-tinged adventure-love story centering on a boy, Amadeo, whose table football figures come alive, helping him to save his hometown and win back his childhood sweetheart.


Foosball’s first commercial release anywhere in the world was made in the face of tremendous competition from Fox's The Wolverine, Universal-Illumination’s Despicable Me 2, Pixar’s Monsters University and DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo.


FILM FACTORY will be showing the film to buyers in Toronto and AFM and expect to announce a US deal by mid-August.

CANNIBAL selected for TORONTO and SAN SEBASTIAN FILM FESTIVALS
Jul 29, 2013

We are proud to announce that

 

CANNIBAL

directed by Manuel Martín Cuenca

has been selected by

 

the TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL (TIFF 2013) in "SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS"

and the 61st SAN SEBASTIAN FILM FESTIVAL (OFFICIAL COMPETITION)

 

CANNIBAL is a disturbing yet intoxicating tale of bizarre romance where Hitchcock meets Buñuel.  Its shocking script was selected at Cannes’s L’Atelier and Rotterdam’s Cinemart. The film is produced by Mod Producciones (Agora, Biutiful) and La Loma Blanca. Antonio de la Torre (I am So Excited, Unit 7, Volver) stars in the lead role.

 

Universal releases the film on October 11, 2013.

 

CANNIBAL is being buzzed-up as a serious contender for Spanish Academy Awards nominations and to represent Spain at the Oscar©

 

SYNOPSIS

Carlos is the most prestigious tailor in Granada, but he’s also a murderer in the shadows. He feels no remorse, no guilt, until Nina appears in his life. She will make him realize the true nature of his acts and, for the first time, love awakens. Carlos is evil incarnate, unaware of itself. Nina is pure innocence. And Cannibal is a demon’s love story.

 

FOOSBALL smashes records
Jul 23, 2013

3D animated movie Foosball, the latest film from Juan Jose Campanella (The Secret in Their Eyes), rewrote the history books in Argentina, opening in cinemas theaters to a weekend $3.3 million box-office and 420.000 admissions; Best opening for an Argentine film in history.

 

Thursday figures were the best opening ever for an Argentine film, the biggest for Universal in Argentina, and the second highest bow of all time for a film of any nationality in the country.

A humor-tinged adventure-love story centering on a boy, Amadeo, whose table football figures come alive, helping him to save his hometown and win back his childhood sweetheart, Foosball bowed on the first weekend of Argentina’s so-called Winter Vacation.

Foosball’s first commercial release anywhere in the world was made in the face of tremendous competition from Universal-Illumination’s Despicable Me 2, Pixar’s Monsters Universityand DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo.

Foosball already got two more records, as the biggest-budgeted Argentine film of all time and the biggest Latin American animated feature ever.

 

FILM FACTORY will be showing the film to buyers in Toronto and AFM and expect to announce a US deal by the middle of August.

THREE MANY WEDDINGS closing film at Venice Days
Jul 18, 2013

THREE MANY WEDDINGS, directed by Javier Ruiz Caldera (GHOST GRADUATION) has been selected as the Closing Film at Venice Days (Giornate degli autori) at the upcoming Venice Film Festival.

 

THREE MANY WEDDINGS is a fresh and original romantic comedy produced by Apaches Entertainement (The Impossible, Intruders), Think Studio (Ghost Graduation), Ciskul (Ghost Graduation) and Atresmedia (I Want You, Red Lights).

 

Warner Bros Spain will release the film on December 5th, 2013 with 300 prints.

 

SYNOPSIS

Is there anything worse than being invited to your ex-boyfriend’s wedding? Sure! When it happens three times in one month, when you don’t know how to say no and when the only person you can convince to be your date is the new intern.

The Imagine Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival Silver Méliès Award goes to FIN (The End)
Apr 17, 2013

We are very proud to announce that FIN (The End) has received the Silver Méliès Award at the Imagine Film Festival and we are also thankful to the jury for such kind words as:

"The jury rewards a film in which it seems to be of vital importance whether or not questions get answered. A film that has the courage to conceal, where others mainly want to reveal. A film that plays with our expectations and leads us in an unexpected direction. A warm-blooded film that creates the kind of suspense in full sunlight, for which others think they need chilly darkness. Tension that gets tightened and released with minimal means. Elegant and assured, the maker takes us into another world that nevertheless is still ours: mankind, too small to resist a mystery that is too large for us to comprehend. A story of all times."

FIN (The End)
is a supernatural thriller produced by 3 of Spain’s top production companies with extensive international experience: Mod Producciones (Biutiful, Agora), Apaches Entertainment (The Impossible), Antena 3 Films (Red Lights, Julia’s Eyes).

 

Supernatural Thriller / 2012 / Spain / Spanish

A group of old friends gets together for a weekend in a mountain cabin. Years have gone by and yet nothing seems to have changed between them. But lurking behind the laughter and stories is a murky episode from the past that continues to haunt them. A strange, sudden incident alters their plans, leaving them stranded and with no line of communication to the outside world. On their way for help, the group starts to disintegrate, just as a new natural order is unveiled before their astonished eyes.

 

CREW

Director: Jorge Torregrossa
Scriptwriters: Sergio G. Sánchez (The Impossible), Jorge Guerricaechevarría (Cell 211)
Producers: Fernando Bovaira (Biutiful), Enrique L. Lavigne (28 Weeks Later), Mercedes Gamero (Red Lights)
Delegate Producer A3 Films: Ricardo García Arrojo
Director of Photography: José David Montero (Apollo 18)
Music: Lucio Godoy (All About my Mother)

 

CAST
Raúl Arévalo (I'm so Excited, Cousinhood)
Alexandra Jiménez (Spanish Movie)
Carlos Areces (I'm so Excited, The Last Circus)
Aura Garrido (Crematorium)

MAJOR BIFF AWARDS GO TO GHOST GRADUATION
Apr 13, 2013

We are very proud to announce that GHOST GRADUATION has won both the Golden Raven - Grand Prix Award and the Audience Award at the 31st Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. After the tremendous audience reaction in Toronto, Javier Ruiz Caldera's second film has now wowed and amused yet another festival audience, as well as its jury.

In addition, GHOST GRADUATION got even one more notch on its road to success since it brought in the second best per screen average after Oblivion in its first weekend in Italy.

Fantasy, Comedy / 2012 / Spain / Spanish / US Release in 2013 by Fox

Modesto sometimes sees dead people. His luck changes when he lands a job at Monforte where five students have turned the prestigious school into a house of horrors. Modesto is charged with getting all five kids to pass their senior year and to get out of there once and for all.

GHOST GRADUATION is one of the most original comedies in recent years. Ghosts, high school fun, love and 80’s music all have their place in this production where The Breakfast Club meets The Sixth Sense.

 

CREW
Director: Javier Ruiz Caldera (Spanish Movie)
Producers: Francisco Sánchez (Spanish Movie), Eneko Lizarraga (Spanish Movie), Simón de Santiago (Agora), Fernando Bovaira (The Others) Edmon Roch (Lope), Sandra Hermida (Biutiful)
Scriptwriters: Cristóbal Garrido, Adolfo Valor
Director of Photography: Arnau Valls (Eva)
Special Effects: Lluis Castells (The Orphanage), Jordi San Agustín (Transsiberian)

CAST
Raúl Arévalo (I'm so Excited, Cousinhood)
Alexandra Jiménez (Spanish Movie)
Carlos Areces (I'm so Excited, The Last Circus)
Aura Garrido (Crematorium)

 

Film Factory Entertainment is attending the Marché du Film and are pleased to meet with buyers.
Location: Riviera A5 Cinema from Spain stand, Film Factory booth.
Schedule a meeting: t.oliete@filmfactory.es

Film Factory boards 'Weddings'
Jan 31, 2013

Pic's producers seek to make international comedies out of Spain

 

By JOHN HOPEWELL

 

MADRID -- Film Factory Entertainment is partnering with "The Impossible" producer Apaches Ent., comedy specialists Think Studio and Ciskul and broadcaster-backed Antena 3 Films on romantic comedy "Three Many Weddings."


A groundbreaking comedy, the Warners-distribbed "Weddings" aims to consolidate a new business model for mainstream filmed entertainment.


Apaches, Think Studio, Ciskul and Antena 3 Films produce. Film Factory has acquired worldwide sales rights. It present first footage at Berlin.


Helmed by Javier Ruiz Caldera, whose latest comedy, "Ghost Graduation," was a Fox pickup for Nort and Latin America, "Weddings" turns on a woman, played by Inma Cuesta ("Cousins") who questions her love-life when invited to three former boyfriends' weddings in just one month.


In Spain, comedies were once thought predominantly local fare, reveled in Spanish references, and featured often comically dysfunctional men.


No more. " 'Three More Weddings' combines a Farrelly brothers' humor with a 'Bridget Jones'-style central character," said Maria Angulo, who produced for Apaches.


"The comedy could take place anywhere."


With Spanish B.O. largely depressed by recession, producers can't risk one roll of the dice just makin local movies.


"Weddings" is, nevertheless, a prime B.O. hit candidate for Spain.


"Warner Bros. has set a Dec. 6 release date for "Weddings," prime box office real estate, kicking off one of Spain's most popular bank holidays.


Antena 3 Films TV group owner Antena 3 will market "Weddings" across its powerful TV channel bouquet, a strategy that has goosed recent B.O. perfs for Spanish movies from "The Impossible" downwards.


Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this article.

UNIT 7 for the Goya Awards!
Jan 8, 2013

Nominated for 16 Spanish Academy Awards!

A domestic box office hit that has earned unanimous laurels from critics, UNIT 7 now has 16 more notches on its road to success.

 

Today, the Spanish Film Academy announced that UNIT 7 has raked in 16 nominations for their Goya Awards, including such stand-outs as Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Lead Male for Antonio de la Torre.



Film Factory Entertainment will be attending the upcoming European Film Market and are pleased to meet with potential buyers.
Location: Stand #21 Cinema from Spain
in Martin Gropius Bau, Film Factory booth.
Schedule a meeting: t.oliete@filmfactory.es

 

UNIT 7 is an action thriller from talented director Alberto Rodríguez
who surprised us with his films 7 VIRGINS and AFTER.

 

CAST
Mario Casas (Neon Flesh, 3 Meters Above the Sky)
Antonio de la Torre (Cousinhood, Neon Flesh)
Inma Cuesta (Cousinhood, The Sleeping Voice)
Joaquín Núñez
José Miguel Rivera “Poga”
Estefanía de los Santos

 

CREW
Director: Alberto Rodríguez (7 Virgins, After)
Executive Producer: José Antonio Félez (Cousinhood, DarkBlueAlmostBlack)
Producers: José Antonio Félez, Gervasio Iglesias (Juan of the Dead)
Scriptwriter: Rafael Cobos (7 Virgins)
Story: Rafael cobos, Alberto Rodríguez
Director of Photography: Alex Catalán (Even the Rain, The Sleeping Voice)
Original Score: Julio De La Rosa (Cousinhood, Neon Flesh, 7 Virgins)
Editor: José M. G. Moyano (7 Virgins)

The End
Dec 5, 2012

A fascinating if frustrating apocalyptic drama, Jorge Torregrossa's debut, "The End," is less about big bangs, and more about questioning silences.

 

By JONATHAN HOLLAND

 

A fascinating if frustrating apocalyptic drama, Jorge Torregrossa's debut, "The End," is less about big bangs, and more about questioning silences. Adopting the high-risk strategy of raising dramatic and existential questions to which it offers no answers, this stylishly made tale of a group of fortysomethings who mysteriously disappear fuses low-grade sci-fi with high-minded ideas, so that auds prepared to go all the way with its crazed logic will enjoy it more than those seeking straightforward thrills. Visually polished and always intriguing, the pic confirms that, whatever its failings, Spanish genre cinema isn't lacking ambition. Presales have been brisk.

 

Accompanied by girlfriend Eva (Clara Lago), Felix (Daniel Grao) returns for a reunion with his old gang at the remote rural house where they partied a little too wildly 20 years before. On the journey, Felix briefly and somewhat obviously outlines who the others are for Eva's and the audience's benefit.


The friends include good-looking Casanova type Hugo (model Andres Velencoso, making his debut) and his partner, insecure Cova (Blanca Romero); Felix's former lover, Maribel (Maribel Verdu), now with troubled Rafa (Antonio Garrido); madcap artist Sergio (Miquel Fernandez); and good-hearted Sara (Carmen Ruiz). Significantly absent is Angel (Eugenio Mira), known by nickname as "the Prophet," but whom nobody wants to discuss, to Eva's irritation.


Old tensions quickly rise to the surface, but are soon forgotten when, following a big whooshing noise and some activity in the night sky, the electricity fails. Neither cars nor cell phones work, and overnight, Rafa inexplicably disappears. Heading to the nearest house the next day, the friends find it suddenly abandoned. As they continue through a ravine to the nearest village, a day's walk away through stunning, rocky landscapes, they begin to realize they may be the only people left, some massive evil force is at work, and nobody has a clue what it is. High-profile writers Sergio G. Sanchez ("The Orphanage") and Jorge Guerricaechevarria ("Cell 211") may know, although the results suggest they've simply overreached this time.


After an hour, the pic enters anything-goes territory, featuring striking situations and images that have been drained of apparent meaning. Especially evocative is a scene in which the characters wander speechless among airplane wreckage. As the stakes rise, the protags' plight becoming increasingly surreal, as when they escape on bicycles from a pack of German Shepherds -- a scene that starts out risibly and ends with the pic's most quietly devastating moment.


While all the supernatural hijinks are apparently being used to explore isolation, unhappiness and the onset of middle age, among other themes, the problem is that the film can be shaped to suit practically any interpretation. The links between all this and the mysterious Angel are similarly implied but not connected. Daringly, or maybe just lazily, most of the expectations the script sets up remain unfulfilled, leaving auds to decide whether the results are thought-provoking or vacuous. Luckily, philosophical dialogues are kept short, though surely there should be a moratorium on the fact that the light that reaches the Earth is from stars long dead (reprised here by Sanchez from his script for "The Impossible").


The cast is too large for truly individualized characters, and some of them are gone too soon anyway, but in general, the female thesps, especially Lago, give stronger, more nuanced performances than their male counterparts. The sounds of nature are evocatively brought to the fore, while the town and landscapes, shot in gorgeous colors by d.p. Jose David Montero, are sheer eye candy.

Argentine helmer looks to animation
Dec 1, 2012

Campanella hopes 'Foosball' can kicks off nation's toon industry

After winning the foreign language film Oscar in 2010 for "The Secret in Their Eyes," Argentinean director Juan Jose Campanella didn't lack for top offers from Hollywood. The film earned a standout $6.3 million in the U.S. for Sony Pictures Classics, and the NYU-trained helmer was no stranger to U.S. production, having helmed episodes of "Law & Order" and "House," and copping Daytime Emmys for segs in HBO's "Lifestories: Families in Crisis."

 

Yet his next production is neither U.S.-based nor, for that matter, live action. It is, however, top-shelf. At $20 million, the stereo 3D "Foosball," a soccer-themed distant cousin to "Toy Story" and "Wreck-It Ralph," is the most expensive Latin American animated film ever. UIP has picked up the film for Argentina (where it's slated to bow June 20) and Spain, and has bought rights for the rest of Latin America.

 

"('Foosball') came at a moment in life when I wanted to stretch my muscles, to put my feet in the mud again, as we say in Spanish," Campanella says. "After doing so many big live action movies for Argentina and mainstream U.S. TV, where everything is so compartmentalized and professional, I wanted to go back to my craft, to basics."

 

The toon, inspired by Argentine writer Roberto Fontanarrosa's "Memoirs of a Right Winger," centers on a boy whose foosball figures come alive. Their fighting spirit helps him as a teen to take on a professional soccer team, save his hometown and win back his childhood sweetheart. Campanella presented a short reel of excerpts at the recent Ventana Sur mart in Buenos Aires.

 

"Kids face rights of passage, and acceptance of reality's hard facts. In 'Foosball,' it's the other way round: They learn about magic in real life," says Campanella, who cites 1968 live-action musical "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" as the movie that most affected him as a child.

 

Campanella is hoping to help create some magic for Argentina's nascent animation biz. "Foosball's" Argentine producers have created a 10,750 square-foot studio in Buenos Aires and inked sponsorship deals with Hewlett Packard and Intel for rendering and with 3D software design company Autodesk.

 

The trick is to figure out a way to compete with animation from the likes of Pixar-Disney or DreamWorks, without pricing a film out of the market.

 

"A large part of CGI animation quality depends on budget. The more manpower, the more detail you have, but the higher the budget," says Martin Moszkowicz at Germany's Constantin, producer of the motion capture-animated "Tarzan," a big Cannes pre-sales hit. "Everybody tries to accommodate a lesser budget with a higher degree of creativity, and smaller more movable units."

 

For Argentina, the 2001 economic crisis, which decimated the peso exchange rate, also cut local labor costs in dollar terms. "Foosball" trimmed costs further by streamlining the production's chain of command. The concept creator of Universal's "Despicable Me," Sergio Pablos, oversaw 20 minutes animation at his SPA Studios in Spain, and advised Campanella on direction.

 

"We don't have to redo stuff four times for four sets of executives," Campanella says. "It's amazing how many millions that cuts."

 

A contained budget lessens dependence on distribution in the U.S., where so many films target families and children that, according to Moszkowicz, "You have to spend an immense amount on P&A just to make yourself heard."

 

"Foosball" uses only two art designers: Mariano Epelbaum, who created every character, and Nelson Luty, for sets, props and backgrounds. Adds Campanella, "We think we've reached a very realistic, subtle level of acting, with faces and gestures."

 

A key, according to Campanella, was finding a storytelling angle to give a tale involving table soccer figures emotional drive and depth. Eduardo Sacheri, co-scribe on "Secret," also co-wrote "Foosball."

 

Tim Westcott, at IHS-Screen Digest, says the fact that "Foosball" is soccer-themed is a bonus. "It's a global sport," he notes. "(And) there's a World Cup in Latin America in 2014."

 

The production has pulled in weighty partners. Argentina's Jempsa, Spain's Plural-Jempsa and Antena 3 Films produce. Campanella's 100 Bares, Catmandu and Convoy Films exec produce.

 

In addition to UIP, presales include a heavyweight deal with Russia's Carmen Films, plus deals for Turkey (Mediavision), the Middle East (Gulf Film) and Poland (Iti Cinema).

 

Canal Plus pre-bought Spanish pay-TV rights, Telefe free-to-air broadcast in Argentina, Antena 3 and La Sexta free-TV in Spain.

 

Major territories are under negotiation for theatrical, says Vicente Canales at sales agent Film Factory.

 

Moreover, the producers are negotiating with a "very significant U.K. Group" for an English-language version with top British and American talent, according to Jorge Estrada Mora, prexy of Plural-Jempsa, who reckons the current iteration of "Foosball" can recoup without the U.S. or Europe beyond Spain.

 

Will it all work?

 

"We'd love to build an animation industry (in Argentina)," Campanella says. "We have the talent; we now have the tools. But a lot of planets have to align."

 

Still, there's no harm in optimism. Sacheri is writing a treatment for "Foosball 2."

Luminor boards 'Cannibal'
Oct 26, 2012

Film Factory takes rights to suspense thriller

MADRID


France's Luminor, Russia's CTB and Romania's Libra Film are set to co-produce "Cannibal," a suspense thriller from Manuel Martin Cuenca ("The Weakness of the Bolshevik," "Half of Oscar") set up at Spain's Mod Producciones ("Agora," "Biutiful," "Fin") and Martin Cuenca's label, La Loma Blanca.

Luminor is the production subsidiary of Films Distribution.

Film Factory has acquired international rights to "Cannibal" and will introduce the title at next week's American Film Market.

Also written by Martin Cuenca and long-time co-scribe Alejandro Hernandez, "Cannibal" turns on Carlos, Granada's most prestigious tailor, a respected man who dedicates his life to his work and eating, especially women. One day, he meets Nina, the twin-sister of a woman he's eaten, an immigrant from Eastern Europe.

Antonio de la Torre, who played the husband of Penelope Cruz's character in "Volver" and has reunited with Pedro Almodovar for "I'm So Excited," will limn Carlos.

Principal photography is skedded for January in Granada.

A project with pedigree, "Cannibal" was first presented at the Paris Festival Different! then Paris Project. In 2012, it was selected for Rotterdam's Cinemart and then for the Cannes Festival's Cinefondation Atelier workshop.

"'Cannibal' perfectly suits our slate of quality films with great commercial potential, and it's special and different," said Film Factory CEO Vicente Canales.

"This is Hitchcock meets Bunuel," said Mod partner Simon de Santiago. "It's upscale film noir, with continuous suspense, exotic Spanish local details reminiscent of Bunuel," he added.

 

By JOHN HOPEWELL

'Combustion,' 'Family,' 'Witching' roll in Spain
Oct 4, 2012

Film Factory nabs three big 2013 Spanish releases

SITGES -- Despite swingeing subsidy cuts this April, movies are still being put into production in Spain.


Barcelona-based Film Factory announced Thursday its acquisition of sales rights to three of Spain's biggest 2013 bets: Daniel Calparsoro's "Combustion," Daniel Sanchez Arevalo's "My Family and Other Hooligans" and Alex de la Iglesia's "Witching & Bitching." Fully financed, all three are shooting.


Rolling Sept. 22, "Combustion" stars Alex Gonzalez ("X Men: First Class"), Adriana Ugarte ("The Opposite of Love") and Alberto Ammann ("Invader") in a street-car racing action thriller with a love story.


Having made blockbuster "I Want You," Zeta Cinema and Antena 3 Films, broadcaster Antena 3's film arm, once more co-produce.


Shooting from late August, "Family" stars Sanchez Arevalo regulars Antonio de la Torre ("I'm So Excited") and Quim Gutierrez (Darkbluealmostblack") in an ensemble comedy about a family forced to marry the youngest sibling the day Spain plays in the final of the soccer World Cup in South Africa. Atipica Films ("Unit 7") Mod Prods. ("Biutiful," "Agora") and Antena 3 Films produce in collaboration with Warner Bros. Pictures Espana, which distributes in Spain.


Horror comedy "Witching" rolled Monday, with Carmen Maura, Mario Casas ("I Want You") and Hugo Silva ("The Opposite of Love"). Enrique Cerezo produces. Pubcaster RTVE has acquired free-to-air rights.


Spain's film industry fears more double-digit subsidy cuts for 2013. Yet Spanish broadcasters are still required by law to pre-buy or co-produce local films. Antena 3 Films is investing in eight 2012 shoots, CEO Mercedes Gamero said at San Sebastian.


Key players remain capitalized, tapping bank credit. However tough, international markets can still aid recoupment.

 

By JOHN HOPEWELL

Horror comedy set to bewitch Spain
Sep 27, 2012

SAN SEBASTIAN -- Alex de la Iglesia, Spain's most prominent black comedy helmer, has teamed with powerful Spanish producer Enrique Cerezo on horror laffer "Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi" (Witching and Bitching), in what looks to be one of the country's flagship productions for 2013.


Vicente Canales' sales company Film Factory Ent. has picked up "Witching's" international sales rights.


"Witching" is one of 25 pre-buys recently unveiled by TVE, the TV division of Spanish pubcaster RTVE, at a joint press conference with Spanish producer umbrella association Fapae. It was held Thursday at the San Sebastian festival.


According to De la Iglesia, "Witching" is a mix of his 1995 groundbreaking hit "The Day of the Beast" with multi-awarded 2000 comedy "Commonwealth."


"It is an outrageous comedy, in the line of 'It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,' but a horror comedy," De la Iglesia told Variety.


The pic turns on a robber band trying to flee to France after purloining 25,000 gold rings from a Spanish city. A curse falls on them and they fall into the clutches of the witches of the Navarrese town of Zugarramurdi.


Rolling from Oct. 1 on location in Zugarramurdi for two weeks, the production will continue for seven more weeks in Madrid.


"Witching's" ensemble cast boasts some of Spain's biggest film and TV stars, such as Mario Casas ("I Want You"), Hugo Silva ("Sex, Parties and Lies") and Carmen Maura, who earned a best actress award at San Sebastian in 2000 for her role in "Commonwealth."


Further cast members are Terele Pavez, Carolina Bang, Secun de la Rosa, Pepon Nieto and Jaime Ordonez.


"We have brought together one of the most important casts in Spain in years, along with the best Spanish film director," producer Enrique Cerezo told Variety in San Sebastian.


"This should be one of the biggest film sensations in Spain for 2013," he added.

Pic is budgeted at Euros 6 million ($7.8 million). Paybox Canal Plus has acquired pay TV rights, said production manager Carlos Bernases.

 

Further TVE pre-buys includes two films directed by Isabel Coixet, Aiete Mararia-produced "Nadie quiere la noche," and "Panda Eyes," a Tornasol Films co-production with Wales' Rainy Day Films.


Other TVE acquisitions include Fernando Leon de Aranoa's "El Pozo," co-produced with Mediapro, David Trueba's "Almeria, 1966" at Buenavida Prods., Emilio Aragon's road movie "A Night in Old Mexico," with Robert Duvall and Jeremy Irvine, and first-timer Beatriz Sanchis' dramatic comedy "Todos estan muertos," toplining Elena Anaya.

 

BY EMILIANO DE PABLOS

UNIT 7 for the Oscars!
Sep 11, 2012

Spanish candidate for the Oscars, the European Film Awards and Mexico's Ariel Awards

After becoming a local box office hit and garnering unanimous recognition from critics, UNIT 7 keeping raking in success.
Today, the Spanish Film Academy confirmed that UNIT 7 is one of the three candidates for the Oscars.

And in Berlin, the list of candidates for the European Film Awards was revealed, which also included Alberto Rodríguez’s film.

UNIT 7 is also a candidate for Mexico’s Ariel Awards.

 

UNIT 7 is an action thriller from talented director Alberto Rodríguez who surprised us with his films 7 VIRGINS and AFTER.

UNIT 7 is produced by Atípica Films (DarkBlueAlmostBlack, Elsa & Fred, Cousinhood) and stars Spain’s number one actor today, Mario Casas (Neon Flesh, Brain Drain), along with Inma Cuesta (Cousinhood) and Antonio de la Torre (The Last Circus, Cousinhood). The film is chock full of adrenaline and violence and evokes the style of CELL 211.

 

Unit 7 has a tough mission: to clean the most dangerous drug trafficking networks out of the city and bring an end to the corrosive power that has taken hold of the streets. A detail of four, led by Ángel (Mario Casas), a young officer aspiring to detective, and Rafael (Antonio de la Torre), a violent, arrogant, yet efficient cop.
But Unit 7’s modus operandi is slipping outside the bounds of law through their use of violence, coercion, lies and half-truths. For them, anything goes. As they gain ground in their mission, the two officers head in opposite directions. Ángel takes the path of ambition and police excesses, while Rafael will begin to change as a result of his feelings for beautiful, enigmatic Lucía.

Overbrook attending 'Ghost Graduation'
May 4, 2012

Will Smith's company setting up remake of Spanish laffer at Fox

Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment is materializing on "Ghost Graduation," setting up a remake of the Spanish comedy at Fox.


Overbrook, operated by Smith, James Lassiter and Ken Stovitz closed its producing deal Friday. The banner is looking to hire a writer to pen the adaptation, but there's no plan for Smith to star.


With elements of "Ghost," "The Breakfast Club" and "The Sixth Sense," story centers on a teacher with paranormal abilities who helps a group of ghosts confined to the high school where they died years earlier in a fire. The Spanish pic, "Promocion Fantasma," was directed by Javier Ruiz Caldera and released earlier this year. Gary Glushon is overseeing for Overbrook.


Shingle is also producing sci-fier "1000 A.E." for Sony with M. Night Shyamalan directing and Smith and son Jaden starring. Studio's set a June 7, 2013 release date.

 

By DAVE MCNARY, Variety.

Film Factory to sell slasher Afterparty in Cannes
May 4, 2012

Vicente Canales’ Barcelona based Film Factory has acquired international sales rights to Miguel Larraya’s Afterparty.


The TeleCinco (The Orphanage) and Telespan 2000 (Game of Werewolves) co-production is about a TV star locked in a house with three girls and haunted by a mysterious killer.

Tomás Cimadevilla for Telespan and Alvaro Agustín for TeleCinco are producing.

Afterparty is the debut feature of Miguel Larraya. The cast includes young Spanish actors Luis Fernández (Three Steps Above Heaven)) and Úrsula Corberó (Paranormal Xperience 3D). The film has also on board REC franchise cinematographer Pablo Rosso and musician Lucas Vidal (The Raven).


Vicente Canales says of the film: “Afterparty is an explosive mix of horror and action, a departure from everything we’ve previoulsy seen in the slasher genre. Buyers will be surprised”.

 

By JUAN SARDA, Screendaily.

Trio team for 'After Party'
May 3, 2012

Telespan, Telecinco, Film Factory link on Spanish slasher

PARIS -- Spain may be in crisis, but its upscale genre pic production, its prime export fare, most certainly is not. In the latest move, three top-of-the-line Spanish companies -- Telespan 2000, Telecinco Cinema and Film Factory -- are teaming on Spanish slasher "After Party."


Tomas Cimadevilla ("The Other Side of the Bed," "Soccer Days") produces. Telecinco Cinema ("The Impossible," "Pan's Labyrinth") has boarded as a co-producer. Film Factory has acquired worldwide rights outside Spain.


A smart genre shocker, "After Party" stars a young Spanish cast -- Luis Hernandez ("Three Steps Above the Sky") and Ursula Corbero ("Paranormal Experience 3D"). It turns on a teen idol TV actor who wakes up with three girls after a wild party and, trapped in a house, receives cell phone vids of the real-time deaths of other party revelers, also locked up in the house. But things may not be quite how they seem.


First-time director Miguel Larraya directs, but Spanish genre specialists occupy key crew positions: "After Party" cinematographer is Pablo Rosso, d.p. on the "REC" franchise, composer is Lucas Vidal ("Sleep Tight") and fx supervisor is Isidro Fernandez ("Extraterrestrial").


Screenplay is by Larraya and Fernando Sancristobal.


While many Spanish genre films skew older, weighing in more as psychological thrillers, "After Party" has "thriller elements but also horror targeting squarely young teen audiences," said Film Factory's Vicente Canales, who will introduce a promo to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival, which starts May 16.

 

By JOHN HOPEWELL, Variety.

Zeta, Mod, Antena 3 team on 'Zip & Zap'
Apr 27, 2012

Family laffer one of Spain's big pix in 2013

MADRID -- Three of Spain's most international production players, Zeta Cinema, Mod Producciones and Antena 3 Films, will team to produce live-action movie "Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang," a heavyweight Spanish production for 2013.


Francisco Ramos, Fernando Bovaira and Mercedes Gamero produce, alongside Koldo Zazua of Kowalski Films.


Vicente Canales' Film Factory will sell "Zip & Zap" worldwide. It will introduce the film to buyers at Cannes' Marche du Film.


"Zip & Zap" reps the soph pic of Spanish helmer Oskar Santos, whose debut, "For the Good of Others," world preemed in 2010 at the Berlin Film Festival. The pic, which was produced by Alejandro Amenabar, was sold to 30 countries.


"Zip & Zap," which was penned by Santos, Francisco Roncal and Jorge Lara, turns on the antics of mischievous twin brothers, dispatched to a strict summer school, where they wreak havoc. It will lense this summer.


A big-screen makeover of one of Spain's most celebrated comic-book series, first published in 1946, "Zip & Zap" forms part of the policy at Zeta, a top Spanish publishing group, of exploiting the film and TV potential of its properties.


Canales described it as "a family adventure event movie with extensive vfx, channeling films like 'The Goonies' and 'Harry Potter.' "


The pic reps a relatively new play by Spanish producers for family auds, which has proved a success for counterparts elsewhere in Europe. In Germany, for example, the move into family entertainment has yielded rich results for Constantin, whose "Animals United" has grossed $80 million worldwide. France's Studiocanal scored a similar success with "Sammy's Adventures," the first fruit of its partnership with Ben Stassen's NWave, which made $75 million worldwide.

 

By JOHN HOPEWELL, Variety.

Elena Anaya toplines 'Inertia'
Apr 11, 2012

Actress joins Isaac on Collet-Serra production

MADRID -- Spain's Elena Anaya ("The Skin I Live In") will play the femme lead in action-thriller "Inertia", which is directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego ("Apollo 18," "King of the Hill").


Spain's Roxbury Pictures and Jaume Collet-Serra's L.A.-based Ombra Films produce.
Oscar Isaac ("Inside Llewyn Davis") stars in "Inertia" as an immigrant who witnesses a fatal hit-and-run and pursues the mysterious car in a non-stop chase. Anaya limns his ex g.f. Their predicament rekindles the relationship, said Roxbury's Miguel Angel Faura.
From a screenplay by Lopez-Gallego and regular co-scribe Fernando Navarro, mainly Spanish-language "Inertia" shoots from late August in Barcelona, Aragon and Andalusia, Faura added.


Film Factory has already closed a brace of major territory pre-sales on the pic.
Now recognized as one of Spain's foremost actresses after her star turn in Pedro Almodovar's "The Skin I Live In", Anaya broke through to international attention with 2004's "Van Helsing". She also played in "Savage Grace" and "Cairo Time", and took notable roles in two of France's highest-profile action-thrillers of late, testosterone gangster bio "Mesrine" and full-on actioner "Point Blank".


Anaya will topline Beatriz Sanchis' "Todos estan muertos", and is also in negotiations to star in the Sigma-produced "Swung", helmed by Colin Kennedy, and to feature in Rain Li's love story "Geography of the Hapless Heart".


Anaya is represented by CAA's Hylda Queally and Katrina Bayonas at Kuranda Management.

 

By JOHN HOPEWELL and EMILIO MAYORGA, Variety.

Unit 7
Apr 3, 2012

A hard-hitting corrupt-cop thriller that's more about people than plot.

"Unit 7" is that rare beast, a hard-hitting corrupt-cop thriller that's more about people than plot. Set in the late 1980s, when the city of Seville was about to become a global focus of attention, the pic offers a tough, tender take on the rise and fall of a supposedly crack squad of ne'er-do-wells, rooted in a local community that helmer Alberto Rodriguez ("Seven Virgins," "After") knows well, evokes beautifully and seemingly loves unconditionally. This highly charged, often enthralling reworking of standard motifs merits offshore interest.

 

The eponymous unit consists of four plainclothes cops charged with cleansing Seville's streets of drugs and prostitution before the 1992 Intl. Exhibition rolls into town. Ambitious, inexperienced Angel (Mario Casas) is married to Elena (Inma Cuesta) and dreams of being an inspector. Intensely religious Rafael (Antonio de la Torre, playing a borderline psychopath not unlike his character in Alex de la Iglesia's "The Last Circus") is given to publicly humiliating dealers by stripping them of their clothes. Mateo (Joaquin Nunez) is a tubby, motor-mouthed barfly. Less distinctive all around, Miguel (Jose Manuel Poga) supplies a normalizing counterweight to his colleagues' excesses.

 

The team's problems start after a raid during which Angel, wanting a piece of the action, quietly slips a package of cocaine under his belt. Before long, the boys are planting drugs on their targets and using increasingly violent methods to attain results, while the media paint them as barrio Robin Hoods. As Angel becomes increasingly explosive, the profoundly lonely Rafael unwisely brings addict Lucia (Lucia Guerrero) into his home and tries to clean her up; before long, they fall afoul of the neighborhood and the anti-corruption squad.

 

The pic is unfailingly gripping in its depiction of the group dynamics among these four intensely insecure men. Finally given a script that allows him to flex more than just muscles and attitude, one-time heartthrob Mario Casas ("Neon Flesh") does good work as Angel becomes increasingly unhinged, while Torre, almost without moving a facial muscle, manages to eke out a little sympathy for a character who enjoys bashing people's mouths with a hammer. Secondary roles are uniformly authentic, scripted and played with the understanding that also informed helmer Rodriquez's previous film, "Seven Virgins."

 

Though it meets its quota of efficient but unspectacular chase sequences and musical montages, the pic offers grace notes of tenderness and subtlety, including the true-but-surreal moments that are a hallmark of Andalucian life as well as Rodriguez's style, such as when Mateo asks for something to nibble on from a barman they're threatening, or when the boys stride, armed, through a living room where a couple of elderly ladies are having coffee.

 

Beyond the specifics, "Unit 7" reps a contempo update of classic Spanish picaresque, marrying it to a critique of a system based on envy and greed. Commenting on how the line between cop and criminal has become essentially meaningless, the film has much to say about the roots of the sorry economic mess in which Europe now finds itself.

 

The violence is pretty raw, with soundwork making a crucial contribution. Alex Catalan's lensing captures the chaotic, overheated labyrinths of the Seville barrios to which tourist videocameras rarely have access, while Julio de la Rosa's score is elegantly restrained.

 

By JONATHAN HOLLAND, Variety.

Code 60 pick-up
Mar 5, 2012

FILM FACTORY ENTERTAINMENT is proud to announce the pick-up of CODE 60, an OBERÓN CINEMATOGRÁFICA and TELEVISIÓ DE CATALUNYA coproduction

 

Film Factory will be presenting CODE 60 at MipTV.

 

 

Film Factory Entertainment together with OBERÓN CINEMATOGRÁFICA and TELEVISIÓ DE CATALUNYA, announce today that Film Factory has acquired the international sales rights on CODE 60, aka CÓDIGO 60, a film by C. Martín Ferrera (Hole).

 

CODE 60 is a gripping police thriller based on the real-life case of the “Old Lady Killer”, a woman whose crimes stumped the police and sent a wave of panic through Barcelona.   

 

Producer Antonio Chavarrías won the 2009 Golden Bear for MILK OF SORROW, aka LA TETA ASUSTADA, and recently presented CHILDISH GAMES, aka DICTADO, at the 2012 Berlinale Official Competition as the only Spanish title in the festival.

 

CODE 60 screenplay was penned by Oriol Paulo, screenwriter of the international success JULIA’S EYES, aka LOS OJOS DE JULIA, and THE BODY, aka EL CUERPO.

 

Full Synopsis: Eva is a young police officer with her sights set on breaking into homicide, but is stuck in the robbery unit. One day, she is asked to join the hunt for a serial killer with a predilection for murdering old women in the panic-stricken city. The rookie agent will have to juggle capturing the murderer while toughing out her own personal battle against Chief Inspector Xavier Vidal, the man who constantly shuts the door to the homicide unit in Eva’s face.

 

 

Film Factory speaks proudly about this film, “CODE 60 is a TV Movie with film quality, not only is the story real and thrilling, but the crew is also top class. It’s a pleasure to be working with production companies as good as OBERÓN CINEMATOGRÁFICA and TELEVISIÓ DE CATALUNYA,” says Vicente Canales, from Film Factory.

 

 

Useful info:

 

CREW

Director: C. Martín Ferrera (Hole)

Producer: Antonio Chavarrías (Milk of Sorrow, Neon Flesh)

Screenplay: Oriol Paulo (Julia's Eyes), Lara Sendim

Story: Carmen Fernández

Associate Producer: Àngels Masclans

Producer for TVC: Oriol Sala-Patau

Producer for Costa Oeste: Carmen De Miguel

Director of Photography: José Luis Bernal

Music: Sergio Moure

Editor: Xavi Carrasco

 

CAST

Eva Riera                  Anna Allen

Xavier Vidal              Nacho Fresneda        

Marieta/Soledad       Merce Castro

Ribalta                     Ernesto Collado

Milena                      Cristina Genebat

Berta                        Mari Pau Pigem

Mariano                    Alfonso Agra     

 

International Distribution: FILM FACTORY ENTERTAINMENT  info@filmfactory.es

 

About Film Factory Entertainment: FILM FACTORY ENTERTAINMENT is an independent Spanish international sales agency based in Barcelona.

FILM FACTORY’s objective is the international sale of Spanish Cinema’s most important productions, working with a selective slate, choosing films with the highest international potential and also collaborating with Europe and Latin America’s most prominent production companies.

 

 

FILM FACTORY has established itself in the market as a sales agent capable of taking on projects at an early stage and ensuring that these projects achieve pre-sales.

FILM FACTORY’s line-up is defined on the basis of two main principles:

 

1) Genre films: those that would be considered original films with young directors as well as groundbreaking and novel subject matters.

 

2) Quality films with great commercial potential: each year’s most important productions from the most important and elite directors.

Film Factory inks deal flurry on 'End'
Mar 2, 2012

Pacts include France, Japan, Mexico

MADRID -- Sales agent Film Factory Ent. has struck a flurry of deals on first-time Spanish helmer Jorge Torregrossa's thriller "Fin" (The End).

 

France's Seven Sept and Films Distribution have jointly acquired French distribution rights. Nettai Museum closed Japan; Quality Films took Mexico.

 

More than 15 territories were inked off last month's European Film Market in Berlin, where Film Factory showed buyers a three-minute promo.

 

Pic also sold to Focus Cultural Media in China, Paradiso (Benelux), Frenetic (Switzerland), Premier Film (CIS and the Baltics) and Ares Film (Turkey).

 

A mountain cabin chiller with fantasy elements, "End" confirms the international market appetite for higher-profile foreign-language genre movies from companies with bullish track records.

 

Produced by three of Spain's top international film production companies, Apaches Ent. ("The Impossible"), Mod Prods ("Biutiful") and Antena 3 Films ("Red Lights"), pic is penned by "Cell 211" scribe Jorge Guerricaechevarria and Sergio G. Sanchez ("The Orphanage").

 

Further sales include Cineplex for Colombia and Central America, Cines Unidos in Venezuela and Delta Films in Peru.

 

Film Factory has also licensed Latin American pay TV rights to Leda Films and is in advanced negotiations for the U.K. and Germany, according to Film Factory founder Vicente Canales.

 

Sony Pictures will release "End" in Spanish theaters on Aug. 31. Maribel Verdu ("Pan's Labyrinth"), Daniel Grao ("Julia's Eyes") and Clara Lago ("Primos") star.

 

By EMILIANO DE PABLOS, Variety.

Film Factory sells The End to more than 12 territories including France, China, Mexico
Mar 1, 2012

Vicente Canales’ Film Factory confirmed a slew of deals at EFM for Jorge Torregrossa’s Spanish thriller The End (Fin).

 

The film has presold to France (Seven Sept), China (Focus Cultural Media), Japan (Nettai Museum) and Mexico (Quality Films) among many others in Latin America.

 

Other companies and territories included in this raft of international presales are Benelux (Paradiso), Switzerland (Frenetic), CIS and Baltics (Premier Films), Turkey (Ares Film), Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador (Delta Films), Colombia and Central America (Cineplex), Venezuela (Cines Unidos) and Latin American pay TV (Leda Films).

 

Based on a very popular Spanish novel, The End was adapted by Sergio G. Sánchez (The Impossible, The Orphanage) and Jorge Guerricoechevarría (Cell 211) and has a strong cast led by Maribel Verdú and top young Spanish upcoming actors like Blanca Romero, Claro Lago and international top model Andrés Velencoso.

 

The story follows the unfortunate gathering of a group of old friends in a mountain cabin. The tension among them is evident for an obscure episode of the past, but it will get creepier as soon as they kept isolated in the middle of the forest with no communication to the outside world. The dark past will come to haunt them.

 

The film, currently in post-production, was produced by Mod Productions (Biutiful, Agora), Apaches Entertainment (The Impossible) and Antena 3 Films (Red Lights).

Sony Pictures bets on 'Pelayos'
Feb 28, 2012

Daniel Bruhl-starrer opens April 27 in Spain

MADRID -- Sony Pictures Releasing has snagged Spanish theatrical and home entertainment rights to adventure-movie "The Pelayos" (Winning Streak), starring Daniel Bruhl.


The Sony pickup will help consolidate "Pelayos'" status as one of Spain's higher-profile and audience-friendly films of the year, both at home and abroad.
Pic is based on the true story of the Pelayos, a Spanish family that discovered a way to legally win at roulette, making hundreds of millions of dollars at casinos around the world.


Catalan helmer Eduard Cortes ("Nobody's Life") directed and co-penned the script alongside Piti Espanol.


The choral feature also stars Lluis Homar ("Broken Embraces"), Blanca Suarez ("The Skin I Live In"), Eduard Fernandez ("Biutiful"), Miguel Angel Silvestre ("Verbo") and Vicente Romero ("Cell 211").


Produced by Loris Omedes at Barcelona-based Bausan Films, and Alea Docs & Films' co-founder Daniel Hernandez, "Pelayos" is backed by Spanish pubcaster RTVE and Catalonia's TV3. Canal Plus has taken pay TV rights.


Sold internationally by Film Factory Ent., one of Spain's most active international film sellers, it's already been acquired by Wild Bunch Germany for German-speaking territories.


"The Pelayos" is not a pureplay youth movie, but Spanish cinema attendance is skewing notably older as the country suffers a youth unemployment rate of around 48%.
Film, which bows in Spain April 27 on around 300 prints, world preems April 21 opening the 15th Malaga Spanish Film Festival.

 

By EMILIANO DE PABLOS, Variety.

Collet-Serra to produce 'Inertia'
Feb 14, 2012

Action thriller to star Oscar Isaac

Jaume Collet-Serra will produce action thriller "Inertia", starring Oscar Isaac ("Inside Llewyn Davis"), and directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego ("Apollo 18," "El rey de la montana").
Collet-Serra is producing via his L.A.-based production company Ombra Films, which will team with Miguel Angel Faura's Roxbury Pictures in Barcelona.

Spanish sales agent Film Factory Entertainment, an upscale genre specialist, has been handling international sales at Berlin's European Film Market.

"Inertia" has closed key pre-sales in France (Wildside Films), Russia (Carmen Films), Australia (Vendetta), India (Pictureworks), China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (Pandasia) and the Middle East (Gulf Films), Film Factory's Vicente Canales said at Berlin.

Isaac is currently in production on the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis." In the Spanish-language "Inertia", Isaac will limn an immigrant who witnesses a fatal hit-and-run and pursues the mysterious car in a nonstop chase. The remainder of the cast will be Spanish, said Faura.

Lopez-Gallego and his regular scribe Fernando Navarro penned the screenplay.

Faura, Collet-Serra and Juan Sola, his producing partner at Ombra, produce.

"I've been a fan of and wanting to work with Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego since 'El rey de la Montana,' " Collet-Serra said. "I'm thrilled that the first film Ombra is doing with Gonzalo will star Oscar Isaac, who I consider to be one of the pre-eminent young actors working today."

L.A.-based Ombra Films was launched in 2010 to produce low-budget, horror, thriller and fantasy films, often with U.S. stars, but made by Spanish directorial and technical talent.

"Inertia" is currently in pre-production, starting principal photography this summer.

"This is a step up in Roxbury's international drive, a film with U.S. co-production and international pre-sales, lessening our dependence on the market in Spain and Spanish financing," said Faura.

Oscar Isaac is managed by Jason Spire at Inspire Entertainment and represented by Kevin Volchok at UTA. Ombra Films is repped by Scott Greenberg at CAA.

 

By JOHN HOPEWELL and EMILIO MAYORGA, Variety.

Sony acquires 'Fin' in Spain
Feb 10, 2012

Chiller penned by Guerricaechevarria, Sanchez

Sony Pictures Releasing Espana has acquired Spanish theatrical and DVD/VOD rights to "Fin" (The End).

 

A mountain log cabin chiller with supernatural elements, "End" is penned by "Cell 211" scribe Jorge Guerricaechevarria and Sergio G. Sanchez ("The Orphanage").

 

Now in post-production, it is also a high-profile 2012 example of a Spanish film which - given the weakness of Spain's DVD and pay TV markets - is designed to move into profit principally off theatrical and international. With its E5 million ($6.6 million) budget, film sports elevated production values from first-time helmer Jorge Torregrossa.

 

 

"End" is produced by three of Spain's top international outfits: Apaches Entertainment ("The Impossible," "Intruders"), Mod Producciones ("Agora," "Biutiful") and Antena 3 Films ("You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger," "Red Lights"), the film division of broadcast network Antena 3.

 

Vicente Canales' Film Factory Entertainment was tapped by the producers before Toronto 2011 to bring it onto the international market.

 

The producers are now tying down distribution in Spain with a studio.

 

Maribel Verdu ("Pan's Labyrinth"), Daniel Grao ("Julia's Eyes") and Clara Lago ("Primos") star.

 

Sony will release "End" in late summer, prime box office real estate in Spain.

 

By JOHN HOPEWELL and EMILIANO DE PABLOS, Variety.

FILM FACTORY ENTERTAINMENT announces its pick-­up UNIT 7 an Atípica Films production.
Feb 9, 2012

Film Factory Entertainment announced today that has acquired the international sales rights on UNIT 7 aka GRUPO 7, an action thriller from talented director Alberto Rodríguez who surprised us with his films 7 Virgins and After.

 

UNIT 7 is produced by Atípica Films (DarkBlueAlmostBlack, Elsa & Fred, Cousinhood) and stars Spain’s number one actor today, Mario Casas (Neon Flesh, Brain Drain), along with Inma Cuesta (Cousinhood) and Antonio de la Torre (The Last Circus, Cousinhood).

 

The film is chock full of adrenaline and violence and evokes the style of CELL 211.

 

UNIT 7 is currently in post-production, and Film Factory will be in attendance at EFM 2012 to present the first teaser promo to buyers.

 

SYNOPSIS

Unit 7 has a tough mission: to clean the most dangerous drug trafficking networks out of the city and bring an end to the corrosive power that has taken hold of the streets. A detail of four, led by Ángel (Mario Casas), a young officer aspiring to detective, and Rafael (Antonio de la Torre), a violent, arrogant, yet efficient cop.

But Unit 7’s modus operandi is slipping outside the bounds of law through their use of violence, coercion, lies and half-truths. For them, anything goes. As they gain ground in their mission, the two officers head in opposite directions. Ángel takes the path of ambition and police excesses, while Rafael will begin to change as a result of his feelings for beautiful, enigmatic Lucía.

 

ABOUT FILM FACTORY ENTERTAINMENT

FILM FACTORY ENTERTAINMENT is an independent Spanish international sales agency based in Barcelona.
FILM FACTORY’s objective is the international sale of Spanish Cinema’s most important productions, working with a selective slate, choosing films with the highest international potential and also collaborating with Europe and Latin America’s most prominent production companies.
FILM FACTORY wants to establish itself in the market as a sales agent capable of taking on projects at an early stage and ensuring that these projects achieve pre-sales.
FILM FACTORY’s line-up is defined on the basis of two main principles:
1) Genre films: those that would be considered original films with young directors as well as groundbreaking and novel subject matters.
2) Quality films with great commercial potential: each year’s most important productions from the most important and elite directors.

 

 

ABOUT ATÍPICA FILMS:

 

Atípica Films is an award-winning, full-service, independent Spanish film production company founded by José Antonio Félez and based in Madrid.

With over 20 years experience in the audiovisual industry, Félez has produced several critically acclaimed box office hits (Elsa & Fred, DarkBlueAlmostBlack), the last one being Cousinhood. He has worked with top directors, writers and actors. Many of them—such as Juan José Ballesta, Daniel Sánchez Arévalo and Alberto Rodríguez—began their career working with him.

 

USEFUL INFORMATION

CAST

Ángel Mario Casas (Neon Flesh, 3 Meters Above the Sky)

Rafael Antonio de la Torre (Cousinhood, Neon Flesh)

Elena Inma Cuesta (Cousinhood, The Sleeping Voice)

Lucía Lucía Guerrero

 

CREW

Director: Alberto Rodríguez (7 Virgins, After)

Producers: José Antonio Félez (Cousinhood, DarkBlueAlmostBlack), Gervasio Iglesias (Juan of the Dead)

Screenwriter: Rafael Cobos (7 Virgins)

Director of Photography: Álex Catalán (Even the Rain, The Sleeping Voice)

Editor: José M.G. Moyano (7 Virgins)                                   

 

International Distribution:

FILM FACTORY ENTERTAINMENT  info@filmfactory.es

Ghost Graduation review
Jan 25, 2012

Grafting "The Sixth Sense" onto "The Breakfast Club" and making it work sounds like a tough call, but the makers of "Ghost Graduation" have pulled it off. This sophomore effort from Javier Ruiz Caldera, the helmer of the uneven-at-best parody "Spanish Movie," creates a loopy, frenetic world it entirely believes in. The result is a fresh, slick slab of entertainment whose roster of tube stars has ensured solid domestic B.O., but there's enough universal fun here to suggest "Ghost" could live on in remake form.



Schoolteacher Modesto (Raul Arevalo) has a special skill that has effectively ruined his life: He can see and communicate with ghosts. But his abilities are finally put to good use when he's hired to investigate wacky goings-on at a high school haunted by a gang of teens who died in a fire in 1986, just before they were about to graduate.



Much "Back to the Future"-style time-travel comedy ensues, though it does seem anachronistic to name one of the dead teens, disco animal Pinfloy (Javier Bodalo), after a 1970s prog-rock band. ("Michael Jackson's dead," Modesto informs them. "That's a shame," Pinfloy replies. "I spent a night at his ranch.")



By talking to the dead father (Luis Varela) of his shrink (popular comic Joaquin Reyes), Modesto learns the gang is in a kind of limbo. Until they can pass their final course, they're not free to leave the school. After some resistance from tough guy Dani (Alex Maruny), the spectral students decide to let Modesto teach them.



Things flow smoothly from setpiece to setpiece, with regular chuckles along the way. Pic is less successful recycling standard material from '80s high-school comedies, but the scenes in which the dead meet the living generate much sly verbal and visual humor. Cristobal Garrido and Adolfo Valor's intelligent script takes its own outlandish propositions very seriously, so that even a tremulous love story between Goth girl Elsa (Aura Garrido) and dead hunk Jorge (Jaime Olias) seems credible, introducing an unexpected note of tenderness.



Perfs are fine, with Arevalo confirming himself as a standout Spanish comic thesp. As the pompous, fussy head of the school's PTA, Carlos Areces is likewise enormously entertaining. Silvia Abril's turn as a secretary reps a weak point, however, appealing only to Spanish auds' undying love of slapstick.



Score is undistinguished, but the tongue-in-cheek use of pop songs is spot-on, with Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and plenty of '80s Spanish power pop calculated to provoke much teen-parent bonding.

Film Factory picks up Fangs for international sales
Jan 25, 2012

By Juan Sarda

Editor Alberto de Toro to make his directorial debut.


Barcelona-based Film Factory has acquired the international sales rights for Fangs (Colmillos), the new movie by Escandalo Films.

Vicente Canales’ Film Factory will show a teaser trailer at the forthcoming Berlin EFM.
Fangs is currently in preproduction to start shooting in March. Alberto del Toro, who has worked as an editor on many Spanish productions such as Ghost Graduation and Spanish Movie, will make his directorial debut. The script is based in the young adult comic book of the same title by Salvador Macip and Albert Roig.


The film tells the story of a wealthy, rebellious teenager, Vicent, who is sent to a summer camp for boys with behaviour problems. Before he arrives, he is kidnapped and sent to a house in the mountains were he is treated like a slave. If he wants to escape, he will have to face the wolves and other creatures of the forest.


Escandalo recently made robotic sci fi Eva, which premiered in Venice. It is the production company of Barcelona-based film school ESCAC and has been also the producer of arthouse hit Three Days With The Family.

Escandalo greenlights 'Fangs'
Jan 25, 2012

By JOHN HOPEWELL

MADRID -- Barcelona's Escandalo Films, one of Spain's key producers of genre pics, the country's biggest movie export commodity, has greenlit its latest fantasy film, the chiller "Colmillos" (Fangs).


Film Factory Ent. has acquired international rights outside Spain.


Alberto de Toro, who cut his teeth editing Mexican-Spanish Aztec curse chiller "KM 31" and Spain's "Ghost Graduation," will make his directorial debut on "Fangs," working from a screenplay with novelist Salvador Macip.


Adapting the award-winning young-adult bestseller of the same title, written by Macip and Sebastian Roig, "Fangs" turns on a troubled teen who is kidnapped, shuttled to a house in the mountains, and forced to work as a slave. The only escape is through a dark forest where mysterious, savage creatures lurk.


"Fangs" rolls September.


A wide-audience film in the line of "The Descent," according to Film Factory founder Vicente Canales, "Fangs" producer Escandalo has emerged as one of Spain's most exciting production companies, working with alums from Barcelona's Escac film school, such as Juan Antonio Bayona, who has the Summit-sold "The Impossible" in post, Alex Pastor, who helmed Paramount Vantage's "Carriers," and "Pan's Labyrinth" editor Bernat Vilaplana.


"Fangs" cinematographer is Arnau Valls, who lensed Escandalo's Daniel Bruhl starrer "Eva"; Alex Villagrasa ("Buried," the "REC" franchise) handles special effects.


"Fangs" consolidates a Film Factory-Escandalo production-sales axis. Film Factory is repping Escandalo's buzzed-up, "Donnie Darko"-ish "Animals," with Martin Freeman, and will screen its multi- episode romancer "Puzzled Love," the first feature of 13 final-year Escac students.

Ondas Award for "Best Spanish TV Series"
Nov 8, 2011

The Canal+ Spanish series CREMATORIUM has received recognition once again this evening in the “Best Spanish Series” category of the 58th edition of Barcelona Radio’s ONDAS AWARDS.


The Ondas have been ongoing since 1954, awarding the best in creation and content in the television sphere, as well as honoring brilliant careers in the television, music and radio sectors. CREMATORIUM achieves this important award after “The Best of the Year” prize received at FesTVal in Vitoria, Spain, for a series that portrays a spitting image of Spanish corruption.


Based on the novel by Rafael Chirbes (National Critics Award 2008, Spain), CREMATORIUM reflects, without making any concessions, what has been happening in a country like Spain over the last few years.


CREMATORIUM is the story of the Bertomeus, a family that has managed to amass a fortune over several generations. Ruben Bertomeu left agriculture behind in order to create a business network that would turn him into the most wealthy and powerful man in Misent. But it is within his family surroundings that Ruben Bertomeu runs into opposition to his view of progress.


Produced by Mod Producciones (Agora, Biutiful) for CANAL+, CREMATORIUM is a portrait of a Spain in which unrestrained voracity and differing views on progress burn up everything in their path.

Starring José Sancho (Live Flesh) along with Alicia Borrachero (The Cronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Love in the Time of Cholera), Juana Acosta (Carlos) and Vlad Ivanov (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 days, The Concert), the series is directed by Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo (The Night of the Sunflowers).


REVIEWS about CREMATORIUM:
CREMATORIUM is a bold, modern TV series of great quality.” El Mundo


CREMATORIUM looks like HBO, but it is a Canal + production. The series, which tells the story of corruption in Spain, is one of this year’s best bets. Don’t miss it!” Cinemania (Mariló García)


“The Sopranos and The Wire are its points of reference, but CREMATORIUM has been able to establish itself in its own right, standing out for the personality of its director...” Cahiers du cinema (Beatriz Martínez)

 

More information: t.oliete@filmfactory.es

Film Factory rolls out 'Fin' at Toronto
Sep 10, 2011

Torregrossa's directorial debut has Spanish pedigree

Spanish sales house Film Factory Entertainment has nabbed worldwide sales rights to Jorge Torregrossa's debut "Fin" (The End).


"End" will be introduced to buyers at Toronto.


Three of Spain's foremost production players team on "End": Apaches Entertainment ("The Impossible"), Mod Producciones ("Agora") and Spanish commercial broadcaster Antena 3's film division Antena 3 Films ("You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger").


"End" turns on a reunion of old friends, now in their 30s or 40s, who spend the weekend in a mountain log cabin. A strange, sudden incident leaves them with no means of communication to the outside world. Seeking help, the group disintegrates, just as a new natural world is revealed to their astonished eyes.


Cast is led by Maribel Verdu.


Two of Spain's most sought-after scriptwriters have penned "End": Jorge Guerricaechevarria ("Cell 211") and Sergio G. Sanchez ("The Orphanage"). The script adapts David Monteagudo's same titled best-selling novel.


Pic is in production, shooting in the Madrid and Valencia regions.


" 'End' is a thriller with decisive fantasy elements. People need original plot twists in genre movies, as in 'End,' which is undoubtedly one of the great Spanish productions of the year," Film Factory CEO Vicente Canales told Variety.


Film Factory's Toronto slate for Toronto includes: Gonzalo Lopez Gallego's car-chase action movie "Inertia"; "Puzzled Love," which has 13 directors; Juan Jose Campanella toon pic "Foosball"; and Eduardo Cortes' "Winning Streak."

 

By Emilio Mayorga.

Film Factory picks up major Spanish project The End
Sep 9, 2011

Spanish outfit Film Factory Entertainment has taken worldwide sales rights to Jorge Torregrossa’s hotly anticipated thriller The End (Fin), starring Maribel Verdu.


The film, which will be presented to buyers at Toronto, is based on the critically acclaimed novel Fin by David Monteagudo about a group of old friends who meet up after years of not seeing each other to stay in a mountain refuge, but an incident leaves them stranded with no communication to the outside world. As they attempt to find help, tensions in the group reach boiling point and a new order is formed.


Long-time Alejandro Amenabar collaborator Fernando Bovaira is producing the project through his outfit Mod Producciones (Biutiful, Agora), alongside hot producer Enrique Lopez-Lavigne for Apaches Entertainment (Intruders, The Impossible), Mercedes Gamero for Antena 3 Films (You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Red Lights), and Misent Producciones.


Multi-award winning shorts director Jorge Torregrossa is helming the feature project, and scriptwriting duties are split between Jorge Guerricaechevarri?a (Cell 211) and Sergio G Sanchez (The Orphanage, The Impossible).


“Fin is undoubtedly one of the great productions in Spanish film for 2012. I know it will surprise buyers and become one of those great Spanish genre movies that have left their mark in the international market. It’s a luxury and a privilege to be able to work with producers of such great international prestige and vision,” says Vicente Canales, head of Film Factory Entertainment.


Shooting of The End will take place this month and next in Madrid and Valencia with the lead cast consisting of Maribel Verdu (Pan’s Labyrinth), Clara Lago (Primos, For The Good Of Others), Blanca Romero (After), Daniel Grao (Julia’s Eyes), Carmen Ruiz (Death To Ugly People) and Miquel Fernandez.


Torregrossa has won more than 100 international awards for his short films, including Verano O Los Defectos De Andres (2006), Manchas (2005), Detesto El Sentimentalismo Barato (2003) and Desire (2000).

 

By Chris Evans.

Film Factory picks up 'Puzzled Love'
Aug 31, 2011

Pic world preems at San Sebastian film fest

Vicente Canales' Film Factory Entertainment has picked up international rights to "Puzzled Love", a 13-part love story produced by Escandalo Films.


Currently in post, "Love" will world preem in San Sebastian Film Festival's main Zabaltegi-Specials sidebar, which kicks off Sept. 16.
Film Factory will show "Love" footage to buyers at the Toronto Film Festival, which starts Sept. 8.
"Toronto is the optimum place to find distribbers seeking a fresh and different product," Canales said.


Helmed by final-year students at Barcelona's Escac film school, Spain's premier new-talent hub, "Love" is based on an original idea by Lluis Segura, who coordinated the project.
"Love" centers on two students who meet in Barcelona thanks to a European scholarship and fall in love. Their passion, however, comes with an expiration date -- the end of their grants.


The pic got two thumbs up from Spanish helmer Juan Antonio Bayona ("The Orphanage," "The Impossible"), who wrote on Twitter: "'Love' is one of the best Spanish movies I've seen in a very long time."
Film Factory's fall slate also includes Daniel Sanchez Arevalo's "Cousinhood" and Marcal Fores' "Animals".


(Emiliano de Pablos in Madrid contributed to this article.)

'Cousinhood' in Taormina
Jun 14, 2011

Inma Cuesta will attend

Spanish pic “Cousinhood (Primos)” from Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, produced by Atípica Films and MOD Producciones, takes place in its first festival Taormina Film Fest 2011. Named as the Sicilian town where it is held, this festival will celebrate from 11th to 18th June. “Cousinhood (Primos)” will screen on Tuesday 14 evening at marvellous Greek theatre Teatro Antico in Taormina and Inma Cuesta will present.

 

Daniel Sánchez Arévalo’s film released as the best opening of the year, and nearly one million people have seen it on the big screen by now, which makes “Cousinhood” one of the films of the year. Both director and two main actors Quim Gutiérrez and Raúl Arévalo team again after acclaimed DarkBlueAlmostBlack (AzulOscuroCasiNegro) for this third Arévalo’s feature.

 

Film Factory Entertainment has international sales rights to “Cousinhood (Primos)”, which was presented last Berlin European Film Market and Cannes Marché du Film.

Campanella kicks up 'Foosball 3D'
May 13, 2011

Animated pic enters market at Cannes

By JOHN HOPEWELL, CHARLES NEWBERY

 

EXCLUSIVE-- Years in the making, Juan Jose Campanella's animated movie "Foosball 3D," his follow-up to "The Secret of Their Eyes," is now being brought onto the market at Cannes, with Spain's Film Factory tying down international rights.


Budgeted around $14 million-$15 million, "Foosball" is the biggest film currently coming out of Latin America.
But it's far more than that: It combines the talents of Campanella, who not only directs but writes, and "Despicable Me" originator Sergio Pablo, who provides 20-25 minutes of animation via his Spanish studios.
Also, it's backed by two of Spain's biggest film-TV heavyweights -- pic production powerhouse Antena 3 Films, run by Mikel Lejarza and Mercedes Gamero, and conglom Prisa, via Plural Jempsa, headed by Jorge Estrada Mora.
Put together, the talent and backing makes "Foosball" a new flagship for a Spanish world animation movie industry.


Set against a soccer background, the most international of sports, and being an animated feature, the least local of film types, "Foosball" clearly targets an international audience. It follows a boy who, with the help of table football figures that come to life, takes on a star soccer pro to save his hometown.
"Foosball," said Estrada, "is a coming of age film with touches of 'The Dirty Dozen.'" It is produced by Argentina's Jempsa, Spain's Plural-Jempsa, a Prisa company, and Antena 3 Films. Exec producers are Campanella's Buenos Aires-based 100 Bares, Gaston Gorali's Catmandu and Gustavo Ferrada in Spain.


Added Estrada, "We're attempting to create an animation industry in Latin America, a 3D animation base that could be the seed of something."

Film Factory nabs 'Senda'
May 6, 2011

Toledo thriller co-penned by Carlos Fresnadillo

By EMILIANO DE PABLOS

 

MADRID -- Spanish sales agency Film Factory Ent. has picked up international distribution rights to Miguel Angel Toledo's psychological thriller "La Senda" (The Path), co-penned by writer-director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo ("28 Weeks Later," "Intruders," "The Crow" remake).


Toledo's directorial film debut, "Path" turns on a couple, whose marriage is on the rocks, who decide to spend Christmas night with their 7-year-old son in an isolated, snow-bound cabin in the mountains.


Co-written by Toledo and Fresnadillo, script has "a tense and claustrophobic atmosphere," said Film Factory founder Vicente Canales.


"Path" is co-produced by Valencia-based shingle The Green Star Films, Canary Island's Totem Producciones and Spanish powerhouse Tornasol Films. Marife de Rueda and Victoria Alberca exec produce.
Now in post, pic shot for six weeks in Spain's Teruel province and Alicante's Ciudad de la Luz Studios. Budget was Euro2.5 million ($3.6 million).
Pic's cast include Spanish thesps Gustavo Salmeron ("Body Confusion") and Irene Visedo ("The Devil's Backbone").
Toledo and Fresnadillo have enjoyed a long partnership. Toledo produced the live-action short "Linked," for which Fresnadillo received an Oscar nom in 1997.
Producers plan "Path's" world premiere for October's Sitges film festival, said Green Star's Pepon Sigler.


Film Factory will be showing a promo to buyers at Cannes market.

Film Factory gambles with Winning Streak
May 4, 2011

Daniel Brühl (pictured) to star

By Geoffrey Macnab

 

Former Filmax exec Vicente Canales, in Berlin with his new sales outfit The Film Factory, will handle international sales on Winning Streak (The Pelayos), the new Eduard Cortés film.
Alea Doc & Film and Bausan Films will produce.


Daniel Brühl and Lluís Homar star in the story of a family with few prospects who come up with a get-rich-quick scheme.


Canales set up Film Factory at the end of last year, and the outfit’s slate also includes Saint (Sint) and Cousinhood.

Mod, Ikiru to produce 'Ghost'
Apr 29, 2011

Film Factory takes international rights

By EMILIO MAYORGA

 

BARCELONA -- Mod Producciones, the producer of Alejandro Amenabar's "Agora" and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Biutiful," is teaming with Spain's Ikiru Films, Ciskul and Think Studio to produce Javier Ruiz Caldera' Ghost graduation
A high-school phantom comedy, "Ghost's" international rights have been acquired by Vicente Canales' Film Factory Ent.
Ikiru produced "Lope" and co-produced "Pope Joan."


"Ghost" turns on Modesto, a mediocre teacher with a paranormal gift, who is given the responsibility of helping five singular students -- all ghosts -- pass their high-school exams and finally leave school.
Script is co-penned by Cristobal Garrido and Adolfo Valor, both successful Spanish TV writers.
"Ghost" will be Ruiz Caldera's sophomore feature. His debut, "Spanish Movie," grossed a strong Euros 6.6 million ($9.6 million) in Spain from a late 2009 bow, and was sold by Canales to major territories such as Germany and Japan.


"'Ghost' has an original concept and a seductive fantasy element that will allow it to travel internationally," Canales told Daily Variety.
"It's a young, spirited fresh comedy that isn't just a spoof but has singular twists," says Edmon Roch at Ikiru Films.


Cast includes Raul Arevalo, Alexandra Jimenez and Ana Fernandez. "Ghost" lenses from around June, and is skedded to bow year-end.

IFC Midnight acquires Tribeca 'Saint'
Apr 21, 2011

Santa slasher pic from director Dick Maas

Dutch bad-Santa horror pic Saint (Sint) by Dick Maas, co-produced by Tom de Mol Productions and Parachute Pictures, took part in newyorker Tribeca Film Festival, where IFC Midnight snagged U.S. rights.

 

Saint (Sint) was a hit in the Netherlands becoming the number one box-office last Christmas. Director Dick Maas and producer Tom de Mol teamed again after succesful Killerbabes of 2007.

 

Film Factory Entertaintment has international sales rights to Saint (Sint), which was presented last Berlin European Film Market and Cannes Marché du Film.

Film Factory nabs 'Crematorium' rights
Mar 22, 2011

Move marks sales company's debut in TV field

By EMILIANO DE PABLOS, JOHN HOPEWELL


MADRID -- Spanish sales company Film Factory Ent. has entered the TV distribution arena, picking up international rights to Jorge Sanchez-Cabezudo's TV skein "Crematorium," a withering social portrait of modern Spain.


For Spain, "Crematorium" is a pioneering pay TV drama, produced by paybox Canal Plus alongside Madrid-based outfit Mod Producciones' Fernando Bovaira, producer of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Biutiful" and Alejandro Amenabar's "Agora."
Skein, which marks an early attempt by Canal Plus Spain to follow in HBO's footsteps, plowing into quality series production, tells the story of the Bertomeus, a former farming family that amasses a fortune in Spain, thanks to corruption.
Helmed by Sanchez-Cabezudo, who made a standout feature film debut in 2006 with "The Night of the Sun-Flowers," cast includes Spanish thesps Pepe Sancho ("Live Flesh") and Alicia Borrachero ("The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"), plus Romania's Vlad Ivanov ("4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days").


Aired from March 7 in Spain, "Crematorium" made a successful debut, becoming Canal Plus Spain's second best-bowing fiction series after Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg-produced World War II miniseries "The Pacific."
"This is a top-level TV series. We were captivated by the impressive cinematographic look," said Vicente Canales, Film Factory Ent. managing director.


In a further move into TV content market, Film Factory has inked international distribution pay and free-to-air TV rights to Spanish pop singer Alejandro Sanz's "Paradise Express" concert, a 3D special produced by Puerto Rico's Tommy Torres.

First pick up
Jan 14, 2011

Canales' Film Factory take sales on Arevalo's Cousinhood

By Chris Evans

 

Former Filmax executive Vicente Canales has confirmed Daniel Sanchez Arevalo’s hotly anticipated comedy Cousinhood (Primos) as his first pick up under his new sales label Film Factory Entertainment.
Barcelona-based Film Factory will handle international sales on the Spanish-language project, which has already been picked up by Warner Bros for Spain who will release the film on Feb 4 on 250 prints.


Cousinhood — Arevalo’s third feature following the success of DarkBlueAlmost Black and Gordos — tells the story of a man who is dumped a few days before his wedding and so decides to track down his childhood sweetheart instead.
Production duties are shared between Jose Antonio Felez’ Atipica Films, who produced both DarkBlueAlmostBlack and Gordos, and Mod Producciones, the team behind Agora and Biutiful.
The cast is led by top Spanish actors Raul Arevalo, Antonio De La Torre and Quim Gutierrez who all worked together on Arevalo’s previous two films, alongside new talent Adrian Lastra.


Cousinhood is one of the comedies of the year in Spain and it perfectly suits the quality director-driven slate we want to bring to the marketplace. Daniel Sanchez Arevalo is a brilliant director and Cousinhood is an amazing, hilarious film. It is a great pleasure to start working with top level production companies such as Mod and Atipica. I am very happy they have trusted the Film Factory with the project,” says Canales.
Simon De Santiago at Mod Producciones who negotiated the deal for Mod and Atipica, added: “It is a real pleasure for Atipica and Mod to follow Vicente on this new exciting adventure and we are proud he chose Cousinhood as his first pick up for Film Factory Entertainment. We couldn’t be in better hands.”


Canales will present Cousinhood for the first time to buyers at the EFM, and is expected to announce further pick-ups in the coming days.