'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

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.

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' 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.

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

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.


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

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


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.

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.

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.

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.