Source: Courtesy of Malaga Film Festival


Screen spotlights a mix of world premiere features with international acquisition potential playing at Spain’s Malaga Film Festival (March 1-10).

Dirs. Salvador Simó, Jian-Ping Li.
Based on the award-winning novels by Carol Wilkinson, this animated Spain-China co-production is the opening film of the festival. Dragonkeeper is set in ancient China after a clash between humans and dragons has the latter banished from the kingdom. Years later, orphan girl Ping finds herself in charge of saving dragons from total extinction. The voice cast includes Bill Nighy and Mayalinee Griffiths as Ping). Spain’s Salvador Simó, who made Buñuel In The Labyrinth Of The Turtles, and Chinese animation expert Jian-Ping Li co-direct. It is the second animation collaboration between Spain and China following Bikes in 2018 and is co-production between China Film Animation, China Film Corporation, Movistar Plus+ and Atresmedia Cine. Local distribution is being handled by A Contracorriente.
Contact: SC Films International, info@scfilmsinternational.com

The Good Man (El Hombre Bueno)
Dir. David Trueba
With his previous feature, Jokes & Cigarettes, still showing in local theatres, David Trueba is back with his new feature in competition in Malaga where he won the Special Jury prize with Almost 40 in 2018. Produced by Buenavida Producciones and Perdidos G.C., The Good Man tells the story of a couple, played by Macarena Sanz and Vito Sanz, who travel to Mallorca with their daughter (Aia Pérez) to spend a few days with a friend (Jorge Sanz) hoping he will mediate in their separation process and help them deal with it.
Contact: Buenavida Producciones, contacto@buenavidaproducciones.es

Holy Mother (La Abadesa)
Dir. Antonio Chavarrías
Set in ninth -century Spain and based on true events, Holy Mother is the story of a 17-year-old girl appointed as Reverend Mother in a local abbey where she has to deal with a conspiracy of her fellow sisters as well as a perceived threat from the arrival of the Moors. The director is veteran Spanish filmmaker Antonio Chavarrías, whose credits include Childish Games and Celia’s Lives. Oberon Media, Wanda Visión and Icono 2020 AIE in Spain and Saga Films in Belgium produce. The film will premiere in competition.
Intl sales:  Film Constellation, sales@filmconstellation.com 

The Land-plots (Los Terrenos)
Dir. Verónica Chen
One of the Latin American entries in competition, Verónica Chen’s The Land-plots will have its European premiere at the festival. An Argentina - Uruguay 0 Brazil production by Vega Cine, La Mayor Cine and Panda Filmes, the film revolves around the pregnant Vera, played by Azul Fernández, a former surfer who falls in love with a property by the water and is determined to buy it. It’s an obsession that takes a bad turn when she contacts the local real estate agent, played by César Troncoso.   Argentinian-born writer-director Chen premiered her previous feature Marea Alta at Sundance in 2020.
Contact: Vega Cine, sofiacastells@gmail.com

Little Loves (Los Pequenos Amores)
. Celia Rico
Rico’s first feature Journey To A Mother’s Room premiered in San Sebastian’s New Directors section in 2018, picking up a special jury mention as well as the young jury award. Now writer-director Rico is back with competition entry Little Loves, another intimate drama, this time focused on a mother (Adriana Ozores) and daughter (Maria Vazquez, star of last year’s Berlinale title Matria) compelled to spend a summer together after the former suffers a minor accident. The problem is, they cannot stand each other. Barcelona-based Arcadia Motion Pictures (As Bestas, Robot Dreams) produces with France’s Noodles Production.
Intl sales: Latido Films, nathalie@latidofilms.com

Dir. Andrea Jaurrieta
Following her debut Ana By Day, which screened at Malaga in 2018 and was nominated for a Goya, Jaurrieta is back in competition with her second feature Nina. Patricia López Arnaiz, who starred in 20,000 Species Of Bees, plays a woman in her forties who returns to the coastal village where she grew up hoping to extract her revenge on a famous writer, played by well-known Argentinian actor Darío Grandinetti.  Jaurrieta was selected as one of Screen International’s Spain Stars of Tomorrow in 2023. The film is produced by BTeam Pictures with Iconica, Irusoin and Jaurrieta’s own outfit Lasai.
Intl sales: Filmax International Sales, filmaxint@filmax.com

Dir. Rodrigo García Saiz
This debut feature by Mexican filmmaker Rodrigo García Saiz Mexican is set in Mexico City and is made up of six short stories in which various characters have to deal with a series of unexpected events that will reveal who they really are. Produced by Central Films and written by Paula Markovitch, The Malaga competition film previously took part at project stage in Impulso Morelia at the Morelia Film Festival, which highlights Mexican features in different stages of production. García Saiz is already at work on his second feature.
Contact: Central Films, paolacortesleon@gmail.com

Saturn Return (Segundo Premio)
Dirs. Isaki Lacuesta, Pol Rodríguez
Isaki Lacuesta, who won Malaga’s best director, critics and special jury awards in 2016 with The Next Skin, returns with competition entry Saturn Return. Written by Lacuesta and Fernando Navarro, the film is co-directed with Pol Rodríguez, who worked with Lacuesta as first assistant director on the Berlinale competition title One Year, One NightSaturn Return is said to be inspired by influential Spanish indie rock group Los Planetas, although it’s not a biopic. “The film does not seek to be a reliable historical chronicle, but an almost fantastic vision,” Lacuesta told Screen. “We don’t want to make a film about Los Planetas but about the legend of Los Planetas, as it could be told on a night a hundred years from now.”
Intl sales: Latido Films, nathalie@latidofilms.com

We Treat Women Too Well
Dir. Clara Bilbao
Based on the novel by French writer Raymond Queneau, We Treat Women Too Well is the directorial debut of costume designer Clara Bilbao and is screening in competition in Malaga. Set in the Pyrenees in 1945, We Treat Women Too Well is about a group of Spanish resistance fighters to the Francoist regime who take refuge in a remote mountain village,  only to be confronted by a woman, played by Carmen Machi, who wants them dead. Luis Tosar and Antonio de la Torre co-star.
Contact: Filmax International Sales, filmaxint@filmax.com