The hottest Spanish productions of 2014 range from a $50m sci-fi epic to a Penelope Cruz tragicomedy to a live-action film with talking dogs.

Automata (post-production)

Dir Gabe Ibanez

Antonio Banderas produces and stars in this $50m sci-fi epic set in an apocalyptic future in which artificial intelligence has surpassed human intelligence. Banderas plays an investigator who discovers a robot plot to take over the world. Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, Melanie Griffith and Dylan McDermott co-star in the film, which is produced by Banderas’s Green Moon Productions with France’s Quinta Communications. Automata is Ibanez’s second feature following 2009’s Hierro.

Contact Nu Image/Millennium Films,

ma ma (pre-production)

Dir Julio Medem

Penelope Cruz will star in her first feature for Spanish auteur Medem - ma ma is set to start shooting in Spain this spring. The film, of which details are scarce, promises to be an uplifting tragi-comedy about a woman who prevails through tough times. Luis Tosar and Asier Etxeandia will co-star. Morena Films’ Alvaro Longoria is producing alongside Cruz.

Contact Morena Films,

The King Of Havana (pre-production)

Dir Agusti Villaronga

Villaronga’s follow-up to his multi award-winning Black Bread is an erotic love story set on the streets of 1990s Havana. It follows two teenagers who fall for each other at a time of great hardship for the country following the collapse of the Soviet Union and its support for Cuba. The King Of Havana is based on the novel of the same name by Pedro Juan Gutierrez, who has been dubbed Cuba’s answer to Henry Miller. The project is a co-production between Barcelona-based Tusitala and Mexico City’s Alebrije Cine y Video with backing from TVE and Canal Plus Spain. Filmax has Spanish and international rights.

Contact Ivan Diaz, Filmax,

Marshland (post-production)

Dir Alberto Rodriguez

The much-anticipated new film from the director of the Spanish box-office hit Unit 7 is a character-driven police thriller set in 1980s southern Spain. It is a time and a place that bears the scars of Franco’s brutal reign. Two detectives, from disparate backgrounds and with very different beliefs, come together to hunt a serial killer. Raul Arevalo, Antonio de la Torre and Javier Gutierrez star in the production from Atresmedia Cine, Atipica Films and Sacromonte Films. Barcelona-based Film Factory Entertainment, which handled international sales on Unit 7, has international rights to the film. Warner Bros Spain is releasing locally.

Contact Vicente Canales, Film Factory,

Capture The Flag (in production)

Dir Enrique Gato

Following the enormous success of his animated feature Tad, The Lost Explorer, which grossed $24m in Spain in 2012, and was distributed in more than 20 territories, Enrique Gato is now at work on Capture The Flag. It is a fable about a boy who travels to the moon with his grandfather and his friends to save it from being bought by a Texan millionaire. The $15m project is being shot in 3D and is produced by Telecinco Cinema, El Toro Pictures, Lightbox and Ikiru.

Contact El Toro Pictures,

The Unexpected Life (completed)

Dir Jorge Torregrossa

Shot in New York with a script by Elvira Lindo, one of Spain’s leading screenwriters, The Unexpected Life looks at what happens when a young economist, played by Raul Arevalo, visits his cousin, an out-of-work actor living in Manhattan. Javier Camara and Tammy Blanchard also star in the comedy drama, which is a co-production between Spain’s Ruleta Media and US production outfit Bullet Pictures.

Contact Ruleta Media,

Mirage (pre-production)

Dir Oriol Paulo

The new film from horror specialist Paulo is an English-language thriller about a mother who is forced to choose between committing a crime and saving the life of her missing son. It is set in small town America and will shoot in the US and Spain later this year. The $20m feature is being produced by Rodar Y Rodar and Atresmedia Cine. Paulo, well known as the writer of Julia’s Eyes, made his directorial debut with 2012’s The Body, which was a hit at home and sold widely around the world.

Contact Rodar y Rodar,

Millionaire Dog (completed)

Dir Tom Fernandez

Combining talking animals with human actors, Millionaire Dog is the story of Pancho, a well-known character in Spain, a dog who has won the lottery and lives a vain and foolish life of luxury. He learns the value of true friendship when he is kidnapped. Millionaire Dog is produced by Atresmedia Cine and Four Luck Banana.

Contact DeaPlaneta International,

A Night In Old Mexico (completed)

Dir Emilio Aragon

Robert Duvall and Jeremy Irvine star in this long-gestating English-language road movie about an old cowboy, forced to sell his ranch, who goes on an adventurous journey with his estranged grandson to Mexico. Angie Cepeda and Luis Tosar co-star in the film, which shot in Texas last year. A Night In Old Mexico reunites Duvall with Lonesome Dove writer Bill Wittliff. It is a co-production between Globomedia Cine, Telefonica Studios and Flywheel and Shyster and backed by TVE and ICAA.

Contact Barbara Susterova, Imagina International Sales,