Spain has a wealth of high-profile projects lining up for 2011, from the anticipated new film from Pedro Almodovar to the latest horror titles. Chris Evans profiles some of the most exciting titles
Juan Antonio Bayona scored major success with his 2007 horror film The Orphanage, which took $36m through Warner Bros to become the highest-grossing local film of all time.
Bayona returns with his first English-language film, a drama about the effects of the 2004 tsunami on a British couple played by Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, who head an international cast.
Currently shooting in Thailand and Spain, The Impossible is backed by Spanish outfits Apaches Entertainment (Intruders) and Telecinco Cinema (The Orphanage, Agora).
“It is not a typical Hollywood disaster movie,” says Ghislain Barrois, CEO of Telecinco Cinema. “Yes, the tsunami will be strong and will have a powerful impact, but it is more about the aftermath and the drama which follows.”
Summit has already sold The Impossible to most territories and will release it in North America, while Warner Bros has taken Spanish rights.
Int’l sales: Summit International, summit-ent.com
Spanish director Rodrigo Cortes follows up the breakout success of Buried with this psychological thriller starring Sigourney Weaver as a psychologist who enlists her protege (Cillian Murphy) to investigate a blind psychic (Robert De Niro). Shooting will take place for seven weeks in Barcelona from this month and will then move to Toronto for two weeks.
Adrian Guerra’s Barcelona-based Versus Entertainment is producing alongside Parlay Films in the US, Blue Storm Productions in Canada and Korea’s CSe Entertainment. Antena 3 Films and TV3 are associate producers. UTA’s Independent Film Group arranged financing, helped to package the film and is representing US rights.
“Red Lights came from the idea of exploring how our minds can play tricks on us and interpret things differently,” says Guerra.
Int’l sales: Parlay Films, www.parlayfilms.com
Spanish studio Filmax is producing [Rec] Genesis, the third instalment of the franchise which will conclude with [Rec] Apocalypse next year. Paco Plaza is directing Genesis, exploring the original infection which caused humans to turn into possessed zombies. Plaza has also written the script alongside Luis Alejandro Berdejo (The New Daughter) with support on the project from Jaume Balaguero, who will direct the final instalment. “The great support we’ve received from audiences and Filmax motivated us to investigate the [Rec] idea even further,” say Plaza.
Int’l sales: Eva Gutierrez, Filmax, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE PERFECT ASSASSIN
This $15m project is being set up by Spanish outfit Rodar Y Rodar with the UK’s Company Pictures and the Andrew Douglas Company. Set during the Spanish Civil War, The Perfect Assassin follows two hit squads, one Republican, the other Nationalist, both out to kill the same politician. It is being directed by Andrew Douglas (The Amityville Horror) from a script by Paul Webb, who has co-written Steven Spielberg’s new project Lincoln and Lee Daniels’ Selma. “We want to shoot this October with a top-level international cast,” says Joaquin Padro, head of Rodar Y Rodar.
Contact: Cristina Cancer, Rodar Y Rodar, email@example.com
7 DAYS IN HAVANA
This portmanteau project is being made by some of Europe’s leading directors including Julio Medem, Laurent Cantet, Gaspar Noé, Pablo Trapero, Elia Suleiman and Juan Carlos Tabio, as well as actor Benicio Del Toro making his directorial debut. Spanish outfit Morena Films (Cell 211) and France’s Full House are co-producing the Spanish-language project, which is shooting from February in Cuba. Each film-maker provides a story about the intertwining lives of Havana citizens. “We think this is the right time to take a look at Havana and its people, on the verge of a deep transformation,” says Alvaro Longoria, the film’s producer at Morena Films. The cast includes Vladimir Cruz, Jorge Perugorria, Mirta Ibarra and Ana de Armas.
Contact: Alvaro Longoria, Morena Films, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kanzaman Films has been developing this sci-fi project for four years and is in the process of signing a director for a likely spring shoot, after David Slade’s departure. The story is about a man who arrives on a desolate island to work as a weather observer, but discovers some unwanted creatures. “We want to work with a Hollywood and international cast for the project,” says Denis Pedregosa, vice-president of production at Kanzaman Films.
Int’l sales: Marina Fuentes, 6 Sales, marina@ 6sales.es
AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT
Cult film-maker Alex De La Iglesia is directing this comedy drama about an unemployed publicist who tries to turn a serious accident to his advantage. Salma Hayek and Jose Mota lead the cast. Andres Vicente Gomez is producing for Valencia’s Trivision and Madrid based Al Fresco Enterprises with La Fabrique 2 providing finance. The film is currently shooting in Madrid and Cartagena.
Delivery: Late 2011
Contact: Trivision, email@example.com
Jaume Balaguero has forged a formidable partnership with Spanish studio Filmax, creating successful local horror films — most notably the [Rec] franchise, co-directed with Paco Plaza. For Sleep Tight, currently in post, Balaguero steers clear of brutal violence to explore the more sophisticated mechanics of fear with a thriller about a depressed apartment doorman who abuses his position to spy on residents, particularly a young woman named Clara. “I originally had New York in mind as the setting, but we decided instead to shoot in Spain with a think-local-but-act-global approach,” says the film’s writer and executive producer, Alberto Marini. The cast is led by Spanish actors Luis Tosar and Marta Etura.
Int’l sales Eva Gutierrez, Filmax, firstname.lastname@example.org
Since making 28 Weeks Later, Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s international stock has soared. He signed to direct DreamWorks’ action adventure Wednesday and is in post on Intruders, a $13m sci-fi thriller about two families — one Spanish, the other English — whose children are visited by a dark presence. The cast is led by Clive Owen, Daniel Brühl, Carice Van Houten, Kerry Fox and Pilar Lopez De Ayala. Spain’s Antena 3 Films and Apaches Entertainment are producing, and the film is backed by Universal Pictures International, which will handle international distribution. “UPI provided a substantial amount of the budget with cashflow upfront, which shows the interest they had in Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and his vision for the film,” says Apaches Entertainment’s Enrique Lopez Lavigne.
Delivery: Late summer
Int’l dist: UPI
Mateo Gil, whose writing credits include Alejandro Amenabar titles Open Your Eyes and Agora, is directing this Western about the outlaw Butch Cassidy (played by Sam Shepard) living in Bolivia under the alias James Blackthorn. He decides to return to the US but is caught up in the heist of a mining company with a Spaniard (Eduardo Noriega). The film is in post and is being produced by Spanish outfits Aiete-Arianne Films and Arcadia Motion Pictures. Vertice Cine is distributing in Spain. “Blackthorn is a lot more than a Western and action-adventure film,” says producer Ibon Cormenzana of Arcadia Motion Pictures. “It also talks about how ethics disappear with modern times, about how to accept getting older while maintaining a young and free spirit. All this seen through the eyes of Mateo, a great and talented director with a European vision of a truly American story.”
Int’l sales: Marina Fuentes, 6 Sales, marina@ 6sales.es
THE SKIN I LIVE IN
Pedro Almodovar reunites with Antonio Banderas in the hotly anticipated The Skin I Live In, currently in post. Based loosely on the Thierry Jonquet novel Mygale, the film tells the story of a plastic surgeon who becomes obsessed with creating new skin following the death of his wife who was burnt in a car crash. “I think people who know the book will be pleasantly surprised by the changes Pedro has made to make the script closer to his own personal universe,” says Agustin Almodovar, who is producing the film through his and the director’s outfit El Deseo. FilmNation has already sold the film to most territories, with Sony Pictures Classics taking US rights. Warner Bros has picked up Spanish theatrical rights.
Spanish release: September
Int’l sales: Glen Basner, FilmNation, email@example.com