When it comes to acting and film-making talent, Spain is an international hotspot. Chris Evans rounds up the new names emerging from the country



Arencon wrote for several successful TV series in Spain, including the local versions of Ugly Betty and Married With Children, before setting up his own production company, Apocalipsis Producciones. Through that company he is making Predeterminados, a thriller about four people who track each other down in a city for a $1.3m (€1m) prize. Shooting will take place this summer, and some of Spain’s hottest young actors have been linked with the project. “We have already had interest from producers and distributors outside of Spain because it is a very international story,” says Arencon, who will write, direct and produce the film. He is also developing romantic comedy Quien Suena Gabi?.

Contact: Maria Jose Serra, Miah Management, jose@miahmanagement.com


Cult director Gutierrez’s debut short Brasil won him many fans and his feature debut Before The Fall, about society coping with an imminent meteorite crash, was critically acclaimed for its innovative approach. Now he is directing two projects in the US: sci-fi title The Greys, produced by Radar Pictures and Furst Films, and The Monkey’s Paw, a remake of the 1933 classic about a woman who brings her son back to life, produced by RKO Pictures. “Gutierrez takes inspiration from the classics but filtered through modern writing and contexts, like Guillermo Del Toro,” says Antonio P Perez, producer of Before The Fall.

Contact: Francisco Javier Gutierrez, fjgut@hotmail.com


Lopez-Gallego has built a reputation in Spain as a director of challenging films, such as the brutally violent Nomadas and Sobre El Arco Iris, about a man who blurs the line between reality and fiction with his video camera. But it was his thriller King Of The Hill, about a couple hunted by a sniper, which brought him international recognition. He is now finishing his first English-language film, The Weinstein Company’s Apollo 18, about a secret mission to the moon. Released on March 4, the project is produced by Timur Bekmambetov. “Gonzalo is one of the most exciting young film-makers around,” says Alvaro Augustin, general director of Telecinco Cinema, producers of King Of The Hill. “He builds tension brilliantly in his films and can turn his hand to any genre, not just thrillers.” Telecinco plans to work with the director again on a new thriller.

Contact: Gotham Estudios, (34) 91 413 14 19


Paulo has already made a name for himself collaborating with Guillem Morales on Julia’s Eyes, produced by Guillermo Del Toro, and is in development on El Hombre Hueco, about a professor trying to solve unexplained murders, as well as an English-language thriller. “Oriol will undoubtedly go on to bigger projects,” says Joaquin Padro, president of Rodar Y Rodar, which is producing all three of Paulo’s projects.

Contact: Cristina Cancer, Rodar Y Rodar, cristina@rodaryrodar.com


Cabezas is a deft hand in the horror and comedy genres, both as a writer and director. His murder-mystery horror film The Appeared was a hit at Sitges in 2007, while the spoof Spanish Movie, which he co-wrote, took the local box office by storm last year, racking up $11m. His second feature as director, crime caper Neon Flesh, took $600,000 on its opening weekend in Spain in January. The film, which Rezo Films sold to several territories at the AFM, follows friends who try to set up a brothel. “Paco is a hard-working, talented young writer-director who knows what audiences enjoy and how to market his films,” says Neon Flesh producer Juan Gordon of Morena Films.

Contact: Juan Gordon, Morena Films, jgordon@morenafilms.com


Viscaino is tipped to be the next Juan Antonio Bayona. He has already made some promising shorts including Tight, which picked up an award at Sitges in 2006, and is working on 3D horror Scars. The feature, about students investigating paranormal activities in a small town, is backed by Sony Spain and will shoot in March. “We think Viscaino is a very promising young director who knows how to make good horror films,” says Joaquin Padro, president of Rodar Y Rodar, which is producing Scars.

Contact: Cristina Cancer, Rodar Y Rodar, cristina@rodaryrodar.com


CLARA LAGO [pictured]

Lago starred in popular soap Los Hombres De Paco before taking roles in Oskar Santos’ 2010 thriller For The Good Of Others, produced by Alejandro Amenabar, and Daniel Sanchez Arevalo’s comedy Cousinhood, released on February 4 by Warner Bros. Her latest project is Colombian director Andres Baiz’s thriller Bunker, backed by Fox International, which just finished shooting, and sees Lago tackle her first adult role as a music maestro’s girlfriend who mysteriously disappears. “Her performance is so powerful and intelligent for someone so young,” says Maria Zamora, head of productions at Avalon, the Spanish co-producers of Bunker. “She will definitely be a star in the future.”

Contact: Nieves Penuelas, Fox Spain, nieves.penuelas@fox.com


Casas impressed as a love-struck teen in Fernando Gonzalez Molina’s hits Three Steps Above Heaven and Brain Drain, and is the lead in Neon Flesh, in which he plays a hustler setting up a brothel, and UK director Michael Radford’s Spanish Civil War story The Mule. “Mario is a jewel of an actor,” says Morena Films’ Juan Gordon, the producer of Neon Flesh. “Very young but with the potential to become very big. He is a fantastic asset to have on a film when selling to distributors or broadcasters. He’s working on his English so I’m sure we’ll see him in international co-productions.”

Contact: Juan Gordon, Morena Films, jgordon@morenafilms.com


Suarez recently landed a key role in Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In, having proved her range in the horror title Shiver, drama The Consul Of Sodom and comedy Brain Drain. Next up is Paco Cabezas’ Neon Flesh. “Blanca is still very young but is already a huge talent in Spain, and has all the elements to be the next Penelope Cruz,” says Juan Gordon at Morena Films. “In Neon Flesh she plays a sexy, confident girl who becomes timid and scared when she is kidnapped, pulling off both styles brilliantly.”

Contact: Marta Simon, Paloma Juanes Management, msimon@palomajuanes.com



Guerra’s rise as a producer has been swift. After the success of his debut feature, Rodrigo Cortes’ Buried starring Ryan Reynolds, Guerra is now producing the director’s follow-up, psychological thriller Red Lights starring Robert De Niro and Sigourney Weaver, which shoots from February in Spain and Toronto. Both films were made through his Barcelona-based outfit Versus Entertainment. “He has a good eye for quality projects and has done a good job of helping attract top talent,” says producer Manuel Monzon, who is working with Guerra on Red Lights.

Contact: adrian@versusent.es


Italy-born, Madrid-based producer D’Ursi worked at some of Spain’s leading outfits, including El Deseo, before setting up his own production companies in Spain and Italy. His latest film, The Last Flight Of The Flamingo, travelled to several key festivals, which meant he “started to fly in the upper class of independent producers” as he puts it. He is in development on ETA terrorist drama In The Name Of Death, I Will Love You Forever and Amadou & Moussa. “He is very European oriented and always keeps active,” says Denis Pedregosa at Kanzaman Films.

Contact: carlodursi@carlodursi.com