Having worked with a string of acclaimed directors, Spanish arthouse producer Luis Minarro decided that the time was finally right to direct his own fiction feature.
“I did this when I was ready to do it,” says Minarro, of his debut which tells the story of Amadeo of Savoy who briefly ruled as king of Spain for three years in 1870, before declaring Spain ungovernable.
Minarro draws parallels with the troubled Spain of today. “Issues with the church, monarchy, the republic are all still in discussion today, this film paints Spain with the same problems it had in the past,” says Minarro, who suggests he was unable to secure funding from Spanish television for that reason.
Minarro first heard about Amadeo - played in the film by Spanish actor Alex Brendemuhl - from his grandmother. “She gave me a coin of this king, who was very unknown even in Spain, and I always had this piece of metal with me, and then one day I decided to speak a little bit of information about it, and little by little I started writing the script,” says Minarro who co-wrote the film with Spanish dramatist Sergei Belbel.
“There is very little information about him out there, so this kind of story allows me to invent. I’ve tried to tell my own special story,” says Minarro, who previously directed two documentaries, Blowhorn and Familystrip.
He was one of the producers of the Cannes winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, as well as films for Javier Rebollo and Manoel De Oliveira, both of whom have inspired his work. “Every director is different from the other, that is what is fascinating about producing with so many different directors. You are discovering different worlds and art.”
Produced through Minarro’s Barcelona based company Eddie Sheata, Falling Star shot on a modest budget of €750,000 for one week at Unesco heritage site Castel Del Monte in South Italy before moving on to the main three week shoot in Spain.
Minarro has no plans to give up on producing, having just co-produced Juan Barrero’s The Inside Jungle. Says the multi talented film-maker: “I feel very comfortable on both sides.”