Bellmunt launches Catalan project

New talent invited to make low-budget features

BARCELONA — Vet Catalan helmer Franscesc Bellmunt, one of the driving forces behind the renaissance of Barcelona-based filmmaking in the 1970s, has created a new springboard for Catalan filmmaking.

Fairplay Prods., Bellmunt’s banner, has teamed with Barcelona Casting and Auria Films on a new format TV series, “+Q1QRT.”

Skein will see up-and-coming helmers and scribes testing their metal by making feature adaptations of theater works.

Philosophy of “+Q1QRT” (the Catalan acronym for “more than a short”), said Armengol, director of Barcelona Casting and top Catalan casting director, is that most budding filmmakers start making features only after shooting short films. “+Q1QRT” provides a testing ground for talent, in a format allowing for easier distribution than shorts.

“+Q1QRT” will initially be a five feature collection. Talent and techs will mainly be recruited from film schools and universities.

Producers have clinched a TV deal with regional pubcaster TVC. Broadcast dates are still to be determined. Producers are in talks for select theatrical distribution. Armengol was at the Berlin fest to initiate talks to export the initiative.

Formula is far from mechanical. “Sometimes, what in theatre is a farce doesn’t works in cinema; it’s really interesting and stimulating to move from one language to another and learn from the differences,” Armengol told Daily Variety.

First releases are Marc Lozano’s “Follie a Deux,” Sergi Perez’s “Peixos al desert,” Carles Torrens’ “Plou a BCN” and “Automatics.” First two are in post. Pako Merino and Diego Lorca, Pau Miro, Oriol Aubets and Javier Daulte are among the writers.

Production conditions are a step up from shorts but fall short of TV movies.

Teams have two weeks to shoot and projects will be 70-90 minutes in length.

In a move to bring projects closer to theatrical film, films are shot in 16 mm.

Initiative should prove popular in Catalonia. Barcelona enjoys a solid theatrical tradition, especially in independent theatre and has an increasing number of film schools or courses such as the ESCAC and the Pompeu Fabra University, a powerhouse of radical filmmaking in Spain.

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