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‘Stars’ sweeps Malaga

Festival endorses Spanish new wave

MALAGA — The 10th Malaga Spanish Film Festival closed Saturday, crowning a Spanish new wave whose films, led by Felix Viscarret-directed pic “Bajo las estrellas” (Under the Stars), swept the board, garnering plaudits and sometimes substantial critical praise.

A tragicomic redemption tale about a washed-up trumpeter who returns to his Northern pueblo and finds his place in the world, “Stars” took pic, director, actor (Alberto San Juan) and new director screenplay (Viscarret) nods.

Another debut, Jaime Marques’ pickpocket thriller “Ladrones” (Thieves), scooped the special jury prize. First-timer Rodrigo Cortes took the critics’ award for “El concursante” (The Contestant), a frenetically cut and dazzlingly shot broadside against global banking systems.

Elvira Minguez drew the actress nod — the second time in three years at Malaga — for her role as a mother in the family drama “Pudor,” from debuting helming brothers Tristan and David Ulloa.

With Rafa Cortes’ Mallorca-set debut “Yo” (Me), a micro-budget identity theft drama, earning a jury mention for “originality,” only two established filmmakers made much kudos headway this year at Malaga.

Satire “El menor de los males” (The Lesser Evil), from maverick Antonio Hernandez (“The Borgias”), collected screenplay and supporting actress (Veronica Echegui); Manuel Lombardero’s steamy jazz-bar noir pic “Tuya siempre” (Yours Always) won for music (Jose Reinoso and Horacio Fumero) and supporting actor (Nancho Novo).

“Los amigos de Jesus,” a Gotham-set four-hander about friendship and fornication, won Malaga’s ZonaZine, fest’s low-budgeter sidebar.

Taking a ZonaZine jury mention for screenplay was Jesus Mora’s “Villa Tranquila,” a slow-to-burn, neo-docudrama set in Villa Tranquila, an Argentine post-industrial slum.

Documentary prize went to Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat’s “Yo presidente,” featuring candid interviews with former Argentine presidents.

Best buzz was for “Septembers,” a portrait of jail romance, helmed by Carles Bosch, Academy-nommed in 2004 for “Balseros.”

Fest also hosted a Malaga Screenings mini-mart, which ran March 15-17.

The five pics most viewed by buyers were “Thieves,” “Pudor” and “Tuya,” as well as Miguel Hermoso’s fest opener “Lola,” a plush but plodding bio of Spanish singer Lola Flores, and fortysomething femme drama “Atlas de geografia humana.”

Sales on pics at the Malaga Screenings will largely depend on titles’ further fest play and buzz.

Other fest news:

  • Maribel Verdu (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) will topline Juan Cavestany’s “Gente de mala calidad,” a small-town-set comic ensembler financed by Telespan 2000 and “Pan’s Labyrinth” producer Estudios Picasso.

  • Colombian-Canadian thesp Flora Martinez (“Rosario Tijeras”) has boarded “Dia naranja” (Orange Day) by Venezuelan Alejandra Szeplaki. Martinez plays one of pic’s three pregnant women. Movie rolls in June, she said at Malaga, where she starred in “Yours Always.”

  • Argentina pic production house Patagonik has taken Latin American rights to “Seres queridos,” which it co-produced, from Latido. Gussi has licensed “El guerrero sin nombre” for Mexico from Latido, which is in advanced talks for France on Carlos Saura’s upcoming “Fados.”

(Emilio Mayorga contributed to this report.)

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