Television de Galicia backs ‘Relatos’

Iglesias to direct film about grief and guilt

MADRID — Mario Iglesias (“Drink Up!,” “Catalina”), one of the most-admired of young Galician auteurs, has pulled down completion finance from pubcaster Television de Galicia for his latest feature, “Relatos.”

Produced by Matriuska Producciones, Iglesias’ regular production label, Iglesias’ third feature returns to the multi-story format of “Drink Up!”

This time round, however, the film boasts a central story — of a middle-aged woman under therapy, haunted by the death at birth of her only child, who turns to writing to work through her pain.

Her stories make up the rest of the film. They are laced with guilt, loss and death. In the most forceful, for instance, a beloved grandfather confesses on his death-bed to the murder of several neighbors, 70 years before, when he formed part of a Francoist execution squad in the Civil War.

The scene is based on recent real-life confessions, Iglesias said.

As young filmmakers come under increasing pressure from broadcasters and institutions to make films for a clearly defined audience, “Relatos,” whose lengthy scenes are lightened by agile camerawork, marks a move back toward the mainstream for Iglesias, after the art world-set “Catalina.”

In other ways, it also underscores changes in the Spanish film industry. Though no longer so readily given, regional TV coin looks set to become vital for many young arty Spanish filmmakers.

National broadcaster TVE has dropped the number of films it pre-buys, theatrical distributors decline to put up advances on most Spanish film pick-ups, and commercial broadcaster funding for films is slashed by a newly unveiled draft audiovisual law.

“Relatos” has already pulled down finance from Galicia’s Xunta government, and nabbed a project-stage subsidy from Spain’s Icaa Film Institute. This double whammy of regional coin and central government incentive will drive much low-budget Spanish filmmaking in the future.

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