Pinguin Films to produce documentary
Javier Bardem, who toplines Cannes competition player “Biutiful,” will produce and narrate the Western Sahara-focused documentary feature “Oulad Lemzun” (Sons of the Clouds).
Bardem will produce through his Spanish label Pinguin Films. Wild Bunch will handle international rights outside Spain.
“Sons” reps the directorial debut of Alvaro Longoria, one of Spain’s most internationally minded indie producers.
Based out of Madrid’s Morena Films, which will co-produce “Sons,” Longoria exec-produced Steven Soderbergh’s “Che” and Oliver Stone’s “Comandante.” Both Bardem and Longoria will take producer credits. “Sons” has been pre-bought by Spain’s main pay-TV operator, Canal Plus.
Now in pre-production, “Sons” will shoot in Western Sahara, Algeria, Mauritania, U.S., Spain and France.
“Sons” is an attempt, said Bardem, to analyze the “political and economic interests” behind a “geopolitical chess game” played by Morocco, Algeria, the U.S., Spain and France. This has left the Western Sahara as a colony — the last in Africa, said Bardem — and nearly 200,000 people living in refugee camps, largely in Algeria.
“Our objective is to illustrate, explain and expose this unknown story in a neutral way, telling all sides of the story and leaving the final judgement to the audience,” Longoria told Variety.
Intended interviewees include French president Nicholas Sarkozy, Abdelaziz Butlefika of Algeria, Mohamed Abdelaziz of the Arab Saharaui Republic, former Ronald Reagan and George H.H. Bush chief of staff James Baker, former Spanish p.m. Jose Maria Aznar, Jacques Chirac, Felipe Gonzalez, former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger and former U.S. president Bill Clinton.
Bardem and Longoria both attended the 5th Sahara Intl. Film Frstival in 2008, which is held in refugee camps in South-West Algeria.
“Essentially, the film aims to prove that under the current world system those ‘too small to matter’ are ignored and fall between the world’s political cracks,” Bardem said.
All profits from the film will be given to an NGO to help Saharaui children, said Longoria.
“Sons of the Clouds” is the name the Saharauis give to themselves — “Oulad Lemzun” in Hassania.