Catalan Screenings frame 14 titles
PARIS — “Dead Perros,” “I Want to Be a Soldier” and “Black Bread” proved the biggest draws at the 2nd Catalan Screenings in Paris.Showcasing a spread of Catalan pics, recently made or in the making, the screenings ran Nov. 18-19. Staged strategically in Paris, the screenings attracted a score or more of Gallic sales agents or indie distributors. Companies attending included Wild Bunch, Elle Driver, Coach 14, M6-Video, TF1, ARP, Diaphana, Swift, Arte, France Televisions Distributions, Chrysalis and Colifilms. Seen in a two-minute teaser, “Perros” had Spanish heartbeat Hugo Silva on a Western set in Almeria, shotgun in hand, facing off in classic shoot-out style with a gaggle of zombie tykes. Directed by Koldo Serra, rolling June, and set to a rumba soundtrack by Los Chunguitos (“Deprisa, Deprisa”), “Perros” had some execs salivating at distrib prospects. Sold by L.A.’s Epic Distribution, English-language “Soldier” attracted the strongest turnout of mainstream distribs. Pic tells the story of Alex, an average 8 year old who develops a morbid fascination with images portraying violence. Pic won Rome fest’s Alice in the City prize last month. “Bread,” which is being repped internationally by Beta, attracted a distinctly more classic arthouse crowd for a painterly if bleak, rural rites-of-passage tale set in post Civil War Spain. Of other unseen or little-seen screeners, two had a particular impact: “The Door of No Return” and “Yellow.” The second feature from Santiago Zannou (“One Hand Trick”), the powerfully scored and performed docu feature “Door” follows Zannou’s real life father Alphonse as he returns to his African homeland after 40 years abroad. “Door” explores the flipside of immigration: the guilt felt by immigrants at having abandoned their loved ones, Zannou said in Paris. The Filmax Intl.-sold “Yellow,” Catalan cinematographer Xavi Gimenez’s directorial deb, also packs a powerful emotional punch in a Spanish work camp thriller, bracketed by a father-son reconciliation drama. Of teasers, producer Luisa Matienzo presented two minutes of “Double Steps,” from Isaki Lacuesta (“The Damned,” “The Legend of Time”). Boasting stunning shots of Mali, the genre-blending fiction feature started as a combat-turned-quest pic, then segued into Spaghetti Western. Given its director’s credentials, it looks obvious fest fare. Antoni Badimon revealed a 90-second trailer for the first pic from new production shingle Baditri 2005, Jordi Roige’s thriller reboot of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” relocated to a chic, contempo city. Catalan Screenings pics ran the gamut from the “Stand By Me”-ish “Heroes,” from Luis de Val’s Media Pics, to “The Night Elvis Died,” Oriol Ferrer’s droll choral theater-set dramedy, and Daniel Villamediana’s “The Life Sublime,” a worthy addition to one kind of cinema — minimalist plot, superb lensing — in which Catalan cinema excels.