Spanish genre pics added to packed lineup
MADRID — In the run-up to the Berlin festival, Wild Bunch, the Gallic sales, distribution and production powerhouse, has added three unannounced films to its sales slate.New titles are Kike Maillo’s “Eva” and Nacho Vigalondo’s “Extraterrestre,” two of the most-chased-after genre titles from Spain, plus a documentary from Michael Radford, “Michel Petrucciani: Body and Soul.” “Eva” is the feature film debut of Maillo, an ex-alum, like Juan Antonio Bayona (“The Orphanage”) and Guillem Morales (“Julia’s Eyes”), of Barcelona’s Escac film school, a talent hothouse. “A sci-fi melodrama,” in Maillo’s words, and produced by Escandalo Films, which turns out Escac student debuts, “Eva,” also a coming of ager, centers on the relationship between a scientist and his invention, a young girl robot. Once more twinning sci-fi and psychological observance, “Extraterrestre” turns on a thirtysomething man who wakes up in bed one Sunday to discover the girl of his dreams sleeping beside him, just as the world suffers a UFO invasion. Produced by Vigalondo’s label Arsenico, “Extraterrestre” marks his awaited follow-up to debut time-jumping “Timecrimes,” a cult item after winning the Austin Film Fest and screening at Sitges in 2007. Produced by Les Films d’Ici, one of France’s most prestigious docu production houses, whose credits include “Waltz With Bashir,” “Michel Petrucciani” portrays the life of the late Italian-French jazz pianist, who battled a degenerative condition. One of Europe’s biggest sales companies, and an early port of call for foreign distributors looking for edgy, upscale fare, Wild Bunch will hit Berlin with a typically cosmopolitan slate. One Berlin highlight looks set to be a special presentation of “Asterix and Obelix: God Save America,” the latest live-action entry in the saga, starring Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve, and one of the biggest European films of the year. Among multiple other titles, Wild Bunch will also introduce buyers to the upcoming “The War of the Buttons,” from Christophe Barratier (“Paris 36,” “The Chorus”), and promos of actress-director Maiwen le Besco’s “Poliss,” which caused a good impression at the Unifrance Paris Rendez-Vous last month, and “Bye, Bye Blondie,” which marks the filmmaking return of Virginie Despentes (“Baisse-moi”).