U.S.-Spanish emigration movie plays Critics' Week

BARCELONA — Spain’s A Contracorriente Films has picked up all Spanish rights to Mexico-shot “Here and There,” Antonio Mendez’s opera prima, which was selected Monday in Cannes’ Critics’ Week.

The film is a feature follow-up of a same-titled short that nabbed various awards, including Oscar and Slamdance pre-selection, and the Directors Guild of America’s student film kudo.

Produced by Spain’s Aqui y Alli Films and U.S.’ Torch Films, mainly financed by private investors in New York and Madrid, and budgeted at $1 million, “Here” is an emigration story set in the Mexico mountains in which, Mendez said, “We never see the physical journey. It’s a film about the desire and fear to leave.”

“Aqui” is backed by New York foundation Cinereach and was selected by the Sundance Institute Scripts Lab.

” ‘Here’ conveys intense sense of truth,” said A Contracorriente CEO Adolfo Blanco.

“After seeing it, you have the feeling of having lived together with a small community in a way that books cannot convey.”

Madrid-born Mendez studied at UCLA and is a film graduate of New York’s Columbia U.

Barcelona-based A Contracorriente Films is an arthouse film distribution-production shingle, launched in February 2010 by vet exec Blanco.

The distrib is enjoying huge success with Gallic hit “The Intouchables,” which has grossed €12.2 million ($16.1 million) through April 22, making it the highest-grossing film in Spain to date this year.

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