Berlin: Mexico’s NDM Swoops On Rotterdam

‘Star’ marks the fiction feature debut of Barcelona-based director-producer Luis Minarro

MADRID – Having sold the last two Cannes best director winners – Amat Escalante’s “Heli” and Carlos Reygadas’ “Post Tenebras Lux” – sales-company NDM (Nodream- Mantarraya) is broadening out to international productions beyond its Mexico-base, acquiring worñd sales rights to “Stella Cadente” (Falling Star), the fiction-feature directorial debut of producer-turned-helmer Luis Minarro.

NDM has already picked up world sales right on “Untitled,” from Argentina’s Lisandro Alonso (“Liverpool”), which stars Viggo Mortensen.

One of the driving forces behind what remains of left-of-field arthouse production in Spain, Minarro’s credits as a producer at Eddie Saeta in Barcelona include Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” Karlovy Vary’s top Crystal Globe winner “The Mosquito Net” and “Finisterrae,” which scooped a Rotterdam Festival Tiger.

A chronicle of lost opportunities, and ode to the consolations of beauty, “Star” competes this week for a Tiger Award at the Rotterdam Festival, where NDM sealed the acquisition.

Written by Minarro and Sergi Belbel, one of Spain’s most admired dramatists, “Star” turns on the abrupt reign as King of Spain of Italy’s Duke Amadeo of Savoy, played by Alex Brendemuhl, who toplined Lucia Puenzo’s Cannes Un Certain Regard entry “Wakolda.”

Invited to govern Spain in 1870, he suffered Carlist rebellions, mounting republicanism, dissension among his supporters’ ranks, corruption. Unable to modernize Spain, he abdicated in 1873, declaring Spain ungovernable.

“Luis is exactly the type of partner we would like to keep working with. He is a passionate producer that has directed a unique and fresh film,” said Fiorella Moretti, NDM international sales head.

“It is a natural collaboration as we share the same vision of cinema,” she continued, pointing out that NDM sister company ND Mantarraya has distributed a clutch of Eddie Saeta co-productions in Mexico.

“The film is about a civilized man, a mason who read Charles Baudelaire, somebody close to Giuseppe Garibaldi, who comes to Spain, and discovers, suddenly, that he can’t achieve his ideals,” Minarro told Variety.

Frustrated by administrative and financial crisis and the country’s constant infighting – in a telling analogy with contemporary Spain – King Amadeo withdraws to a life of beauty, creativity and love.

Minarro’s Barcelona-based shingle Eddie Saeta produces. The Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies (ICEC) and Italy’s Puglia Film Commission backed Minarro’s debut. Spain’s Barbara Lennie (“Childish Games”), Lola Duenas (“I’m So Excited”) and Alex Batllori (“REC2”) and Italy’s Lorenzo Balducci (“Io, Don Giovanni”) co-star.

An eminently cultured film, laced with references to Baudelaire, Lucian Freud and Caravaggio, “Star” is lensed by Jimmy Gimferrer, the cinematographer on Albert Serra movies, such as Locarno Golden Leopard-winner “Story of My Death,” among others.

Reygadas’ Nodream Cinema and Jaime Romandia’s Mantarraya, two of Mexico’s top art film production houses, launched NDM in 2012.

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