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‘Living Is Easy,’ ‘Nino,’ ’10,000 KM’ Make Spain’s Oscar Short List

Final entry announced Sept. 25

MADRID –Carlos Marques-Marcet’s “10.000 KM,” Daniel Monzon’s “El Nino” and David Trueba’s “Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed” have made Spain’s short-list for its Oscar submission. The country’s final Academy Award candidate will be announced on Sept. 25.

Though all hits, the submissions could hardly be more different, underscoring the breadth of Spanish production, now ironically gravely challenged by a government-funding crisis – and the difficulties of calling Spain’s official Oscar entry this year.

A first fruit of Spain’s youth diaspora, in this case to Los Angeles, “10.000 KM is produced by Barcelona’s Lastor Media and L.A.’s Panda Prods, a fast-rising force in the Latino production sector.

A chronicle of a long-distance relationship – she’s in L.A., he’s in Barcelona, and technology as much an obstacle as a facilitator of communication, the Visit Films-sold “10.000 KM” won Natalia Tena (“Game of Thrones,” “Harry Potter”) and David Verdaguer a best acting duo award at South-by-Southwest. Variety’s Justin Chang described “1o.ooo” as a beautifully acted love story.”

Powerfull-backed – distribbed in Spain by Fox, sold internationally by Studiocanal and the latest movie from Telecinco Cinema (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Orphanage,” “Regression,” “A Monster Calls”), co-producing with Vaca Films (“Cell 211”) and Ikiru Films (“Seventh Floor,” “Tad, the Lost Explorer”) – Monzon’s Gibraltar Straits-set “El Nino” is tracking to become one of the top-grossing movies of any nationality in Spain this year with a first 10-day €7.1 million ($9.3 million) cume.

Daniel Monzon’s follow-up to “Cell 211” boasts some of the best action sequences ever in Spanish cinema and a social issue thriller mix that has clicked with auds.

Classic arthouse/crossover fare, sold by Six Sales, and an Outsider Pictures U.S. release, “Living Is Easy” has already received large backing from Spain’s Academy, winning best picture, director, original screenplay and actor (Javier Camara).

Anchored by Camara’s inimitable performance as a mild-mannered English teacher who drives in a 1966 Spain still under dictator Francisco Franco’s grip to Almeria, in the wild hopes of meeting John Lennon, there to shoot “How I Won the War.”

On the way, he picks up two runaways in a film that charts three individuals’ modest rebellion against authority and bigotry that, however minor some acts, was the stuff of which Spain’s transition to democracy was made.

“Living Is Easy” also took the Cine Latino award at this year’s Palm Springs Festival, beating out multiple foreign-language Oscar submissions from last year.

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