France’s SND Acquires Jose Skaf’s Sci-fi Thriller- Drama ‘Vulcania’

Feature debut teams Zentropa Spain, Scandinavia - Zentropa Sweden, Film I Vast, Nordisk – and France: SND, Backup

Making its first-ever Spanish pick-up, France’s SND-M6 Group has pounced on world sales rights to “Vulcania,” a sci-fi thriller-drama produced by two associate production companies of Peter Aalbaek Jensen and Lars von Trier’s Zentropa: Zentropa Spain and Zentropa Sweden. Ran Ent. co-produces out of France.

SND has also taken French distribution rights to “Vulacania.” Nordisk has tied down rights to Scandinavia. Alfa Pictures will release “Vulcania” in Spain.

The feature debut of Jose Skaf, part of Spain’s seemingly bottomless auteur genre talent pool, “Vulcania” is set in a small place lost in space and time, where there is no other option but to obey the village leaders.

It stars two of Spain’s fastest-rising thesps, Miquel Fernandez (“The End”) as Jonas, who always played by the rules, and Aura Garrido as Marta, a young woman who makes him question the system and realize they have been fed a lie. A genre-blending thriller come-intimate drama, “Vulcania” then has Jonas realizing there is no alternative but to escape and save Marta from a deadly future. Doing so, he proves to be more than himself: For he too has secrets.

“Jose has done an impressive work that keeps a balance between a very well handcrafted entertainment thriller and its dramatics elements,” said Zentropa Spain CEO David Matamoros.

Now in post-production, “Vulcania,” Matamoros added, is “a moderate-high budget film [for Spain] that mixes the new wave of Spanish thrillers and the New American Noir (“Ain’t Them Body Saints,” “Blue Ruin,” “Cold in July”) which makes it very distinctive and unique, especially for Spanish cinema.”

Paris-based Backup Media Group put up gap financing, Swedish regional fund Film i Vast, one of the most active regional film funds in Northern Europe, came in with equity gap finance. “Vulcania” received funding from Ibermedia, Spanish and Catalan agencies Icaa and Icec, pubcaster TVE, Catalan state TV TV3 and the Swedish Film Institute.

SND will introduce “Vulcania” to selected buyers at Berlin’s European Film Market, aiming at a festival launch.

“Vulcania was brought to us by Backup, with whom we have a good relationship, teaming, for example, on Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s ‘Livid’ and ‘Among the Living,’ and who introduced us to David Matamoros,” said SND’s intl. sales head Charlotte Boucon.

She added: “It’s a great script, and gripping story, a gifted young director and we are always looking for new or up-and-coming talent, especially Spanish. We’ve seen in the past how many new Spanish talents have gone on to become great directors and we wanted to work with Spanish producers.”

SND has had a notable line in smart genre, taking in lately the Peter Safran-produced “The Aticcus Institute,” the second feature directed by screenwriter Chris Sparling (“Buried,” “Sea of Trees”).

At Berlin’s European Film Market, SND will present first footage of “The Squad” and a promo reel of “The Terrible Privacy of Mr Sim.”

Starring Jean Reno, Caterina Murino (“Casino Royale”) and Alban Lenoir (“Goal of the Dead”), crime actioner “The Squad,” from Benjamin Rocher (“Goal of the Dead”), is a Paris-set remake of Nick Love’s Brit cop pic “The Sweeney.” “Jean Reno is back, with guns, and a lot of action,” Boucon commented.

Introduced to buyers at the AFM, “Mr Sim” is directed by Michel Leclerc, whose Cannes Critics’ Week opener, “The Names of Love,” a racy romcom with a political background, proved the talk of France’s 2011 Cesars, taking best original screenplay and actress for Sarah Forestier.

Adapating Jonathan Coe’s novel, and a road movie charting a man’s spiritual rebirth, “Mr Sim” stars a top-notch cast lead by Jean-Pierre Bacri (“Looking for Hortense”), Matthieu Amalric (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”) and Valeria Golino (“An Italian Name”). In post, “Mr Sim” should be ready for delivery by May. “It’s French auteur comedy and great fun,” said Boucon.

New addition “Vulcania” undercores the large range of SND’s sales line-up. “If you have a good movie, it will deliver,” Boucon commented. “If you cover all the market, you have a better chance of upside with good movies, and developing relationships with first-time directors also encourages an array of films, and people to work with.”

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