Coixet’s Wasabi Films Presents New Femme Slate

Isabel Coixet
Photo by Alberto Gamazo

Spanish helmer-producer backing new generation of female helmers

BARCELONA– Elena Trape’s “Waiting for Time to Stand Still,” Julia Solomonoff’s “Nobody’s Watching” and Liliana Torres’ “What Have We Done Wrong?” are some of the titles in the lineup of Miss Wasabi Films, the Barcelona-based production shingle of Spanish helmer Isabel Coixet (“My Life Without Me,” “The Secret Life of Words”).

While co-production of Argentine Solomonoff’s “Nobody’s Watching” has already been revealed to Variety, the now-announced confirms a far broader support for a new generation of national and international female helmers.

“We’re in a time of speeches demanding equal rights, gender quotas and so on. I feel I am at a different level –the level of action, the best way I’ve found to allow women’s voices to be listened to,” Coixet told Variety.

According to Spain’s CIMA Assn. of Women in Film and Audiovisual Media, just 8% of films produced in Spain are directed by women. Figures for production and screenwriting don’t reach a 20%. Figures are below the European average.

The European Women’s Audiovisual Network (EWA) offered its first findings on gender equality among European directors in a pan-European study presented at the 72nd Venice Festival. Backed by 2014 European Audiovisual Observatory, report fixed at 16.3% the percentage of films directed by women over the 2003-2012 period. These movies took 8.9% of total admissions. Second stage conclusions of the EWA report will be unveiled in February, at the Berlin Fest.

Exploring the themes of immigration and rootlessness exploration, and the third feature from Solomonoff (“Sisters,” “The Summer of la Boyita,”), “Nobody” turns on an Argentine TV actor who came to New York to star in a film but ends up juggling odd jobs and work as a nanny. “His good looks helps him navigate in a world of privilege, but his life is precarious. The baby he cares for becomes his only emotional anchor,” said Solomonoff. “Nobody” ended its New York shoot two weeks ago. “I think Julia is showing a very different vision of New York in ‘Nobody,’” Coixet commented.

“Waiting” and “Wrong” are second directorial outings. Co-produced by Barcelona’s Coming Soon Films and Dusseldorf’s Busse & Halberschmidt, “Waiting” turns on four friends who meet after a long time apart, and after their lives have evolved in different ways from what they once dreamed.

Trape got critical attention with her mockumentary debut “Blog,” about a teenager pregnancy pact. She has also in development her third feature, “The Snow.”

Also in development, Torres’ “Wrong” maintains the mix between fiction and docu shown in the helmer’s debut, “Family Tour” a “revelation for me, a feature that did not get the echo it deserved,” said Coixet.

Experimental, “Wrong” includes episodes from the director’s life in order to generate fictions. What did we do wrong when relationships don’t work out? the feature asks.

So far, founded in 2000, Wasabi has produced one of Coixet’s most indie and perhaps personal features, “Yesterday Never Ends,” and docus such as “Listening to Judge Garzon” and “Aral, el mar perdido.” Wasabi has also produced commercials, vidclips, exhibitions and different cultural projects.

“As a filmmaker, what you need is to be understood with regard to your projects and to be respected. I know that and consequently I want to keep the same this attitude towards the directors. I talk about very practical matters, as how to get the same results with easier and cheaper means,” said Coixet.

In terms of financing, Wasabi Films is seeking “new financing paths,” beyond classical formulae such as commercial TV support. We’re looking for enthusiastic investors who would like to support young female directors,” Coixet added.

Also included on this new Wasabi slate is Coixet’s own docu “With John,” which follows art critic, scholar and novelist John Berger as he expounds on his singular vision of Europe, “a key perspective about the time Europe is going through,” said Coixet.

“The Useless” – a short directed by Belen Funes, who won best short and best short direction awards at 2015’s Malaga Fest with “’Sara’s Runaway’”) – is also included in this substantial Wasabi pack.

Coixet’s “Nobody Wants the Night,” which opened the 2015 Berlin Festival, will bow in Spain on Friday Nov. 27 via Filmax.

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