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Latido, Submarine Board ‘Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles’

Animated feature details the shoot of one of the surrealists’ masterpieces, with a memorable backstory

Madrid-based sales agent Latido Films is set to represent world sales on Salvador Simó’s animated feature “Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles,” about Spanish legend Luis Buñuel’s shooting 1932’s “Land Without Bread,” a 27-minute documentary on daily life in Spanish mountains of Las Hurdes, then one of the poorest crannies of Europe, as the documentary stresses.

“Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles” will be co-produced by Dutch production company Submarine.

Produced by a friend of Buñuel’s, Ramón Acín,  “Land Without Bread” is considered a masterpiece. It allowed Buñuel to satisfy both his marxist convictions and surrealist creed and reflected his fascination at “the helplessness [of ‘Las Hurdes’] dwellers” and their “devotion to this remote land,” Buñuel said in his memoirs “My Last Breath.”

No other Buñuel movie is maybe so fascinating in its creation, the major political and artistic currents it channels, its polemics and the tragic fate of some of its driving forces.

“This is not a biopic, but a story about friendship in times of hardship, how to overcome failure, and how Buñuel fought to find his way and his own voice,” Latido CEO Antonio Saura said at Bordeaux’s Cartoon Movie co-production forum.

“This is also a movie about restoring faith in what you do and the capacity to create, discovering how in a certain time and place in Spain, people worked very differently to what Buñuel knew; and learning a deep lesson in humanity from them,” he added.

With three titles at Mexico’s Guadalajara Festival, Latido is specialized in auteur-driven fiction and documentary distribution from Europe and Latin America. It is now forging strong relationships in animation, acquiring world sales rights to Alberto Vázquez and Pedro Rivero’s “Psiconautas, the Forgotten Children,” Carlos Fernández’s “Memoirs of a Man in Pijamas” and now “Buñuel.”

Founded by Femke Wolting and Bruno Felix, Submarine’s productions include Peter Greenaway’s “Eisenstein in Guanajuato,” Mascha Halberstad and Tom Van Geste animated series “Fox and Hare” and Pieter-Jan De Pue’s “The Land of the Enlightened.”

Presented as project in development at Bordeaux’ Cartoon Movie, “Buñuel” is produced by one of leading Spanish animation producers Manuel Cristobal (“Wrinkles,” The Missing Lynx”) at Sygnatia,  in partnership with Jose Fernández de Vega’s animation studio Glow and Spanish regional broadcasters Canal Extremadura and Aragón TV. Spanish pubcaster RTVE and Movistar Plus, the pay-TV arm of Spain’s Telefonica, one of Europe’s biggest telcos, also back “Buñuel.”

Cristóbal aims is to show a teaser and more material at the upcoming Cannes Film Market.

“Buñuel” marks the feature debut of Salvador Simó, whose shorts include “Insight” and “Aquarium,” and is an animation teacher at Denmark’s The Animation Workshop who has worked for Walt Disney Productions France (“The Goofy Movie”) and Bill Melendez Productions (“Charlie Brown”) in Los Angeles. “Buñuel’s screenplay has been penned by Eligio Montero and Simó.

Latido’s CEO Antonio Saura is a son of Carlos Saura (“The Hunt,” “Carmen”), a long-time friend of Buñuel’s and the key director of the New Spanish Cinema.

“When I was a small kid, I was lucky enough to meet Luis Buñuel and had the opportunity to listen to his own version of the “Land Without Bread” shoot so, when Manuel came to me with this idea, I said ‘Oh My God, I need to be in this; please don’t talk to anyone else’,” Saura said with passion.

John Hopewell contributed to this article

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