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Guadalajara: Zentropa Spain, La Panda Take ‘Isaac’ to the Market (EXCLUSIVE)

Catalan directors Angeles Hernandez and David Matamoros shop for partners for their new wave queer movie “Isaac”

Barcelona-based directors Angeles Hernandez and David Matamoros at Zentropa Spain, part of Zentropa’s pan-European network of production companies, is adapting  Antonio Hernandez Centeno’s play, “El día que nació Isaac” into big screen movie “Isaac”.

Supported by Los Angeles-based LA Panda, Hernandez and Matamoros will be bringing “Isaac”onto the market at Mexico’s Guadalajara Co-production Meeting, looking to secure a Latin American production partnership.

The film’s presence at the market represents part of an uptick in industry co-operation between Latin America and Spain, powered by the enterprise of key companies. Spain contributes two of the most significant sales agents at the market, Film Factory Ent. and Latido Films, plus in Matamoros a young but seasoned producer. Gerardo Olivares’ “The Lighthouse of the Whales,” a co-production between Spain’s Wanda Films and Argentina’s Historias Cinematograficas and Pampa Films, played in a gala screening this weekend at Guadalajara.

But it is the growth of Latin American industries such as Mexico’s which “Isaac’s” team finds particularly compelling. Having only formed part of one prior Latin American co-production, the “Isaac’s” team is looking forward to benefiting from what a Spanish-Latin American co-production now has to offer.

Mexican films have “new narratives” that are “very powerful and have market potential. We want to bring to the table the best of both sides, to explore, learn and cooperate more in the future.” said Matamoros.

As for possible distribution, the directors consider “Isaac” a “boutique film” requiring “a reduced number of prints but an alternative campaign to reach core primary and secondary targets for the film, achieve the support of film festivals and use alternative marketing tools.”

Having discussed the film with a number of companies, the filmmakers are planning to wait on distribution until after they have a festival strategy and for the film to be established.

While the play’s author, Antonio Hernandez Centeno will be working on the screenplay, along with Richard García, the filmmakers are hoping to take the film to “another dimension” and are considering the project as being something new.

“Isaac” will tell the story of two former high school friends, Nacho and Denis, who happen upon one another at a party after 16 years of not seeing one another. The two quickly pick up where they left off half a lifetime ago.

At a dinner, Denis explains to Nacho at a later dinner that he and his wife Carmen have been unable to conceive and Nacho is quick to offer his wife Marta as a surrogate. As the two couples lives become more deeply entwined relationship lines become blurred and loyalties are tested.

While a homosexual relationship becomes a focus of the film, the filmmakers have made it clear that this will not be a film about homosexuality, but rather one in which queer paradigms are treated as normal rather than something needing to be focused on.

“What I like about the new wave of queer cinema is that situations and stories are universal, so you don’t really have to be gay to understand the feeling. As a gay person, it is vital that we can show not only the normality of relationships but also the peculiarities of love.”

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