MADRID — One of Europe’s only year-round film schools for children, Spain’s Orson the Kid, is prepping its first feature, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ ghost chiller “The Signalman.”
Orson’s “Signalman” will update the 19th century tale to the ’60s. Story turns on a signalman who works at the mouth of a train tunnel in the mountains and suffers visions of ghosts and terrible train accidents. Events will be seen from the point of view of his young son, who returns to the scene of the drama 40 years later.
A first version of the script has been completed by 10-year-old Alejandro Sastre and 15-year-olds Daniel Celaya and Marco Nolan.
$700,000 film rolls in July
The school’s director, Jorge Viroga, is in advanced talks with Spanish and international broadcasters to pre-finance the E600,000 ($700,000) film, which will roll in July.
Film will be shot in HD largely at Villa Orson, an abandoned 12th century hamlet near Siguenza, north of Madrid, where Orson the Kid plans to establish a permanent film village for children.
Alumni at the 3-year-old Orson the Kid school have made 12 shorts, some of which screened at this year’s Tribeca and San Sebastian film festivals and at almost 20 other fests. All talent and tech credits are taken by children aged 6 to 16.
The second, two-day Orson the Kid Intl. Film Festival wrapped Wednesday in Madrid. Standout shorts included the character-driven child friendship drama “Las tardes” and the psycho-brother slasher “Con quien estas.”