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Escandalo lines up ‘Eva,’ ‘Animals’

Barcelona company raises budgets, ambitions

BARCELONA — Escandalo, one of Barcelona’s fastest-growing production shingles, is prepping two ground-breaking features: Kike Maillo’s “Eva” and Marcal Fores’ “Animals.”

Rolling late 2008, the $5 million “Eva” is a robot coming-of-ager. Gallic sales company Wild Bunch has a first look option on the pic, said Escandalo sources.

Skedded for a 2009 shoot, “Animals” is also a fantasy-laced coming-of-ager, “’Donnie Darko’ meets Gus Van Sant,” according to Escandalo producer Aintza Serra.

” ‘Eva’ bows a new higher-bracket production line of pics costing $5 million or more. We want to have a large presence at festivals and in mainstream filmmaking,” added Escandalo topper Sergi Casamitjana.

Escandalo will continue to produce more modestly budgeted auteur pics, costing around $2 million. One of Escandalo’s first features, a co-production with Fausto Films, was Rafa Cortes’ low-budget “Me,” an ironic identity theft drama, which capped a 2007 Rotterdam Tiger with a Fipresci Revelation of the Year award.

In all, Escandalo aims to make two to three films a year, said Casamitjana.

For 2009, the shingle has two films in development, aiming at 2009 shoots: Valentina Viso’s “El Blog,” and Lluis Segura’s dramedy “El Club,” co-produced with Juan Antonio Bayona, director of “The Orphanage.”

More details of these projects will be unveiled at a Escandalo press conference Sunday in San Sebastian.

Currently, Escandalo has Mar Coll’s family drama “Tres dias con la familia” in post and Carles Torres’ “Trash,” co-produced with Just Films and TV3.

Founded in 1999, Escandalo holds an unusual position in the Catalan film industry, producing films made or crewed by students and graduates of the city’s Escac film school.

Escac has proved a talent center for young cineastes.

Most key technicians on “Orphanage” and “REC,” Spain’s two biggest B.O. hits of 2007, studied at the Escac.

Other Escac alumns include Guillem Morales, who has his debut, “The Uninvited Guest,” set up for remake at Iain Canning’s London-based See-Saw, “Orphanage” director Bayona and “Hellboy II” editor Bernat Vilaplana

Some 95% of Escac’s 120 teachers are jobbing professionals, said Escac director Josep Maixenchs.

While Spanish university audiovisual courses prime academic study, Escac students turn out multiple shorts. Teachers are largely young.

“Escac emphasizes the importance of story-telling, what makes audiences understand films,” Maillo said.

All of which may explain why Escac has become a burgeoning R & D hot house for often edgy genre auteurs, who, via Escandalo, are now making some of the most original productions to come out of Catalonia.

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