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Duo to cook up Basque ‘Kitchen’

Spain's TVE, EITB team on culinary film

MADRID — Spanish pubcaster TVE and Basque state TV network EITB have forged a new financing axis for Basque-language production.

The pair are teaming to finance “Sukalde kontuak” (Kitchen Stories), with industry vet Angel Amigo producing for Juan Luis Ezkurra’s San Sebastian-based Zurriola Group.

“Kitchen” is the first Basque-language feature made under TVE’s new drive into regional-language production. TVE has financed Basque-language films before but this is the first time it will do so systematically.

TVE head of cinema, Gustavo Ferrada, said that the pubcaster is also co-financing Marc Recha’s Catalan-language “Petit Indi” and Angel de la Cruz’s “Los Muertos van deprisa,” partly shot in Galician.

“Kitchen” also is one of the first features to be financed by EITB under its new deal for the Basque film industry.

This saw the Basque government pledge in May that EITB would spend 5% of the web’s annual budget on financing European films, including Basque movies.

Coin earmarked for pic financing — $14 million a year — is not large, but EITB’s new emphasis on co-producing as well as acquiring Basque films promises to power up the production of more ambitious Basque film productions.

Directed by Basque dramatist-TV director Aizpea Goenaga, “Kitchen” stars Basque actors Isidoro Fernandez and Ramon Aguirre.

Pic is set at a Basque school for young chefs and gently satirizes the region’s pride and devotion to its local gastronomy. One central irony is that none of the students really wants to be a chef.

“Instead of churches, we have gastronomic clubs, and instead of priests, chefs,” Amigo told Daily Variety at the San Sebastian Film Festival, which wrapped on Saturday.

Further financing looks set to come from Spain’s Ministry of Culture. TVE will take international rights to “Kitchen.”

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