SAN SEBASTIAN – Panama’s Arete Audiovisual and Jaguar Films and Venezuela’s Trampolin Impulso Creativo are linking with France’s Tu Vas Voir, the producer of Walter Salles’ “The Motorcycle Diaries,” to produce “The Companion,” a friendship drama from Pavel Giroud.
“The Companion” is one of the highest-profile projects being pitched at San Sebastian’s 2nd Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum, which unspools Monday through Wednesday at the Spanish festival.
Giroud has carved out a reputation focusing on universal experience – coming of age in his 2006 breakthrough “The Silly Age,” ageing in 2008’s “Omerta,” which world premiered at San Sebastian – against specific events in recent Cuban history, for “Age” and “Omerta” the Cuban Revolution.
There, a disgraced boxer, Horacio, the subject of a doping scandal, is forced to stand guard over Daniel, the most unruly of the HIV patients, as his so-called “companion,” accompanying him on his rare sallies outside the center. But a conflictive relationship gradually yields to real friendship.
Brazilian star Lazaro Ramos, the lead in “Madame Sata,” will play Horacio.
Overshadowing the movie is another part of the life-cycle that is Giraud’s stock in trade: Here the possibility of Daniel’s death.
“A 100% Cuban movie,” in Tenembaum’s words, “The Companion” is also written by Giroud. In an early stage of development, it was also co-written by Alejandro Brugues, who went on to helm zombie satire “Juan of the Dead.”
Panama’s Arete Audiovisual is staffed by Cubans.
The producers are now looking for a Spanish or other European producer to complete financing.
Giroud spent a year researching HIV illness in Cuba for a documentary.
“Stylistically, I hope ‘The Companion’ will be like ’70s American cinema, has had a large influence on me, a film which can connect with the public but has auteurist values, which is not just a popcorn picture,” Giroud said at San Sebastian.