You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Matienzo, Lozano set Villaronga’s ‘King’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Filmax sells follow-up to “Black Bread”

SAN SEBASTIAN – Framing a high-profile arthouse production with crossover potential, Luisa Matienzo’s Barcelona-based Tusitala will team with Monica Lozano’s Alebrije Cine y Video in Mexico City to produce Spanish helmer Agusti Villaronga’s Cuba-set deeply erotic drama “The King of Havana.”

Spanish production-distribution-sales house Filmax has acquired both Spanish and world sales rights.

Based on the same-titled novel by Cuba’s Pedro Juan Gutierrez, sometimes dubbed its Henry Miller after his Dirty Havana Trilogy, “King” is set in 1990s Havana, a city punished by shortages after the collapse of Soviet support for the Island.

It turns on Reinaldo, a teenage who escapes a correctional facility begins to hustle for money on Havana and falls in love with Magda. Their relationship is driven by a boundless passion and challenged by the difficulty of living a normal life on Havana’s mean streets, which are ravaged by a tropical storm.

“King” is set to go into production spring 2014, lensing in Havana. It looks like being one of the highest-profile Latin American co-production projects at this year’s San Sebastian Festival, where Matienzo will present the project.

Popular on Variety

“King” marks a partnership between two of the most active distaff producers in the Spanish-speaking world.

Of most recent ventures, Matienzo produced Isaki Lacuesta’s 2011 San Sebastian Golden Seashell winner, “The Double Steps.” Lozano produced Eugenio Derbez’s “Instructions Not Included,” a semi Spanish-language hapless father dramedy that has broken out to an eye-catching $27.3 million in the U.S., distribbed by Lionsgate Films/Pantelion.

A change of register for Villaronga – “King” is described by Filmax as a raunchy, gritty and tragicomic account of Reinaldo’s life – “King” also reps his feature follow-up to Spanish sleeper “Black Bread” which was a move towards the mainstream for Villaronga, best-know before then for left-of-field movies such as “Aro Tolbukhin – In the Mind of a Killer” and “In a Glass Cage.”  “Bread” grossed Euros2.7 million ($3.6 million) at the local box office and scooped nine Goya Spanish Academy awards. Including film, director and adapted screenplay.

“Agusti Villaronga is one of the most interesting of directors working in Spain today,” said Filmax sales head Ivan Diaz.

“We try to work with name directors, which is what distributors are looking for, collaborated with Tusitala on ‘Tapas,’ and have seen success with other intelligent quality erotic dramas,” he added.

Best-known for producing the “REC” scare fare franchise,  Filmax ‘s production credits also include Christian Bale starrer “The Machinist” and “Transsiberian, with Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer and Sir Ben Kingsley, both helmed by Brad Anderson, plus Jaume Balaguero’s “Fragile,” with Calista Flockhart, and “Darkness,” with Anna Paquin, also helmed by Balaguero.

Emilio Mayorga contributed to this report

More Film

  • Richard Jewell

    Box Office: Clint Eastwood Suffers Worst Opening in Four Decades With 'Richard Jewell'

    Clint Eastwood might end up with a lump of box office coal after “Richard Jewell” sputtered in its domestic debut. Despite critical acclaim, Warner Bros.’ drama about the security guard falsely accused by the media for playing a part in the 1996 Olympics bombing ignited with a dismal $5 million from 2,502 theaters. It’s a [...]

  • (from left) Tom (Henry Golding) and

    Emilia Clarke's 'Last Christmas' Crosses $100 Million at Global Box Office

    Universal’s “Last Christmas,” a romantic comedy starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, surpassed $100 million in global ticket sales. The milestone is a win for original fare, one that is especially impressive considering the movie was skewered by critics for its wacky twist ending. After six weeks in theaters, “Last Christmas” has earned $34.4 million [...]

  • DSCF0855.RAF

    'Jumanji 2' Rules Overseas Box Office With $85 Million

    Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level” powered international box office charts, collecting $85 million from 34 markets over the weekend. The action-packed sequel kicked off in North America with $60 million for a global start of $145 million. “Jumanji: The Next Level” debuted in a handful of foreign territories last weekend, bringing box office receipts to [...]

  • Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS:

    Disney Plus Signs Exclusive Distribution Deal With Canal Plus in France

    Ahead of its launch in France on March 31, 2020, Disney Plus has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Canal Plus Group, the country’s leading pay-TV company. The deal, which was first reported in the French newspaper Les Echos and confirmed by Canal Plus Group CEO Maxime Saada on his Twitter account, marks a new [...]

  • French movie actress Anna Karina smiles

    Anna Karina, French New Wave Star and Jean-Luc Godard Collaborator, Dies at 79

    French New Wave star Anna Karina, who served as a muse for Jean-Luc Godard and appeared in eight of his films, has died. She was 79. France’s culture minister, Franck Reister, announced her death in a tweet, as did her agent, Laurent Balandras, who attributed the cause as cancer. “Her gaze was the gaze of [...]

  • Frozen 2

    'Frozen 2' Sets Record as Disney's Sixth Movie to Hit $1 Billion in 2019

    “Frozen 2” is the sixth Disney movie this year to hit $1 billion globally, strengthening the studio’s sheer dominance over the box office. Those ticket sales extend the benchmark Disney set over summer, with five other films — “Avengers: Endgame,” “Aladdin,” “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King” and “Captain Marvel” — joining the billion-dollar club [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content