Spain’s movie industry diaspora – which has seen much of its brightest young talent move abroad – is pushing back.
In a first coup, L.A-based writer-director Carlos Marques’ “Long Distance” (aka “10,000 KM, won best acting duo at SXSW this month.
On Saturday, it swept Spain’s Malaga, the country’s biggest showcase, scooping its top Golden Biznaga, director, best new screenwriter, a critics’ award and actress (Natalia Tena, shared with “Everybody is Dead’s “Elena Anaya).
Tena, who plays Osha in “Game of Thrones” and limned Nymphadora Tonks in “Harry Potter,” won at Austin with co-star David Verdaguer.
Acquired for international by New York’s Visit Films, “Distance” turns on the attempts of a thirty-something couple to sustain a relationship, despite she being in L.A. and he in Barcelona. Avalon will release “Distance” in Spain this May.
“The awards mean a lot right now as we are releasing theatrically in six weeks,” said “Distance” exec producer Pau Brunet, who partners with Marques in L.A. based production house La Panda Productions, which co-produced with Barcelona’s Lastor Media.
“We have the necessary strength to become the “prestige/indie” movie of the moment. ‘Long Distance’s style – combined with the great reviews, awards and Avalon’s brand – are a good combination,” he added.
Toplining Almodovar star Elena Anaya (“The Skin I Live In”) as an ‘80s rock star turned recluse who needs to get a life, and care more for her son, the Avalon-produced “Everybody Is Dead” also made a strong running, taking Malaga’s Special Jury Prize and score and sharing actress.
Also in the kudos mix, was “Carmina and Amen,” Spain-based thesp director Paco Leon’s follow-up to his VOD hit, “Carmina or Blow-Up,” tesped by the director’s family, and “Nightfall in India,” about a cantankerous 60-year-old (Juan Diego, who took best actor) who decides to drive to India to die by the Ganges. An unexpected romance threatens to stymie his gameplan.
But Spain’s L.A. diaspora scored heavily in Zonacine and Malaga’s shorts competish, L.A-based Susana Casares winning best short for “Tryouts,” Eric Boadella, who also lives in L.A, winning three awards at ZonaZone – director, screenplay and Canal Plus mention)- for the L.A-shot “Toastmaster” and Carles Torrens grabbing a short Special Jury Prize for “Sequence.”
The question, said Brunet, is whether Austin and Malaga bring the flag down on a new generation of Spanish filmmakers which, rather than dealing in horror/fantasy, Spain’s stock and trade, has a decidedly “indie appetite.”
At least part of this generation is now based not in Spain but L.A.
Spain’s 17th Malaga Fest ran March 21-29.
Emilio Mayorga contributed to this article
2014 MALAGA FESTIVAL AWARD
“Long Distance,” Carlos Marques-Marcet
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
“Everyone is Dead,” Beatriz Sanchis
ex-aequo: Natalia Tena (“Long Distance”), Elena Anaya (“Everyone Is Dead”)
Juan Diego (“Nightfall in India”)
Yolanda Ramos (“Carmina and Amen”)
Salva Reina, Hector Medina (“321 dias en Michigan”)
Paco Leon (“Carmina and Amen”)
“321 días en Michigan,” Enrique Garcia
Akrobats (“Everyone is Dead”)
Nicolas Volduc (“Aloft”)
Jose Manuel Garcia Moyano (“Nightfall in India”)
BEST NEW SCREENWRITER
Clara Roquet, Carlos Marques-Marcet (“Long Distance”)
YOUNG JURY PRIZE
“Everyone is Dead”
“Ciutat morta,” Xavier Artigas, Xapo Ortega
LATIN AMERICAN TERRITORY
“Conducta,” Ernesto Daranas (Cuba)
“Tryouts,” Susana Casares
SHORT SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
“Sequence,” Carles Torrens
“In Darkness We Fall,” Alfredo Montero
Eric Boadella (“Toastmaster”)