Barcelona-based Filmax, a Spanish production-distribution-sales force – especially in thrillers and horror fare from Spain’s seemingly bottomless well of new genre auteur talent – has acquired world sales rights to Gonzalo Bendala’s “Innocent Killers,” which it will also distribute domestically in Spain.
“Killers” will have its world premiere at March’s Miami Intl. Film Festival, playing in its Cinema 360º section.
Maxi Iglesias (“XP3D,” “Toledo”), Luis Fernandez (“XP3D,” “I Want You”) and Aura Garrido (“Stockholm,” “The Wishful Thinkers”) star in the murder imbroglio from Seville-based production house Aralan, which marks the feature directorial debut of Aralan partner Gonzalo Bendala.
“A suspenser, echoing elements of Hitchcock,” in the words of Aralan CEO Marta Velasco, “Killers” turns on a university student (Iglesias) who, in dire straits, suddenly receives an godsend offer of money – if he kills his psychology teacher (Miguel Angel Sola, “Night Runner”).
What makes the offer so singular is that it is his psychology teacher that makes him the offer.
“This is a suspense film, of situations, characters, intrigue, a genre-blender. Hitchcock, for example, was a master at this. ‘The Sting,’ ‘Catch Me If You Can,’ ‘Match Point’ have been other sources of inspiration,” said Bendela.
Lauded for his shorts – “Penumbra 3D,” the Goya-nommed “Spaghetti Western” – Bendala wrote “Killers’” screenplay with fellow short-film scribe-helmer Jose Manuel Asensio (“Al compas”).
Co-produced with Barcelona-based Distinto Films, Aralan’s debut feature as a production house, Patricia Ferreira’s social drama “The Wild Children,” won best film and best screenplay at 2012’s 15th Malaga Spanish Film Festival, Spain’s biggest national cinema showcase.
To bow in Spain second-half 2015, “Killers” marks an attempt to cut what has become one of the biggest Gordian Knots for many Spanish filmmakers: How to continue to make films of some artistic merit while moving towards the mainstream.
Bendala’s debut is freely inspired by a sustained series of ingenious but unsuccessful attempts in the 1920s on the life of New York’s Michael Malloy, an ex-firefighter and legendary alcoholic. The case has originated songs, a theater play by Erik Jendressen, and “One For the Road,” an episode of TV series “Amazing Stories.”