×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Spanish Producer Mate Cantero Dies

Spain’s preeminent producer with France, Cantero backed films by Bigas Luna, Arturo Ripstein, Regis Wargnier, Gilles Mimoumi, Jacques Weber and Cedric Klapisch

Mate Cantero, a pioneering woman producer who saw her native Spain as part of a larger world, died Monday Aug.11 after a long illness battling cancer. She was 54.

Cantero got her first break making “Veraz” with French producer-distributor Stephane Sorlat, founder of BAC Films with Jean Labadie. She would go on to create Mate Productions with Sorlat in 1992, then become his wife in a marriage the lasted into the next decade.

After years of seemingly endemic crisis, the Spanish film industry found some kind of financial stability from the mid-‘90s, which allowed Spanish producers to attempt more ambitious films at home or step up to the table with equity in international co-productions.

From 1996, though based out of Madrid, living with her family in the leafy suburb, Cantero would with Sorlat make her best-know, biggest – and among them most successful – productions, Notably, these were with Bigas Luna (1997’s “The Chambermaid on the Titanic,” with Aitana Sanchez Gijon), based out of Barcelona, with Mexico’s (Arturo Ripstein’s “The Virgin of Lust”) and, above all, with France, beginning with Gilles Mimouni’s “The Apartment,” a BAFTA prize winner remade in the U.S. by Paul McGuigan as “Wicker Park” and the first feature with Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassell together.

In all, of Cantero’s 25 plus production credits, a dozen or more would be with France. In 1996, in a move to put Spain on the map as a producer of big upscale movies, Mate Productions pacted to co-produce Jacques Monnet’s comedy “The Cosmonaut’s Wife,” starring Victoria Abril, and Jacques Weber’s “Don Juan,” a co-production with Le Studio Canal Plus toplining Emmanuelle Beart, Penelope Cruz and Ariadna Gil.

A woman in a Spanish film sector dominated by a reduced group of men, and whose production compass was very much Europe, not just Spain, Cantero was something of an outsider in the Spanish film industry and shown no mercy in the trenchantly negative reception for Bigas Luna’s costume drama “Volaverunt” when it world premiered at San Sebastian. Mate Production scored, however, producing Arturo Ripstein’s “The Virgin of Lust” and all the more co-producing Cedric Klapsich’s Barcelona-set “The Spanish Apartment.” Still Klapisch’s most popular film in France, it sold 3.0 million tix, launched the career of Cecile de France, who won a Best Supporting Actress Cesar, and broadened the fan base of both Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou.

The denouement of “The Spanish Apartment” – where, after a mind-opening year as an Erasmus student in a multi-nationality Barcelona apartment, Duris’ character returns to France to discover he now yearns for far larger horizons – would have been after Cantero’s heart.

As many professionals in Spain, Cantero’s achievements were more recognized abroad, especially in France, where she was named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres for her services to French culture.

Convivial, educated and vivacious, Cantero is survived by Sorlat and her children Maria, Ines, Nicolas and Lucas.

More Film

  • Awkwafina Oscars 2019

    Awkwafina, Paul Rudd, Olivia Wilde Among Maui Film Festival Honorees

    Held in beautiful Wailea, Hawaii, the 2019 Maui Film Festival honored Awkwafina, Paul Rudd, Olivia Wilde, Gina Rodriguez, Maya Erskine and Joe Manganiello with awards at this year’s festival running June 12-16. In addition to screening films and hosting several food and culture events, the film fest gave out awards to the actors for their [...]

  • Dee Rees

    Dee Rees Directing 'Kyd's Exquisite Follies' Movie Musical

    “Mudbound” director Dee Rees will direct independent movie musical fantasy “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” from her own script. “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” will be produced by Cassian Elwes, one of the “Mudbound” producers. Santigold is set to compose the music, with Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic creating the film’s visual effects. Endeavor Content is repping the [...]

  • The Paradise

    Shanghai Film Review: 'The Paradise'

    Although gritty dramas about the hell of drug addiction are seldom in short supply in the low-budget independent sphere, it’s hard to imagine even the most uncompromising U.S. film committing quite as tenaciously to the idea of the bleak futility and probable failure of rehabilitation as Shih Han Liao’s compelling downer “The Paradise” (title ironic). [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    MGM to Adapt Rodney Dangerfield Comedy 'Back to School' as Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Rodney Dangerfield may finally be getting some respect in the halls of higher education. MGM Television is developing a docu-series inspired by the 1986 Dangerfield film “Back to School,” in which the comedian’s character, millionaire Thorton Melon, enrolls in college with his son to keep him from dropping out. In typical Dangerfield fashion, he triggers [...]

  • Michelle Rejwan Lucasfilm

    Lucasfilm Hires 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Producer Michelle Rejwan

    Lucasfilm has hired “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” producer Michelle Rejwan as senior vice president of live action development and production. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy made the announcement Monday. Rejwan was a co-producer on 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” a co-producer on JJ Abrams’ “Star Trek: Into Darkness” and an associate producer on [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8 Production

    'Game of Thrones,' Netflix VFX Among Those to Be Featured in SIGGRAPH Production Talks

    VFX pros behind the final season of “Game of Thrones,” the blockbuster film “Avengers: Endgame,” Pixar’s upcoming “Toy Story 4,” last year’s Oscar-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Netflix series, including “Stranger Things,” and more will give SIGGRAPH 2019 attendees a behind-the-scenes look at their work during the conference’s Production Sessions. There will even be a [...]

  • Lionsgate Planning 'Hunger Games' Prequel Movie

    Lionsgate Planning 'Hunger Games' Prequel Movie

    Lionsgate has begun working on a “Hunger Games” prequel movie, based on a forthcoming novel from writer Suzanne Collins. “As the proud home of the ‘Hunger Games’ movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne’s next book to be published. We’ve been communicating with her during the writing process and we look forward to continuing to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content