MADRID – “3Lorca3,” a directorial three-hander from Luis Miñarro, Roberto Gaston and Karim Ainouz, Fernando Franco’s “Morir” and “11247,” one of the latest projects from Academy Award winners Tornasol and Haddock Films, will be presented at 2015’s Small is Biutiful, a prestige Paris co-production forum for Spanish films.
Organized by Espagnolas en Paris and the Ile de France Film Commission, and backed by Cannes’ Marché du Film – a powerful combo – Small is Biutiful forms part of Different! The Other Spanish Cinema, firmly established as the major Spanish film fest/industry event in Paris. Now in its eighth edition, it serves as a significant industry corridor between edgier indie projects in Spain and France’s art-house/crossover industry, by far the largest in Europe.
Different8! kicks off June 12 with Rendez-vous a l’Opera!, a Spanish film sales event attended this year by a record 44 French distribution execs, plus the sales agents – Film Factory, Latido Films, Imagina Intl. Sales, Agencia Freak, for example – of titles screening in Different! Co-organized by ICEX, it is supported by France’s Cine Plus, paybox Canal Plus’ film channel bouquet, another key part of France’s film establishment, whose pre-buys help drive picks-up for France on art pic titles.
A few Rendez-vous highlights, which later play Different8! include Spanish culture-clash blockbuster comedy “A Spanish Affair,” which grossed €55.3 million ($61.5 million) in Spain last year; Maria Ripoll’s East-Meets-West “Traces of Sandalwood,” now sold to Japan (Animoproduce), Australia (Leap Frog Films) and South Korea (Apex Ent.), among major territories; “Possessed,” “The Exorcist” meets Isabel Pandoja, a singular animated feature tale of diabolic possession with large satirical barbs set in a full-on folkloric Spain; Hermes Paralluelo’s “No todo es vigilia,” a portrait of the directors’ own grandparents, and the fears of advanced age which has closed deals for Argentina (Vaiven) and Spain (Noucinemart).
The one-week Different! opens Wednesday June 17 with a tribute to actor Jose Sacristán whose now 52-year career, which spans iconic titles of Spain’s transition to democracy such as 1978’s “A Man Called Autumn Flower” and 1982’s award-winning “La Colmena” saw a recent high with Carlos Velmut’s “Magical Girl,” 2014’s San Sebastian Golden Shell winner, which opens “Different8.” Sacristan plays a teacher who, in a typical double-take in the film, suffers a irrational passion for a far younger woman whom he protects in a devastatingly rational manner, even if that means committing murder.
Also featuring a tribute to Geraldine Chaplin, whose “Sand Dollars,” another career high, also plays Small is Biutiful, Different8! closes Tuesday June 23 with Gracia Querejeta’s “Felices 140,” with Querejeta and star Maribel Verdu in attendance.
Produced by Bilbao’s Bitart New Media, “3Lorca3” teams three name international directors; Basque Roberto Gaston (“Ander,” “The Silly Ones and the Stupid Ones”), one of the rising values of a gradually rebuilding Basque Cinema, also featured at Different8 by “Loreak,” the first Basque-language film to play in competition at San Sebastian; Catalan producer-turned-director Luis Miñarro, whose exquisite, left-of-field historical allegory “Falling Star” plays Different8!; and Brazil’s Karim Ainouz (“Madame Sata,” “Praia do Futuro”). “3Lorca3” links each director’s personal vision of Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, shot in their native tongue in Bilbao, Barcelona and the Amazon, picking up on Lorca’s humanity and above all the universality of his poetic tropes.
A largely Basque coast-set study of a the psychological dynamics of a couple, brought out when the husband is diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor, Franco’s bluntly titled “Morir” (literally: “Dying”) marks Franco’s follow-up to “Wounded,” which won San Sebastian’s 2013 best actress (Marian Alvarez) and Special Jury Prize, establishing Franco as an auteur of note. Alvarez co-stars with Andres Gertrudix, who plays the increasingly ill husband.
Directed by Gabriel Mamruth, a filmmaker born in France to Argentine parents, “11247,” a psychological drama-thriller turns on a Spain-based Interpol agent who, discovers his father, who disappeared during Argentina’s Dirty War, is still alive, living under a false identity.
Headed by Gerardo Herrero, Mariela Besuievsky and Javier Lopez Blanco, Tornasol films and Buenos-Aires based Haddock Films produced Juan José Campanella’s “The Secret in Their Eyes,” Argentina’s 2010 Foreign-Language Academy Award winner.
Also making Small is Biutiful’s cut are three more film projects: Victor Moreno’s film-essay “The Hidden City,” produced by Canary Islands-based El Viaje Films; Alfredo Arciero’s “Future Perfect”; and Jose Ortuño’s “Animas,” from Seville’s Acheron Films.
“City” turns on cities’ underground transport and technological networks, the flipside of the visible world above.
Produced by Italian Angelo Orlando’s Barcelona-based Gris Medio, and structured as a Spain-Italy co-production, “Future Perfect,” spins a psychological drama-thriller out of a young woman’s physical and psychological abuse by her husband whose behavior underscores paradigms in male domestic violence.
A horror-thriller with a crux twist, “Animas” revolves around a 17-year-old boy who discovers his best friend is out to destroy his life. Then comes the twist.
Headed by Alain Coiffier and Jose Maria Riba, Espagnolas en Paris, in its festival/industry mix, and outreach to France’s film community, Different! has evolved into a model for national cinema platforms in major foreign cities who could be exported to other countries. Small is Biutiful has also furthered distribution, and international sales agents deals on a string of Spanish films. One example: in 2012, Velmut presented “Magical Girl” at Small is Biutiful scoring its producer, Pedro Hernandez, whose “Saudade,” at the same edition, was chosen for Cannes’s 2014 Cinefondation Atelier.