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Telefonica Studios Boards Kike Maillo’s ‘Toro’

Action thriller one of Spain’s most anticipated upcoming titles

MADRID – Adding another awaited title to a powerful 2015 production slate, Telefonica Studios has boarded action thriller “Toro,” the second feature from Kike Maillo whose 2011 debut, “Eva” starring Daniel Bruhl, was sold by Wild Bunch and is seeing a belated U.S. release from the Weinstein Co.

Aligning once more with some of the movers and shakers in Spain’s motion picture business, Telefonica Studios will co-produce “Toro” with “The Impossible” producers Apaches Entertaintment and Atresmedia Cine, the film arm of TV network group Atresmedia whose production credits include “I Want You” and “Red Lights.”

Already teaming with Telefonica Studios, Argentina’s K & S and Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s El Deseo to finance, produce and sell Damian Szifron’s Oscar-nominated Cannes competition player “Wild Tales” and Pablo Trapero’s upcoming “The Clan.” Film Factory, a preeminent Spanish sales company, is handling world sales on “Toro.”

Written by up-and-coming scribes Fernando Navarro (“Anacleto: Secret Agent”) and Rafael Cobos (“Unit 7,” “Marshland,”) “Toro” stars three of Spain’s most popular actors, Mario Casas (“Unit 7”), Luis Tosar (“Miami Vice”) and vet Jose Sacristan (“Magical Girl”), plus Ingrid García Jonsson, who made an impressive major-role debut in Jaime Rosales’ Cannes 2014 Un Certain Regard player “Beautiful Youth.”

Also on board is a combination of further significant production houses from Madrid, Barcelona and Andalusia: Zircocine (“Operation-E”), Escandalo Films, lead producer on “Eva,” and Maestranza Films (“The Sleeping Voice”) as well as France’s Ran Eentertainment (“Vulcania”), which also took a production credit on “Eva.”

Garnering upbeat critical reactions – Variety called it “thought-provoking,” “a very promising debut” – “Eva” weighed in as Spain’s first robot film. “Toro” looks set to raise the bar of full-on upscale Spanish action thrillers.

Billed as hyper-realistic, and unspooling over 48 hours, Maillo’s sophomore pic stars Casas as Toro, an ex-con going straight until he discovers that his neer-do-well brother, whom he hasn’t seen in five years, owes money to the mob.

Described by Apaches’ Enrique Lopez-Lavigne as a character-driven action movie in the line of Jacques Audiard’s films, “Toro” is helmed by “one of Spanish cinema’s current directors with most future,” said Telefonica Studios production director Axel Kuschevatzky.

“The cast is simply spectacular. Our participation is one more demonstration of Telefonica’s commitment to the cultural industry in general and Spanish cinema in particular,” he added.

Telefonica Studios’ co-production of “Toro” comes as another film in which it has taken significant minority equity, Nacho. G. Velilla’s emigration romcom “Perdiendo el Norte,” grossed €5.3 million ($5.8 million) from a March 6 bow, rising 16% in its third week out. Since its September 2013 official launch, Telefonica Studios has co-produced nearly 30 titles in Spain and Argentina.

Teaming with the cream of Spanish producer talent, Telefonica Studios’ 2015 Spanish co-production lineup – it is also highly active in Argentina — features many of the biggest Spanish movies of the year: Alejandro Amenabar’s “Regression” and toon feature “Capture the Flag”; Fernando Gonzalez Molina’s “Palmeras en la nieve”; and Daniel Calparsoro’s “No Crook No Crime,” which Twentieth Century Fox, in association with Fox Intl. Productions (FIP), will distribute in the U.S., Latin America and Spain.

Telefonica Studios and Film Factory revealed at Berlin that they had boarded Alex de la Iglesia’s “My Big Night.” Telefonica Studios is also partnering on two thesp-turned-directors’ debuts: Leticia Dolera’s Paco Plaza-produced offbeat romcom “Requisitos para ser una persona normal” –“the closest thing you can have to a Sundance movie for a Spanish romcom,” Kuchevatzky commented — and Dani Guzman’s coming-of-age drama “A Cambio de nada,” centering on two petty thieves and co-starring Luis Tosar (“Miami Vice”).

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