×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Telefonica Studios Furthers Drive Into Latin America (EXCLUSIVE)

Telco production house, Cactus, Mono co-produce Colombia-shot ‘Orbita 9,’ Hatem Khraiche’s anticipated debut

BERLIN – Telefonica Studios, the film-TV production arm of telco giant Telefonica, already a key player in Spain and Argentina, is taking another step into Latin America teaming with Cactus Flower and Mono Films on the Colombia-shot romantic thriller “Orbita 9.”

Part of Movistar Plus, which takes in Spain’s biggest pay TV and SVOD operation, Telefonica Studios has seen large success in Argentina, co-producing with El Deseo and Artgentina’s top broadcaster Telefe and K & S Films the country’s biggest-breakout titles: Oscar-shortlisted “Wild Tales,” a Sony Pictures Classics U.S. hit, and “The Clan,” Pablo Trapero’s 2015 Venice best director winner.

The anticipated debut of Hatem Khraiche, screenwriter of the Cactus Flower co-produced “The Hidden Face” and one ofbSpain’s most talked-up young talents, “Orbita 9” is totally Spanish. Its Colombia shoot, use of cash rebates and link up with Colombia’s top movie producer Dynamo, which provides services – as it did on “Narcos,” which it exec produces – reps one further step, however, in Telefonica Studios’ increased movie presence in Latin America, where it is already one of the region’s most important telcos.

“With Spain, Latin America is the natural territory of the Telefonica Group. Anything that touches or takes advantage of a presence in countries where Telefonica operates is for us always positive,” said Gabriel Arias-Salgado, Telefonica Spanish film production head.

“For Axel Kuschevatzky [Telefonica film production head] and for me, ‘Orbita 9’ is an opportunity to explore co-production possibilities with Latin America,” he added, citing other examples as “The Clan” and Daniel Calparsoro’s “100 años de perdon,” both Spain-Argentina co-productions. “Other opportunities are being analyzed in Mexico as well.”

Written by Khraiche, and an intriguing addition to Spain’s young auteur genre output which takes in many of its highlights of 2016 – think Juan Antonio Bayona’s “A Monster Calls” with Liam Neeson, and Alberto Rodriguez’s “Smoke and Mirrors – “Orbita 9” turns on a young woman who is part of a massive scientific experiment, though she doesn’t know it. Her destiny changes when a young scientist makes her discover a new reality. But their love affair endangers the future of humanity.

Clara Lago (“The Hidden Face,” “Spanish Affair”) stars with Alex Gonzalez (“X Men: First Class”), Andres Parra (“Escobar, el patron del mal”) and Belen Rueda (“The Orphanage”).

“’Orbita 9’ is a propulsive romantic thriller which reflects on what we’ve done to planet earth,” said Khraiche. It is a “very high concept, surprising, dangerous love story between a scientist and his guinea pig,” added Cristian Conti, at Cactus Flower (“Out of The Dark,” The Vanished Elephant”).

It is tapping both Colombian federal cash rebates, tabbed at 20%-40% of spend, and complementary up-to-15% rebates in Medellin. 10 foreign film/TV projects shot in Colombia last year, including Tom Cruise starrer “Mena,” serviced by Dynamo, and James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z.”

“Colombia is a go-to destination, skills are getting better because of the kind of movies that are being done and more and more movies are being done,” Conti said. “ It’s a great time to work here and because the peso is so devalued you can do far more with dollars or Euros.”

It also has extraordinary locations. One, a picturesque shanty working class barrio of Medellin, appears in “Orbita 9.”

Rolling from Feb. 8 in Medellin, production segues to a studio in Bogota, then to a futuristic building in Parque Alava, northern Spain, said Miguel Menendez de Zubillaga, at Mono Films, a Madrid-based film, branded content TV and commercials house.

“The locations of this film are spectacular and that gives magic to the film. It could seem sci-fi, but it talks about a point of no return for the earth, and that’s not futuristic, it’s real,” he added.

 

More Film

  • BRAZILIAN FLAGFRENCH OPEN TENNIS, PARIS, FRANCE

    Brazil’s Ancine Freezes Incentives, Threatening Film-TV Industry Paralysis

    Brazil’s Ancine agency, its foremost public-sector source of film funding, has frozen all of its incentive programs, potentially near paralyzing new production in Latin America’s biggest film-TV industry. The dramatic decision, which has left Brazil’s industry is a state of shock and intense fear for its future, comes as it has taken further hits. In [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez Reteams With STXfilms on Romantic-Comedy Co-Starring Owen Wilson

    Jennifer Lopez is reteaming with STXfilms on the upcoming romantic-comedy “Marry Me.” Kat Coiro is directing the film and Owen Wilson is in final negotiations to join the pic, which will likely shoot this fall. The script was written by John Rogers and Tami Sagher, with a rewrite by Harper Dill. Lopez and Wilson both [...]

  • Steve Golin The Revenant Spotlight Producer

    Steve Golin, Prolific Producer and Founder of Anonymous Content, Dies at 64

    Steve Golin, an Oscar-winning producer who was founder and CEO of Anonymous Content, has died of cancer. He was 64. Golin was a pioneer in blending the business of talent management with production. Anonymous Content, which Golin founded in 1999, worked with a stable of big name artists such as Steven Soderbergh, Emma Stone, Edgar [...]

  • Kelly McCormick David Leitch

    'Hobbs & Shaw' Director David Leitch, Kelly McCormick Sign First-Look Deal With Universal (EXCLUSIVE)

    Universal Pictures is signing David Leitch, his longtime producing partner, Kelly McCormick and their recently founded 87North Production banner to a first-look production deal. “David and Kelly have established themselves as a distinctive, stylish filmmaking team who can do it all, from contained thrillers to franchise tentpoles,” said Universal’s president Peter Cramer. “We are confident [...]

  • Still from cannes competition film "Parasite"

    Cannes: Bong Joon-ho Says ‘Parasite’ Is too Local to Win Competition

    Having been partially responsible for the Netflix fall out with the Cannes Film Festival, “Okja” and “Snowpiercer” director Bong Joon-ho returns to Cannes competition this year with conventionally- financed “Parasite.” But the Korean-language film is a tragicomedy that Bong says may be too nuanced for the festival. “Cannes always makes me feel excited, fresh, and [...]

  • Summer Box Office: 'Avengers: Endgame,' 'Lion

    Summer Box Office: Five Weekends to Watch

    Popcorn season is upon us, and it’ll be up to comic-book heroes, a wise-cracking genie, and a lion who would be king to ensure movie theaters are still the hottest place to spend the summer. Last summer, blockbusters like “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” Ocean’s 8,” and “The Meg” drove moviegoers to their [...]

  • Critics Week

    Cannes Critics’ Week Unveils Its Lineup

    Lorcan Finnegan’s science-fiction thriller “Vivarium” with Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, Jérémy Clapin’s fantasy-filled animated feature “I Lost My Body,” and Hlynur Pálmason’s Icelandic drama “A White, White Day” are among the 11 films set to compete at Critics’ Week, the section dedicated to first and second films that runs parallel with the Cannes Film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content