BERLIN–Barcelona-based Rodar y Rodar — the prestige producer of successful psychological thrillers such as “The Orphanage” and “Julia’s Eyes”– will produce “The Photographer of Mauthausen,” the third outing as a feature film director of Mar Targarona (“Kidnapped”), Rodar co-CEO with Joaquín Padró.
Vicente Canales’ Film Factory has acquired international rights. The historical thriller will be produced in partnership with Belgium’s Umedia. Also backing the projects are Spanish public broadcaster TVE and its Icaa and Icec film institutes.
“Mauthausen” recreates the travails of Catalan photographer Francesc Boix, an inmate in the Mauthausen concentration camp from the winter of 1941, when he was 21. Alongside Boix 1,500 Spanish Republican were imprisoned by the German army during their exile in France after the Spanish Civil War and taken to Mauthausen.
Spanish thesp Mario Casas (Michael Radford’s “The Mule,” Fernando González Molina’a “Palm Trees in the Snow”) will star. “It’s a role that could mean an interesting turning-point in Casas’ career,” Targarona said.
Selected by Variety as young Spanish talents to follow, Alfred Pérez-Fargas and Roger Danés, who wrote Agustí Villaronga’s “Letter to Eve,” have penned the script.
“This will be one of most moving stories to be produced in Spain this year and take a modern visual approach to the Nazi context,” said Canales.
Boix worked in Mauthausen’s identification department, storing the Nazi graphic documentation.
“When Germany was near defeat, they tried to destroy everything, but Boix hided the negatives which played a crucial role at the Nuremberg trial,” Targarona explained to Variety. Boix was the only Spaniard to testify at the trial of the 20th century.
“Film will be a prison break thriller, but where the planned escape isn’t of a person but film negatives,” Danés added.
“Mauthausen” will be spoken in German and Spanish. “At Rodar, we’ve made horror movies. In this one, the horror is history itself,” said Targarona. Visuals will have a very realistic approach, she added.
“Boix used his privileged position in the camp to survive. His own friends said that Boix seemed to be on vacation. But he never doubted about helping them, using his privileges, Pérez-Fargas added.
Principal photography is scheduled to start in October in Belgium and Spain.
Film Factory slate for Berlin included Álex de la Iglesia’s “The Bar,” Villaronga’s “Uncertain Glory” and Iñaki Dorronsoro’s “Escape Plan.”