SAN SEBASTIAN — The strength of the Basque industry as a potential co-production partner for Basque Country shoots will be seen, when push comes to shove, in its movies. Here, profiles of upcoming Basque movies whether playing this year’s San Sebastián Festival, in production or projects.
ADVANTAGES OF TRAVELING BY TRAIN
Pre-acquired by Entertainment One’s Seville International and co-produced by San Sebastian-based Señor y Señora and Madrid’s Morena Films “Advantages” marks the much-awaited feature debut of Aritz Moreno. Film –in pre-production– is penned by Javier Gullón (Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy”) adapting Spain’s Antonio Orejudo novel.
ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE
One of Europe’s most awaited animation films, the Indie Sales-sold “Day” revolves around the truth of war through the near-suicidal journey across Angola of Polish famed war reporter Ryszard Kapuściński. Raúl de la Fuente and Damian Nenow direct a hybrid animation-live action inspired by but not adapting the journalist’s first novel. Produced by Basque company Kanaki Films and Poland’s Platige Image and co-produced with Belgium’s Umedia and Walking the Dog, and Germany’s Animationsfabrik and Wüste Film.
BLACK IS BELTZA
Produced by Basque Country’s Talka Records & Films and Catalonia’s Setmagic, “Beltza” is another instance of the vibrant Basque animation sector. Vicente Canales’ Film Factory handles sales of this musical portrait of the ‘60s counter-culture era, directed by multi-hyphenate artist Fermin Muguruza and based on a graphic novel illustrated by Argentine Jorge Alderete.
THE BLACKSMITH AND THE DEVIL
Mentored by black comedy master Álex de la Iglesia, fantasy horror “Blacksmith” marks the debut of Paul Urkijo Alijo. Kinoskopik, Pokeepsie Film, Nadie es Perfecto PC, Gariza Films, Euskaltel and The Project Film Clu produce a story based on a Basque folk tale of fantastic imagery and mythological creatures. Filmax International manages sales.
Feature debut of architect-director Iñigo García Agirrezabalaga, whose credits include shorts “Berde,” –co-directed with Jose Luis Barredo, and “Errusia.” Produced by Berde Produkzioak, this story about two men in the search of a better, warmer land world premieres at the San Sebastian Festival Basque Zinemira section.
From one of most prominent Basque directors Telmo Esnal (“Go!”), “Dantza” will be sneakk-peeked at San Sebastián’s Glocal in Progress, the new showcase devoted to works in non-hegemonic European languages. A take on symbol and metaphors in traditional Basque dances, the polished upscale musical is produced by Txintxua Films, a company co-founded by director Asier Altuna “Amama.”
Feature debut of short-maker and scriptwriter José Luis Egea who, incredibly, co-directed “The Challenges,” with Víctor Erice way back in 1969. It follows Spanish poet Luis Cernuda working with Basque children evacuated after the Condor Legion’s bombing of Durango, Gernika, Elorrio and Etxandio in 1937. Newest project of seasoned Basque producer Ángel Amigo, a driving force behind Imanol Uribe’s “Escape from Segovia,” set up at Basque shingle Biliben 2014.
DOUBLE PLUS FIFTEEN
Presented at the San Sebastián Co-production Forum, the new project from Mikel Rueda (“Hidden Away,” “Fifth Floor”) is an intimate drama about growing-up, both for a teenager and a 45-year-old woman. Cast includes Maribel Verdú (Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth”); the Basque Country’s Baleuko and Sonora co-produce.
World premiering as a special screening in the San Sebastian Festival’s Official Selection “Dying” is the much-anticipated second feature of editor-director Fernando Franco, whose debut “Wounded” won a Special Jury Prize and a Golden Seashell for best actress Marian Alvarez –co-star of “Dying”– at San Sebastian. Koldo Zuazua at Kowalski Films and Andalusia’s Ferdydurke Films
produce this character-driven romantic drama; Film Factory handles sales.
ELCANO AND MAGELLAN, THE FIRST VOYAGE AROUND THE WORLD
Second animation feature of Ángel Alonso (“The Thief of Dreams”) following the adventures of Portuguese Fernando de Magallanes and Basque Juan Sebastián de Elcano, the first seamen to sail around the world in a voyage ending in 1522. Produced by Dibulitoon (“Yoko”), one of leading animation production houses in the Basque Country.
Pablo Iraburu, Migeltxo Molina and Igor Otxoa co-direct this docu feature world premiering at the San Sebastian Festival as its Basque Film and ETB Gala. The docu-feature plumbs the possible co-operation centuries back between Basque whalers and America’s indigenous population on a remote U.S. island. Navarre’s Arena Comunicación Audiovisual and Guipuzcoa’s Txalapart co-produce.
THE GLASS COFFIN
Sold by France’s Burdigala Production, horror movie “Coffin” marks the feature debut of acclaimed shortmaker Haritz Zubillaga (“Dead Hours”), one more talent coming from the Basque Country’s prestigious shorts program Kimuak. It’s produced by Basque Films and Morituri. Sold to 14 countries, Synergetic distributes it in U.S. and Canada.
The biggest Basque film at this year’s San Sebastián Festival, where it plays in competition, the biopic of a 19th century Basque giant, but far more the tale of his relationship with his brother, which survives the pressures of poverty, rivalry, war and fame, produced by two of Basque Country’s most active producers, Irusoin and Moriarti Produkzoiak, “Handia” is directed by Jon Garaño, the co-director of Spain’s 2015 Oscar entry “Flowers,” the first submission ever of a Basque-language film. Film Factory handles sales.
First solo feature of Maider Fernández Iriarte, who teamed with María Elorza for “Our Walls,” exploring “love of God and the speech of a free man” through the life of a 51 year-old man born with cerebral paralisis. “Jordi” is produced by Señor y Señora. World premieres at San Sebastián’s Zinemira showcase.
Eñaut Castagnet, director of “When I Was a Child,” and playwright and actor Ximun Fuchs offer in their feature debut a story about workers struggling to preserve their dignity. Produced by Irusoin, and sparking some pre-festival buzz, ”Non” world premieres in San Sebastian’s 6th Basque Zinemira section.
OPERATION GOLDEN SHELL
“A scam caper set at the very San Sebastian Festival in the line of “Nine Queens” and “Ocean’s Eleven,” as producer Joxe Portela at Abra Producciones defines it. Antonio Cuadri (“The Heart of the Earth”) directs this comedic tale of fraud and fools, whose sales are handled by Filmax International. World premiere at the San Sebastian’s big screen Velodrome.
“2 Guns” and “Everest” director Baltasar Kormákur –via his outfit RVK Studios– has inked with Bilbao-based Eduardo Carneros, producer of Nacho Vigalondo’s “Timecrimes,” at Euskadi Movie AIE, to co-produce this historical crime thriller set in 1616 Iceland, which is also produced by Tornosal Films, the company behnd Academy Award winner “The Secret in Their Eyes.” Koldo Serra (“The Backwoods”) to direct.
Argentine director Pablo Agüero – a Jury Prize winner at 2008 Cannes festival with “Salamandra” and Silver Condor best director winner with “Eva Doesn’t Sleep”—directs this witchcraft thriller set in the Basque country in 1609 to be presented at the 2017 San Sebastián Co-production Forum. Basque Sorgin Films, AIE produces alongside French Tita Production and La Fidele.