×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

San Sebastián: Film Factory Swoops on Witchcraft Thriller ’Akelarre’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Set from 1609, ‘Akelarre’ is shaping up as one of the highest-profile projects at this year’s San Sebastián C0-production Forum

SAN SEBASTIAN — In one of the early deals to be announced out of the 65th San Sebastian Film Festival, which bowed Sept. 22 with the European premiere of Wim Wenders’ “Submergence,” starring Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy, Film Factory Entertainment has swooped on “Akelarre,” a flagship Basque project at this year’s Festival.

Currently in development, “Akelarre” will be presented Sunday at San Sebastian’s 2017 Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum, where it weighs in as one of the Forum’s highest-profile projects.

A thriller, Akelarre is directed by Pablo Agüero, whose first short, “Primera Nieve,” won a 2006 Cannes Festival Jury Prize; “Salamndra,” his first feature, made the 2008 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight cut: “Eva Doesn’t Sleep” was selected for San Sebastián’s 2015 main competition.

Akelarre is produced by Sorkin Films, a new joint tax break investment vehicle launched last year by Koldo Zuazua’s San Sebastián-based Kowalski Films and Iker Ganuza co-headed Lamia Producciones, based out of Zarauz. La Fidèle, located in France’s Basque Country, co-produces with Marseille’s Tita Productions.

Avalon Films will distribute “Akelarre” in Spain. Backed by Basque public broadcaster ETB, “Akelarre” is set against the background of 1609-14 Inquisition trials of suspected witches which took place north and south of the France-Spain border and represented the single biggest drive by the Inquisition to eradicate witchcraft in the whole of its history. Set in 1609 in the Basque Country, “Akelarre” tuns on Amaia, a 20-year-old girl who attends her first festival in the night woods. At dawn, she is arrested. Questioned by Pierre de Lancre, maybe the Basque Country’s most famous interrogator, she finally enters the judge’s game, but, indomitable and cunning, gradually takes over the reins of an increasingly intimate duel, the synopsis runs.

“‘Akelarre’ is a unique project that I am sure will be very attractive to buyers. It turns on a well-known subject from a never-before-seen angle,” said Vicente Canales.

He added: “Sorkin Films has produced a considerable number of auteur films with strong runs at festivals. I am very happy to work with them.”

““Through popular myths and beliefs about witchcraft, ‘Akelarre’ offers a true reflection on the human condition,” said Zuazua.

“It is a historical drama that tackles the subject of witchcraft from a new, little explored angle in film. Witches—free and self-taught women—are the scapegoat in a society ruled by the interests of the powerful few, who justify their own evil through the existence of a demonic presence,” he went on.

Lamia Producciones produced “La buena nueva,” picked up for international by Filmax. Either producing (“Fernando Franco’s “Dying,” which plays in this year’s San Sebastián Official Selection) or co-producing (blockbuster “Spanish Affair”), Kowalski has positioned itself as both a key Basque producer and bridge to Madrid’s production scene, bringing often mainstream movies and now high-end drama, such as Movistar +’s “The Zone.” to the Basque Country and Northern Spain.

More Film

  • The Favourite Black Panther

    Audience for Best Picture Nominees Most Diverse in Years, Report Shows

    Theatergoers for Academy Awards best picture-nominated films have become younger and more diverse over the past four years, a report released exclusively to Variety showed. Movio, which specializes in cinema marketing data analytics, said the changes in demographic shifts correspond to the best picture lineup becoming more diverse since the 2015 Oscars, when the #OscarsSoWhite [...]

  • Emma Thompson

    Emma Thompson Exits Skydance Animation Movie 'Luck' Over John Lasseter Hire

    Emma Thompson has dropped out of the voice cast of Skydance Animation’s upcoming film “Luck,” a spokesperson for the actress told Variety. The beloved British star did some recording for the project, but dropped out in January, following John Lasseter’s hire to the top animation job at David Ellison’s studio, an insider close to the [...]

  • Daniel Kaluuya Lakeith Stanfield

    Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield in Talks to Star in Film About Black Panther Party Leader

    Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield are in negotiations to star in the historical drama “Jesus Was My Homeboy” about Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. The project is set up at Warner Bros. with “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler producing along with Charles King through his Marco production company. Executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi [...]

  • Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue

    Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'

    Netflix has dropped the first trailer for its Motley Crue biopic “The Dirt” — based on Neil Strauss’ best-selling history of the legendarily bad-behaved ‘80s metal icons — and it looks like the film pulls no punches in terms of the band’s famously sordid history. In this two-minute trailer, we get glimpses of singer Vince [...]

  • ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the

    MyFrenchFilmFestival Prizes ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the Right Shape’

    Actress-director Noémie Lvovsky’s “Tomorrow And Thereafter,” a heartfelt homage to the director’s own mother, and Fabien Gorgeart’s “Diane Has the Right Shape,” about one woman’s surrogate motherhood, both won big at the 2019 UniFrance MyFrenchFilmFestival which skewed female in its winners and viewership, making particularly notable inroads into South East Asia and Latin America. Opening [...]

  • Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA For

    Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA for Awarding Prizes to 'Roma'

    Tim Richards, the founder and chief executive of Vue International, one of the largest cinema chains in Europe, has slammed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for awarding prizes to Netflix’s “Roma.” Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white film, which is also up for several Oscars, won four BAFTAs at the awards ceremony in London on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content