All five backed Sorogoyen’s latest 2016 release, “May God Save Us,” a harrowing serial killer thriller which, consolidating Sorogoyen’s reparation as a director to track, was distributed by Warner Bros. in Spain, won best screenplay at September’s San Sebastian Festival last year and was still racking up international sales for Latido at this week’s Berlin European Film Market.
The lead producer on “May God Save Us,” Gerardo Herrero and Mariela Besuievsky’s Tornasol Films, an arthouse institution in Spain, produced Juan Jose Campanella’s “The Secret in Their Eyes,” which won an Academy Award for best foreign-language film in 2009.
The film arm of Atresmedia, one of Spain’s two biggest broadcast groups and film financiers, Atresmedia Cine produced Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” as well as “Intruders” with Clive Owen, and “Red Lights,” with Robert De Niro and Sigourney Weaver. But one of its large achievements this decade has been to co-produce a string of thrillers which question the manners and mores of Spain’s establishment.
Written by S0rogoyen and Isabel Peña, a co-scribe on all his three features, “El Reino” turns on a corrupt politician who has to defend his actions when brought to account by fellow party members. It will star De la Torre, one of Sorogoyen’s troubled cops in “May God Save Us” and the lead of Venice hit “The Fury of a Patient Man,” which swept Spain’s Goyas Awards this month.
Latido began introducing “El Reino” to buyers at Berlin’s European Film Market.
“‘El reino’ is inspired by true events [in Spain] but is highly international. There’s corruption in all parts of the world,” said Latido Films head Antonio Saura.
Making his directorial debut with “Stockholm,” a chronicle of male chauvinism and its devastating consequences, Sorogoyen stepped up hugely in scale with “May God Save Us,” a portrait of male violence in differing manifestations.
“Just as Rodrigo raised his game from ‘Stockholm’ to ‘May God Save Us,’ we believe that with ‘El Reino’ he’ll take another step forward, and it’s our policy to follow great directors we believe in from one film to the next,” Saura said.
Sorogoyen also belongs to a remarkable “a generation of directors who want to explore the genre — change it, play with it and develop it,” said Saura.
Unlike slashers, they can also play primetime TV slots and, if sufficiently arthouse, rack up sometimes near worldwide sales abroad. “May God Save Us” scored an early sale to Jean Labadie’s Le Pacte in France, announced in Cannes last year, a bell-weather deal of a quality arthouse movie with edge. In “May God Save Us,” Sorogoyen brought a naturalism to the violence on the screen, positioning it not as spectacle but the result of tragic pathology, traced back in two cases to family circumstance. In “El Reino,” which is sure to feature as one of the most talked-about Spanish productions of the year, in his only public declarations on the film, which did not go into industrial detail, Sorogoyen said last October in a TV interview that the film would explore the corrupt politician’s human side, his motivations and contradictions.
“El Reino” will go into production this summer.