FilmSharks Takes Santiago Segura-Directed ‘Empowered,’ Starring Maribel Verdu (EXCLUSIVE)

‘No Filter’ also licensed to Carlos Garcia Paredes’s Vertical Media as redos multiply on the Nicolas Lopez smash-hit

Santiago Segura, Maribel Verdu
Courtesy of La Portería de Jorge Juan

MADRID — Santiago Segura, creator and star of the “Torrente” movie series and one of the Spanish-speaking world’s most popular comedians, is directing his first non-“Torrente” movie, a Spanish version of Nicolas Lopez’s Chilean smash-hit “No Filter.”

Spanish actress Marbel Verdú (“Belle Epoque,” “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”) stars. The production, “Empowered,” went into production in Madrid this Monday and will shoot for seven weeks in the Spanish capital.

Segura and long-time producing partner Maria Luisa Gutierrez will produce out of Bowfinger Intl. Pictures, in co-production with Atresmedia Cine, the film arm of Spanish broadcast network Atresmedia. The film will also use a tax vehicle, Sin Filtro La Pelicula AIE. Movistar + has acquired Spanish pay TV rights; Warner Bros. Pictures International España will distribute in Spain.

Guido Rud’s FilmSharks Intl. has acquired international sales rights to Segura’s “Empowered.”

The deal comes as FilmSharks, which also sells the format to the original, has licensed Panamanian remake rights to “No Filter” to Carlos Garcia Paredes’ Vertical Media, whose credits include producing “Hands of Stone.” That is just the latest of a slew of redo deals on “No Filter” which attest to the vibrancy of the Latin American remake business on select titles.

“Empowered” bids fare to become an event title in Spain, where “Torrente’s” five installments have cumed €79.9 million ($90.1 million). Audiences will be highly interested in seeing what Segura makes of his first movie ever as a director outside the franchise. “Torrente” was an unconscionable scumbag tub-o’-lard sexist ex-dick. “Empowered” turns on an attractive Grumpy Young Woman, a forty-something who has everything – work, a partner, friends – but still senses something is missing. Seeking aid from an Indian healer, Amil Narayan, she is offered a millennium herb remedy to liberate her tension. Unfortunately, she swallows the whole bottle – and discovers she can’t stop speaking her mind.

Lopez’s original “No Filter” bowed Jan. 6 last year in Chile after a huge social media build-up, earning $5.7 million, the second highest box office ever for a local movie in Chile, after 2012’s “Stefan vs. Kramer.”

“The fact ‘No Filter’ is a comedy whose protagonist is a woman and that it reflects her point of view, is an achievement,” Segura told Variety after Bowfinger Intl. Pictures optioned the Spanish rights to “Sin Filtro.”

He added: “Women see movies as much as or more than men. It’s difficult for me to understand why there aren’t more films with women protagonists.”

Announcing the film Tuesday, Segura observed that he wanted to make a comedy where audiences could identify with its protagonist.

FilmSharks has also licensed “No Filter” remake rights to France (Andina), Brazil (Conspiracao Filmes), Mexico (Balero Films, in association with Lopez’s Sobras Intl. Pictures) and Colombia, Uruguay and Argentina (Aeroplano Cine). Sony Pictures has acquired rights to Germany and Turkey.

Retreads to China, South Korea, Italy and Russia are under discussion with FilmSharks, Rud said. CAA represents U.S. rights, with Sobras.

One key to “No Filter’s” success – both the original in Chile and format – is its high-concept.

“I saw Nicolás López’s film at IFF Panama in 2016 and loved it,” said Garcia Paredes.

“It’s very easy to empathize with the main protagonist. All of us have at one time or another yearned to shout out loud our thoughts and frustrations, with no filter, without suffering any consequences.”

“This female-driven, super-high concept is like ‘Falling Down’ meets ‘Trainwreck’ and buyers are desperate for it as it is a standout for female audiences worldwide,” Rud added.