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San Sebastian: ‘Gloria’s’ Paulina García to Star in ‘Happiness’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Presented at San Sebastian’s Co-Production Forum, feature marks sophomore outing of Chile’s Pepa San Martín (‘Rara’)

SAN SEBASTIAN — Chilean actress Paulina García, winner of a Berlin best actress Silver Bear for Sebastian Lelio’s 2013 ”Gloria,” which inspired his Toronto hit “Gloria Bell,” with Julianne Moore, is attached to star in the second feature of Pepa San Martín, “Happiness.”

The project will be pitched at the 7th Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum of Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival.

The feature is produced by Macarena López at Santiago de Chile’s Manufactura de Películas, the same production outfit behind San Martín’s debut, “Rara,” which world premiered at 2016’s Berlin Fest Generation Kplus section, winning its Jury Grand Prix. It went on to take the Horizontes Latinos and Sebastiane Awards at San Sebastian the same year.

García praised San Martín’s debut and her capacity to build “new kinds of stories,” underscoring “it’s very difficult for an actress to find strong and challenging women roles nowadays, and even more for mature women. My character in ‘Happiness,’ depicting a woman in such an important a biological and mental stage, deeply attracted me,” she told Variety.

“Happiness” turns on Ana and Teresa, two lifelong friends from childhood, now in their sixties who regularly spend weekends together. They chose a comfortable coastal hotel. But Ana has some serious plans on her mind. She is ill, and decided not to take treatment for her illness. Teresa opposes Ana intentions. The end, she argues, can’t be like this.

“Rara” was a vivid, delicate portrait of a family of two mothers and two daughters. One more time, San Martin homes in on mature feminine characters in ‘Happiness.

“It is a tremendously under-represented universe. We miss a lot by not knowing about it. Nature, the body, old age, fear, the sea, friendship, death,” San Martín commented to Variety adding: “I want to build the world through which they travel, not via hyper-naturalism, but rather an interpretation of this world which is so rarely explored. It’s a movie that talks about life through death. The vertigo and the clarity that appears in those moments is what interests me.”

The screenplay is written by Alicia Scherson, one of Chile’s foremost women directors, Luz Croxatto and San Martín. The project is in development and has received a grant from the development fund of Chile’s Strategic Creative Program (Corfo).

“In my opinion good actors are always complex, intelligent people, keen observers of others and very empathetic with them, at the same time,” San Martín said about García. “Maybe that is what it takes to not only follow a screenplay, but really act it out. Paulina is exactly like that.”

San Sebastian’s Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum runs Sept. 23-26.

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