Alex Brendemühl, one of Spain’s most international actors, is attached to star in domestic violence drama “El Buzo,” the fiction feature debut of awarded Austrian documentary filmmaker Günter Schwaiger.
Scheduled to shoot from Feb. 19 to March 20 entirely on the island of Ibiza, the Spanish and German-language “El Buzo” is inspired by Schwaiger’s “La maleta de Marta,” a 2013 documentary on male violence made in co-production with Spain’s RTVE and Austria’s ORF, the two countries’ respective national public broadcasters.
Vienna-based art-house distributor Filmladen has acquired the film’s Austrian distribution rights.
The movie, following the documentary, will place an especial emphasis on children as victims of domestic violence and their struggle to overcome the traumas it generates.
Also written by Schwaiger, who has spent years researching the subject in Spain and Europe, “El Buzo” follows Paul (Brendemühl), a famous composer living in Ibiza, accused of having seriously mistreated his ex-partner Irene (Austrian actress Franziska Weisz), whose daughter Lena (Julia Richter) eye-witnessed the assault.
Fearing a public scandal, Paul manipulates his own son Roberto (Dominic Singer) to force his victim’s silence. When the musician is about to get what he wants, events take an unexpected twist.
“Male abuse is often avoided as a subject in film and when it appears it’s almost always full of clichés and prejudice,” Schwaiger said.
He added: “Here, it is in the center of the plot. The thriller format allows us to get across these fundamental issues through a vehicle open to everyone.”
Based in Spain from the ’90s, Schwaiger aims to show with “El Buzo” that “there is no dead end if one is not afraid of the truth.”
The film is set up at Austrian companies Günter Schwaiger Film Produktion and Extra Film, with Schwaiger and Extra’s Lukas Stepanik boarding as producers. Madrid-based Mosolov-P provides production services.
Born in Barcelona, Brendemühl’s takes in a wide range of both Spanish and international titles such as Roger Gual’s “7 Years,” the first Netflix original film in Spain, Nicole Garcia’s Marion Cotillard-starrer “From the Land of the Moon” in France, and “The German Doctor,” from Argentina’s Lucía Puenzo which was selected for Cannes Un Certain Regard.