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San Sebastian: France’s Logical Pictures, Filmax Board Aritz Moreno’s ‘Advantages’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Filmax takes Spanish distribution rights to Sr. y Sra -produced quirky comedy

SAN SEBASTIAN — Based in Lyon, France Logical Pictures, proud of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s “Farming,” has come on board to co-produce Aritz Moreno’s much-awaited directorial debut “Advantages of Traveling by Train,” starring Luis Tosar and Pilar Castro.

Sold internationally by Entertainment One’s Seville International, Filmax has picked up Spain’s distribution rights to “Advantages,” which is produced by Señor y Señora –an up-and-coming San Sebastian-based production house owned by Moreno and producer-director Leire Apellániz – and Madrid’s Morena Films, producer of Iciar Bollaín’s San Sebastian competitor “Yuli,” Daniel Monzón’s “Cell 211.” “Advantages” marks the first movie produced at Morena Films by Merry Colomer.

“Logical Pictures’ DNA is based on innovating and financing new forms of independent cinema. Therefore, betting on the adaptation of such a unique and quirky best selling novel, directed by a promising first-time director, sounded perfect for us,” Logical’s president Frédéric Fiore told Variety.

“Advantages of Traveling by Train” is penned by Javier Gullón, the Logroño-born screenwriter of Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy,” from a cult novel by Spain’s Antonio Orejudo. Feature follows a literary agent, Helga, who is forced to check her husband into a psychiatric clinic. She meets one of its psychiatrists on a train who tells her his life story, threading three stories about one patient.

“A Russian-dolls’ story of stories, “Advantages” will fuse fun, surprise, and is occasionally quite sick,” Juan Gordon at Morena declared.

“The seasoned producing team supporting Aritz’s debut was a key point for us in financing our first Spanish film. We believe indeed that Spain is a land of fertile creativity and blooming talents especially when you focus on elevated genre and crossover dramas as we do at Logical Pictures,” Fiore added.  Feature is expected to shoot this winter.

Another production of Sr. y Sra., the documentary “The Spy Within” –pictured– was San Sebastian Festival’s choice to open the Zinemira Basque showcase this year. Premiered at August’s Locarno Festival, screening out of competition, the film by Ana Schulz and Cristóbal Fernández depicts the story of the friendship between Juan Gutiérrez, a mediator between the Basque Government and ETA, and Roberto Flórez, a former CNI (National Intelligence Centre) agent convicted for treason. It is told by Gutiérrez’s daughter, Schulz. Sr. y Sra. produces in partnership with Labyrint Films.

After the public declaration of the end of ETA in 2018, which had killed more than 825 people since 1968, many Basque creators are exploring without pressures and with freedom the shadows and truths of the long violent Basque conflict. “The Spy Within” is a case in point.

A proactive independent company, Señor y Señora presents a diverse, intense slate of ongoing projects. Company is post-producing “Jordy’s Letters,” directed by another talent-to-watch highlights by Variety, Maider Fernández Iriarte, a member of the creative team known as “the Paisaik Girls,” alongside María Elorza. It tells the story of a man worried because God is not talking to him anymore and his battle with a blurring faith. ”Jordy’s Letters” received last year the Ikusmira Berriak Industry Award.

Señor y Señora is also pre-producing documentary “Niño de Elche” directed by the production company’s co-founder Leire Apellániz and Marc Sempere, about a controversial and contemporary flamenco artist. Spanish producer Gervasio Iglesias is on board.

It also has in development a TV series, “I Always Sometime,” developed by Marta Loza and Marta Bassols, a “screwball punk comedy, a wild Almodovar-style comedy made by women,” according to Apellániz. The first season is completely written.

“Genre does not matter, nor the format, what I really like is smart, stimulating content shaking things up. I love genre fictions, creative documentaries and arthouse cinema. At least half of my productions are made by women and humor cannot be absent. That is a must.”

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