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Cannes: Cinema Republic Takes ‘h0us3’ as Spanish Smart Genre Builds (EXCLUSIVE)

MADRID  — David Castellanos’ Cinema Republic has acquired international sales rights to “h0us3,” a sci-fi horror thriller which instances  the renaissance of Spanish smart genre with theatrical, Chinese and platform potential.

Castellanos will introduce the film to buyers at the Cannes Film Market which kicks off next Tuesday, May 14.

“h0us3” marks the feature debut of Spain’s Manolo Munguía,  who studied Telecommunications Engineering in Santander.

It shows. The movie kicks off with a reunion of former university friends, all geeks and hackers, in the country home of  Rafa, set in the idyllic rolling hills of Cantabria, northern Spain. There, Rafa, the group’s leader at university, reveals that he hacks into his neighbors’ email accounts – “I like to to be God,” he admits –  and claims that he’s uncovered a secret Augmented Reality Wikileaks application allowing them to glimpse the future. That future, when extended just a few days, proves to be absolutely horrifying.

Written by Munguía and Sergio Martínez, produced by Ghost Dog, and starring Ruben Serrano (“El secreto de Puente Viejo”) and Mariona Tena (“Seis hermanas”), “h0us3” is produced by Spain’s Ghost Dog. It won best film at the 2018 Algeciras Fantastika  Festival, took the Audience Award at the Craft Film Fest BCN 2019, and scooped best actress at the 2019 Torremolinos International Fantastic Film Festival.

“The story is very personal. The first scenes, the university reunion, are taken from my own experience. As an expert in telecommunications and new technologies, I tried to merge two worlds,” Munguía said, calling the film “ a critique of the vulnerability of networks security.

“h0us3” also reflects Munguía’s fear of artificial intelligence. “Just  a few months ago, two A.I. machines were put together to communicate,” he said. “The machines invented their own language, which the human monitors couldn’t understand. The experiment was immediately closed down.”

In the current foreign-language sales climate, genre movies can play theatrical, also have strong potential on platforms and, in select cases, in China, where Oriol Paulo’s “Mirage,” a triple alternate future thriller, earned  $15.9 million.

For the Cannes Film Market, Castellanos has prepared promos in English and Mandarin. “h0us3” also has strong format potential, he indicated.

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