MADRID — Beating out other suitors, Madrid-based sales company Latido Films has closed international sales rights on Belén Funes’ anticipated San Sebastian main competition contender “A Thief’s Daughter” (“La hija de un ladrón”). BTeam Pictures will release the film in Spain.
Already one of the most talked-about titles heading to San Sebastian this year, based on word-of-mouth generated by sneak-peak screenings in Madrid and Barcelona, Funes’ feature debut is sparking buzz for both its direction as well as Greta Fernández’s lead performance.
San Sebastian Festival director José Luis Rebordinos readily admits that he and his selection team had originally thought of the film as a candidate for the festival’s New Directors section. After screening it, however, they wanted it for main competition.
Seen in Isabel Coixet’s “Elisa & Marcela,” Fernández plays Sara, a single mother traumatized by her jailed father’s abandonment who attempts to juggle reuniting her family – the father of her six-month-old baby and her young brother – and her own personal sentiments. That proves near impossible as she muddles through on multiple low pay, part-time jobs. She is soon in danger of being distanced from everything she loves most when her father, the good-for-nothing Manuel, suddenly reappears in her life.
Manuel is played by Eduard Fernández, one of the finest Spanish actors of his generation (“Smoke and Mirrors”) and Greta Fernández’s real-life father, which adds another wrinkle of appeal to the story.
Championed by Coixet, whose production outfit Miss Wasabi Films produced Funes’ two lauded shorts – 2014’s “Sara a la Fuga” and 2016’s “La Inútil,” “A Thief’s Daughter” reunites Funes’ regular team of creative collaborators of co-screenwriter Marcal Cebrian (2011’s “El Estigma”), cinematographer Neus Ollé (Mar Coll’s 2012 “We All Want the Best for Her”) and editor Bernat Aragonès (Coixet’s “The Bookshop”).
“A Thief’s Daughter” is lead produced by Oberon Cinematográfica , headed by esteemed director Antonio Chavarrías (“The Chosen”) and co-produced by Alex Lafuente’s BTeam Prods, which backed Isaki Lacuesta’s “Between Two Waters.”
It marks the feature debut of yet another member of a new generation of young women filmmakers based out of Barcelona and emerging over the last few years, Chavarrías noted.
Last year’s San Sebastian saw the premiere, for example, of Celia Rico’s “Journey to a Mother’s Room,” one of the festival’s most admired movies. This year’s festival will also host the Spanish premiere of Leticia Dolera’s first TV series “Perfect Life,” which won best series and best special performance for its female leads at April’s 2nd Canneseries festival, and Lucia Alemany’s village-set“Innocence,” a bittersweet rights-of-passage tale world premiering in San Sebastian’s New Directors section.
Latido Films has always driven deep into new talent, said Latido head of acquisitions and festivals Oscar Alonso. “Without any preconceived plan,” many have been first-time women directors, he added, citing Laura Mora (“Killing Jesus”), Pepa San Martín (”Rara”) and Arantxa Echevarría (“Carmen & Lola”).
“We were surprised and impressed by the narrative power of Belén Funes and her feature debut, ‘A Thief’s Daughter,’” he went on: “Hers is an original voice which knows exactly what she’s talking about, depicting the background of a low-income district while making us reflect deeply on family dynamics.” Added to this, he argued, “A Thief’s Daughter” offers “the unforgettable performance of Greta Fernández.”
The film “centers on a young woman who battles to be normal in a world that threatens to leave her marginalized from what she loves most. It’s a film that’s honest, full of life, and with a strength that will touch spectators deeply,” said Chavarrías.
“One bet at BTeam is new Spanish cinema talent,” added BTeam Prods producer Lafuente. “Belén Funes is one of the most interesting and surprising voices in its recent cinema, with a feature film debut which dazzles and impresses for its force and moves with its truth.”
“A Thief’s Daughter” marks Alonso’s second pick-up as Latido head of acquisitions, reporting to Antonio Saura. A first, Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s “El Hoyo,” looks bound for a major late summer/fall fest.