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Projects By Mendez Esparza, Fernando Franco and Villaronga at Small Is Biutiful

Antonio Méndez Esparza’s “Que nadie duerma,” Fernando Franco’s “La consagración de la primavera” and Agustí Villaronga’s “3.000 obstáculos” figure among the seven projects to be pitched at Paris’ Small Is Biutiful forum.

The closing event for the alternative Spanish film festival Dífferent 12!, Small Is Biutiful takes place June 26, bringing together French distributors and sales executives around a selection of Spanish feature projects seeking partners.

Backed by the Cannes Film Market, Different! is organised by Espagnolas en Paris and the Ile-de-France Film Commission.

Past projects presented at Small Is Biutiful take in Oliver Laxe’s “Mimosas,” which won Cannes 2016 Critics’ Week; Carlos Vermut’s “Magical Girl,” San Sebastián’s top Golden Shell Award in 2014, and Arantxa Echevarría’s “Carmen & Lola,” winner of breakout director and supporting actress nods at February’s Goya Awards, as well as a Cannes Directors’ Fortnight contender.

“Que nadie duerma” is produced by Pedro Hernández at Aquí y Allí Films, the Madrid-based production house behind Méndez Esparza’s feature debut, “Aquí y Allá,” winner of Cannes 2012 Critics’ Week, and “Life & Nothing More,” the director’s follow-up, which took the John Cassavetes Prize at the Film Independent Spirit Awards 2018.

Co-written by Méndez Esparza and Clara Roquet, the project adapts Juan José Millás’ same titled novel, a love and horror story.

Spanish-Argentine actress Malena Alterio (“Spanish Shame”) is attached to star as Lucía, a woman whose life takes a definitive turn the day that loses her job as a computer programer.

Lucía establishes the following principles on which her future existence will be based: She will be a taxi driver, will travel through the streets of Madrid, while waiting for an opportunity to re-meet her neighbor, whom she’s fallen in love with but who’s disappeared. From that moment onwards, all the important events in her life will unspool to Puccini’s “Turandot,” of which she’s the protagonist.

Coming of age drama “La consagración de la primavera” teams two of Spain’s most successful film houses in recent years: Kowalski Films and Lazona, the co-producers of Telecinco Cinema’s box office B.O. juggernauts “Spanish Affair” and “Spanish Affair 2.”

Director-writer Fernando Franco caught attention with “La herida” one of the biggest prize-winners of the 2013 San Sebastian Festival, snagging a Special Jury prize and best actress for Marian Alvarez, before earning Goyas for actress and best new director at the 2014 Spanish Academy Awards.

Backed by Spanish state TV network TVE, Andalusian regional public broadcaster Canal Sur and Spain’s leading paybox Movistar +, “La consagración” is the most advanced of projects in Paris in terms of financing, having also snagged distribution in Spain with Golem.

Irusoin, one of Basque Country most active film and TV companies, whose film credits take in “Loreak,” Spain’s 2016 foreign language Oscar entry, will pitch Catalan auteur Villaronga’s dramedy “3.000 obstáculos,” executive produced by Marta Baldó.

Co-written by Villaronga and Mario Torrecillas, the film will narrate the story of Marisa, a modern and chaotic grandmother who lives with her grandchildren Edgar and Robert in a modest house in Cornellá de Llobregat.

Marisa advanced Alzheimer’s; the children take care of her showing large and with overflowing fantasy.

Villaronga’s long film career takes in titles such as 2011 multiple Goya Award winning drama “Black Bread,” set in the Spanish Civil War, and this year’s “Born a King,” a Spanish-British co-production, executive produced by Oscar-winner Andrés Vicente Gómez (“Belle Epoque”).

Catalan director-producer Jordi Roigé (“Colateral Love”) will be pitching “Vonlenska,” a Spain-Iceland-Czech Republic co-production project which has set Max Von Sydow and Peter Vives for its main cast.

The story follows an old concierge of a rundown apartment block in Reykjavik, which becomes home to a young man and a woman who have just ended relationships with their respective partners. In an unintentional mix-up -returning letters to the wrong senders- the concierge makes it impossible for the two couples to meet up again, but opens up the possibility of a new relationship between the tenants.

Scheduled to shoot from January in Iceland, Prague and Barcelona, the co-production teams Barcelona’s Utopia Global, Czech Republic’s Synergia Film and Iceland’s Vintage Pictures, and has won support from Catalonia’s public broadcaster TVC and film institute ICEC. Canary Island Connection is attached as international sales agent.

The second project structured as a co-production is “Cada 15 días,” the first feature by Ione Hernández, set up at Vitoria-based Sonora Estudios, a post-production services company regularly investing in content production.

Leonardo Sbaraglia (“Wild Tales”), confirmed as male lead, will play Pablo, a man who has just divorced, traveling from Madrid to Hendaya to spend his first weekend with his eight-year old daughter Jimena.

Produced by Pako Ruiz at Sonora, the film is scheduled to shoot from February in Spain’s San Sebastian and France’s Hendaya, with Ursula Romero attached as co-producer.

Another first time helmer is Spanish actress Nuria Gago (“In Family I Trust”), who is presenting “Quiéreme siempre,” based on her same titled novel, winner of the Grupo Planeta Azorín Award.

The feel-good story tells the relationship between a thirty-four year old woman and an octogenarian widow, forced to co-exist, trying to stay afloat despite being feeling as if they’ve been shipwrecked.

The project is channeled through tax vehicle Mapa de canciones, AIE, an alliance between Catalonia’s Sábado Películas, run by producer Toni Carrizosa and director-producer Kike Maíllo, with Ana Eiras and Marta Libertad at Galicia’s Xoubiña Films.

Barcelona-based Coming Soon Films will unveil at Paris “The Enchanted,” director Elena Trapé’s follow-up to the 2018 multi-award winning feature “The Distances.”

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