×

Eurimages Winning Project ‘Almamula’ Stands Out at Ventana Sur’s Proyecta

Juan Sebastian Torales arrived at this year’s Ventana Sur Proyecta showcase for Latin American projects as one of the event’s most buzzed up debutants with his upcoming semi-autobiographical feature “Almamula.”

In September, Torales and producer Pilar Peredo, from France’s Tu Vas Voir, pitched the project at San Sebastian’s Co-production Forum, where it won the Eurimages award, opening up the opportunity to present at Ventana Sur. It has since participated in the BrLab writing laboratory in Sao Paulo, which Peredo says went a long way towards refining the script.

Tu Vas Voir’s Edgard Tenembaum and Argentina’s Lorena Quevedo of Twins Latin Films also produce.

“Almamula” starts in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, where 12-year-old Nino is assaulted for being homosexual. In an effort to protect the boy, his parents move the family to a small rural village. Overwhelmed by guilt and shame and facing the scorn of a conservative community, he will do everything he can think of to attract the Almamula: a legendary creature which captures those who commit an impure sexual act.

Torales short film “Sacha” was an initial approach to the story he is developing with his first feature. His initial interest in tracking the 12-year-old protagonist, the atmosphere of rural Northern Argentina, the climate of tension and wilderness signal his search to find the tone that will define “Almamula.”

Popular on Variety

Torales explained how the story will play in the realms of reality and fantasy to Variety while in Buenos Aires.

“’Almamula’ is both a real and fantastic drama,” he said. “It’s real and palpable because it addresses a universal issue, one of the greatest fears any human can face, which is to be alone. And it’s fantastic because in reality we all need our own fantasies to survive. For me, ‘Almamula’ is proof that we are all part reality and part fantasy, confused all the time. I like to say that ‘Almamula’ is a film with horror aspects as well, which give it a completely original dimension.”

It’s been years since Juan’s childhood in rural Argentina, looking for the Almamula himself, but Peredo explained that his experiences are still as current as ever in the conservative territories.

“The film is born from a personal experience, and everything that happens is directly inspired by Juan’s real-life experience. But of course, it’s also a fictional story in which Juan takes liberties. He still frequently goes back to his home province, Santiago del Estero, and the Almamula is as well-known as ever,” she said.

“Its legend is still alive and hasn’t changed in the years since Juan has grown up,” she continued. “Everyone, both in the city and in the countryside, knows about her and fears her. It doesn’t matter what age, social class or environment people move in.”

According to Peredo, they hope to start filming in the first quarter of 2021. To that end, the producer was in Ventana Sur “to promote the project, continue conversations initiated at San Sebastian with distributors and interested sellers, and evaluate new possibilities of collaboration with other co-producers and partners.

More Film

  • Pamela Tola

    Göteborg: Pamela Tola Proves There is an Audience for Different Stories

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden —  Chosen to close the discussion dedicated to discrimination against elderly people at the Göteborg Film Festival, Pamela Tola’s “Ladies of Steel” fitted right into this year’s focus on feminism and gender at the Swedish event. Which managed to deliver on its 50/50 promise, with 54% of the presented films being directed by [...]

  • Shirley Chen and Jose Angeles appear

    'Beast Beast': Film Review

    Writer-director Danny Madden’s “Beast Beast” clatters to life with organic percussion: a stick rat-a-tatting against an iron fence, a skateboard scraping on concrete, a rifle pinging bullets against a defenseless tin plate. Together, these sounds combine into jazz, despite the discordance of the three teens making such a ruckus. Krista (Shirley Chen), the stick thwacker, [...]

  • Sundance: PBS POV Acquires Kenyan Doc

    Sundance: PBS POV Acquires Kenyan Doc ‘Softie’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    PBS’s documentary arm POV has snapped up U.S. broadcast rights for Kenyan director Sam Soko’s “Softie,” fresh off its world premiere in the World Documentary Cinema competition at Sundance, Variety has learned. The film, which is the first Kenyan-produced movie to premiere at the festival, will air as part of the series’ 33rd season, which kicks [...]

  • Will Smith as Mike Lowrey in

    Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life' Rules Over 'The Gentlemen'

    STX’s “The Gentlemen” proved no match for Sony’s “Bad Boys for Life,” which again left box office competitors in the dust after collecting $34 million in its sophomore outing. Those ticket sales, pushing the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence-led sequel past the $100 million mark, were easily enough to claim the No. 1 spot for [...]

  • Kajillionaire

    'Kajillionaire': Film Review

    The world is a weird place. Miranda July knows that, but the rest of us sometimes forget. Or maybe we just don’t want to admit how bizarre it is that society more or less agrees that back rubs and hot tubs and flavored chips and McRibs are an appropriate reward for a bazillion years of [...]

  • Stellan Skarsgard

    Göteborg Listens to Stellan according to Skarsgård

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden — Laughs were aplenty at the Stora Theatern, where Göteborg Film Festival artistic director Jonas Holmberg welcomed the recipient of the Nordic Honorary Dragon Award, fresh off his Golden Globe win for HBO’s “Chernobyl”. “It wasn’t planned. I thought that will be my only award this year, that’s why I said yes!” – joked Skarsgård, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content