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Irene Anula, Star of ‘Locked Up,’ Set for Mano Negra’s ‘Kintsugi’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Irene Anula, a star of breakout Spanish TV hit “Vis a Vis” (“Locked Up”), is attached to topline Aitor Uribarri’s survival thriller “Kintsugi,” which Spain’s Mano Negra Films will introduce to potential co-production partners at the Locarno Festival’s Match Me! forum.

Along with “Lady Laura,” starring “Locked Up’s” Itziar Castro and written and directed by Manuel Aguilar, “Kintsugi” marks another step up in production ambition at the Seville-based Mano Negra, which producer Daniel Mendez founded in 2010. First focusing on documentaries – most recently Vanessa Benítez’s “Rota n’ Roll” (2017); Guillermo Rocamora’s “Freedom is a Big Word” (2018) – Mano Negra moved into minority international fiction co-production, boarding Argentine Juan Schnitman’S upcoming “La sangre.” “Lady Laura” and “Kintsugi” mark its first two full-blown lead fiction feature productions.

“Kintsugi” stars Anula as  a fugitive on the lam in the forests of wild high mountains, who will have to decide the life and death of an injured climber. Aiding him, both could die, or her hiding place being discovered. As she debates that decision, her past resurfaces revealing that behind her fragile appearance may lie the reality of a cold-minded killer.

Written by Uribarrí and Eva Montoya, “Kintsugi” is scheduled to shoot at the end of 2019 in La Pedriza, a mix of spectacular granite towers and pine forest backing on to the south side of the Guadarrama mountains, north of Madrid.

“Kintsugi” director Uribarrí helmed the 23-minute post-apocalypse short “Horizonte,” Mano Negra’s first production, selected for competition at 2012’s Sitges Film Festival. Having relocated to the U.S. where, most notably, he served as cinematographer on  TV series “Confess,” he has now moved back to Spain.

A dark psychological thriller, which received a special mention at the 2017 4th Filmarket Hub Madrid Pitchbox and was written under the tutelage of screenwriter Michel Gaztambide (“Giants”) at a Damayuda Guiones workshop in Spain, “Lady Laura,” turns on a feeder, Juan, who enamors a chubby, shy girl, Laura, and, unbeknown to her, begins to film her,, turns her into Lady Laura, star of his fetish website.

To help him record video tutorials for his followers, he hires Rafa, a huge fans of Laura’s, creating a love triangle which will explode when Laura suffers serious health complications because of her weight.

Rafa is played by Eneko Sagardoy, star of “Handia,” a milestone in Basque cinema production that which won a Special Jury Prize at the 2017 San Sebastian Festival and Sagardoy a best breakthrough performance Spanish Academy Goya.

Mano Negra’s two banner Match Me! projects reflect the new ecology of Spain’s industry where actors can claim most fame for pay TV series.

Lady Laura, for example, will be played by Itziar Castro, a Goya Best Breakthrough Performance winner for the Alex de la Iglesia produced “Pieles,” who won large acclaim for her performance as the brutal Goya in “Locked Up.” Juan is played by Secun de la Rosa, who most recently starred in three episodes of Netflix’s “Paquita Salas.”

“Kintsugi” is genre, “Lady Laura” has multiple genre beats. For the first decade of the century, Spain ranked as Europe’s number one genre movie hub. It is now undergoing a new renaissance.: Many young filmmakers passionately want to make genre films; as movies channel ever more diverse influences, some incorporate genre elements into their mix. Such movies can perform well on streaming platforms. Some may break out to success still in cinema theaters.

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