Lending some bigger movie heft to the Malaga market, Latido Films is bringing onto the international sales scene two thrillers – though very different propositions – from Academy Award winning producer Tornasol Media (“The Secret in Their Eyes”).

“Thrillers have high export potential, but they’re a highly competitive market and since Spanish movies can’t compete with U.S. films’ star power, they have to offer something else,” said Latido Films head Antonio Saura.

Both in production, what Imanol Uribe’s “La Mirada de Lucía” and Oscar Aibar’s “El sustituto” offer is high quality entertainment grounded in different but powerful social realities.

The directors go about addressing that reality in highly different ways, however.

Winner of San Sebastian’s Golden Shell with “Running Out of Time” and “Bwana,” a feat only achieved by five other directors, the first Francis Ford Coppola, Imanol Uribe’s “La mirada de Lucía,” written by scribe-helmed Daniel Cebrián (“The Good Boy”), turns on one of the most crucial events in recent Latin American history: the murder of six Jesuits advocates of a peace process in El Salvador, and two maids, on the UCA El Salvador Campus in San Salvador.

The assassinations were made to look like the work of FMLN guerrillas. Based on four years of research, “La Mirada de Lucía” is inspired by these true events and the case of the only witness, a cleaning lady, to the true identity of the assassins: the army.

Putting her life on the line, she goes on to battle for years for the truth and justice in a case which still roils today.

The assassination of the Jesuits, five Spanish, including Liberation Theology specialist Ignacio Ellacuria, sparked international outrage – and huge pressure on El Salvador’s government to accede to reach a peace settlement. The battle to convict members of the government who ordered the attack continues to this day.

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La mirada de Lucia Credit: Mikel Larrea

Starring Juana Acosta (“Imprisoned”) as Lucia, “La mirada de Lucia” is produced by María Luisa Gutiérrez at Bowfinger Intl. Pictures, rapidly consolidating as one of Spain’s foremost production houses, and Academy Award winning producer Gerardo Herrero at Tornasol Media.

Co-produced by Voramar Films and celebrated Belgian shingle Entre Chien et Loup, a co-producer of Ari Folman’s “The Congress” and Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle,” “”El Sustituto” marks the latest movie from Aibar, a director of distinctive comedies (“Flying Saucers”) and period horror (“The Wood”).

Sluiced with period noir, and a testament to how the crimes of years past leave hostages to fortune many decades later, it turns on a cop, hardened by working Madrid’s mean streets,  who transfers to a small coastal town, Denia, on Spain’s eastern coast. There he’s called on to investigate the death of his predecesor.

“El sustituto” was inspired, Aibar has said, by a photo he saw on the wall of a beach-side restaurant in Spain, taken not more than 20 years before, of a group of men sitting smiling at the same restaurant, dressed in WWII German army uniforms.

The photo inspired Aibar to discover “hundreds of details about Nazis who sought refuge on the Costa Brava, a prosperous community that lived in placid retirement well through to the early ‘80s in Spain.”

As in many Aibar films, “The Substitute” stars a top-notch Spanish cast, here Ricardo Gómez, who scored a Spanish Academy Goya nomination for his performance in “The Last of the Philippines,” Pere Ponce (“Blancanieves”) and Vicky Luengo, who netted rave reviews in Spain for her turn in Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s San Sebastian hit, “Riot Police.”