Producer-director Kristina Konrad’s Berlin-based Weltfilm has boarded “Amateur,” the feature debut of Spaniard Martin Gutiérrez which won the top Malaga Festival Prize for best Spanish film at this Spring’s Malaga WIP pix in post competition.
Konrad, one of the jury members for Spanish titles at Malaga WIP, along with Berlin Panorama director Paz Lázaro and Gijón Film Festival programer Ricardo Apilánez, signed up to co-produce “Amateur” after the Malaga WIP showcase.
Written by Gutierrez, “Amateur” also won the Abycine Prize from Spain’s Albacete Independent Film Festival and shared the FIDBA Award, granted by the Buenos Aires International Documentary Film Festival, with Marta Lallana’s “Muyeres.”
Described as an gesture of intimate love and justice towards the people and places that suggest home for the director, “Amateur” shows how time goes by at varying speeds as perceived by different people in the village Gutierrez grew up in, Echo, nestling in a deep valley in the high Pyrenees near to the border with France.
“Three stories in the same scenario, my village of Echo, but seen from different perspectives,” Gutiérrez told Variety, “Amateur” turns in one part on the love story lived out in the village by his grandparents. A strongly personal film, it is interlaced by fragments of a story about a suicidal man who gives away his possessions before taking his life, and a third story taking in the production of Jacques Audiard’s latest movie “The Sisters Brothers,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, which lensed around Echo.
“One story is pure narrative, another part fiction, the third is Audiard’s shoot, in a place they don’t know at all,” Gutiérrez told Variety.
Mixing three stories, “Amateur” and an intimate sense which approximates at times to a home movie of loved ones shot with an old camera. Gutierrez in fact used a brace of cameras and formats – Betacam, VHS, Super8, 16mm and 35mm; – to break the sense of time in the film adding a special feel to the footage.
An alum of Cuba’s San Antonio de los Baños film school (EICTV) and Digital Art in Barcelona, Gutierrez created the Barcelona-based Martindecho Films to make “Amateur.”