Headlined by Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, The Mediapro Studio’s “Official Competition,” one of the year’s highest-profile international Spanish productions lensing in Spain, has resumed shooting.

Compounding the difficulty of going into production for a second time, the film features an international cast including Argentine heavyweight Oscar Martínez, a former San Sebastian, Venice and Argentine Academy best actor award-winner, plus two Argentina-based directors, Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat.

They will be hoping history doesn’t repeat itself this time around. Eight days after production started in March of this year, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down filming when it became unsafe to continue. Ominously, as shooting resumes this week, parts of Spain, led by Madrid, are reintroducing stricter lockdown conditions once again, as the daily number of new cases is rising.

“Official Competition” features Banderas and Martínez as renowned actors of large talent but even bigger egos, set on a collision course on the set of film directed by a celebrated auteur cineaste, played by Cruz.

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Banderas, Martinez ‘Official Competition’ Manolo Pavon

In the months since shooting was suspended, the filmmakers continued working as best they could, tweaking the script based on what had already been filmed.

“Within all the negatives of interrupting a shoot, there was something positive: We had an unusually large amount of time to study the already-shot material, and to put under a microscope the screenplay for what is left to film,” Duprat said in a press release.

“The material we already have is wonderful: Penélope, Antonio and Oscar are extraordinary. The scenes have what we wanted, an uncomfortable mix of tension and sarcasm in an aesthetic framework of great conceptual strength. We restarted filming with the certainty that we have something really powerful on our hands,” he added.

Cohn went on, “In this film are the experiences and knowledge gained after so many years of shooting. The film has our DNA as directors, but also that of Penélope, Antonio and Oscar, as they generously contributed their own experiences. In this film, you will see an intense distillation of the universe that we know best: that of directors and actors trying to do one of the most unnatural and complex things, for me, in the world: Shooting a film.”

Sold by Protagonist Pictures, “Official Competition” is a pillar of The Mediapro Studio’s push into movie production. Regular collaborator Andrés Duprat co-wrote the screenplay. Josep Amorós, a production manager on TMS’ drama series “Side Games,” as head of production. Arnau Valls (“Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”) serves as DP, Alain Bainée (“Mindscape”) heads up production design, and Alberto del Campo (“The Realm”) oversees editing.

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Cruz, Banderas, Martinez ‘Official Competition’ Credit: The Mediapro Studio