Films used to world premiere at a festival, then open theatrically and then on pay TV. If they were from Spain, their first natural market would be France.
No more. Filmin, the high-flying upscale Spanish arthouse SVOD platform, will release on Friday the period shipwreck drama “Island of Lies,” a Spanish-Argentine co-production that marks the feature film debut of Spain’s Paula Cons, which already bowed successfully from May 14 on Argentine online channel CinearTV and VOD service Cinear.Play.
“Island of Lies” then bows in main competition from tomorrow at China’s Shanghai Festival, competing for its Golden Goblet.
Finally, it’s set for targeted theatrical release in the Spanish region of Galicia, in northwest Spain, where the action occurs, on Oct. 2.
Also distributed in Spain by Filmax, the feature is exciting large interest in China, where some Spanish movies have broken out to stellar box office trawls. For example, Oriol Paulo’s “The Invisible Guest,” a neo-Hitchcockian thriller, earned $25.9 million in China, where it opened No. 2.
There is also an offer on the table from the U.S., Cons said.
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The film’s plot isn’t what it may at first appear. A facts-based thriller, “Island of Lies” is inspired by the sinking in 1921 off the coast of Galicia, northwest Spain, of the ship the Santa Isabel, which was carrying 260 passengers to Argentina. Three young women rowed to the wreck to try to rescue survivors. An investigation by an Argentine journalist begins to suggest that the shipwreck was the result of foul play.
Despite a whodunnit format, Cons’ real interest, she told Variety, is in the three young women heroines and the trauma caused by events. She also wanted to lift the lid on a 1921 Galicia rural community sunk in lies and conspiracies, she added.
“Island of Lies” is produced by Galicia’s Agallas Films, the Basque Country’s Historias del Tío Luis, Aleph Cine in Argentina and Portugal’s Take 2000. That part of the film business, at least, is unlikely to change, as co-production will be more necessary than ever in the COVID-19 era.