Javier Rebollo’s ‘Dans la chambre du Sultan’ Backed by Paraíso, Elamedia, Eddie Saeta, Noodles (EXCLUSIVE)

Close to the Sultan
Credit: Paraiso Production Difussion

Nathalie Trafford’s Paraiso Production Diffusion and Jérôme Vidal’s Noodles from France and Roberto Butragueño’s Elamedia and Luis Miñarro’s Eddie Saeta from Spain have teamed to co-produce Javier Rebollo’s “Dans la chambre du Sultan.”

A multi-prized Spanish film director, Rebollo ­­won San Sebastian’s best director with “La mujer sin piano” (The Woman Without a Piano) and a Fipresci prize with “El muerto y ser feliz” (“The Dead Man and Being Happy”) at the festival’s 2009 and 2012 editions.

“Dans la chambre du Sultan” (Close to the Sultan) turns on Gabriel Veyre (pictured), the most gifted of Auguste and Louis Lumière’s camera operators who traveled to Morocco for three months in 1900, hired by the Sultan Moulay Abd el-Aziz to initiate him into the mysteries of cinema. He remained for his lifetime.

Starring Vincent Macaigne (Louis Garrel’s “Two Friends”), “Dans la chambre”’s cast will also include Ingrid García-Jonsson (Jaime Rosales’ “Beauty Youth”) and actor-composer Will Oldham (aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy), who “will horse ride in a revolution and sing in Arabic a theme expressly written for the film,” according to the producers.

“Like Veyre, Javier is an adventurer and a curious person, someone who knows how to put life in art and a lot of art in life. In ‘Dans la chambre du Sultán,’ starting from this fascinating historical character, Javier will shoot an anti-biopic,” Natalie Trafford at Paraiso Production told Variety. 

She added: “In the feature Javier blends a multitude of genres, from adventure films to porn and from horror to melodrama with admirable spontaneity and respect.”

Trafford co-produced Manuel Nieto’s Cannes Directors’ Fortnight player “The Employer and the Employee,” which closes San Sebastian’s Horizontes Latinos, and has in post Spanish director Meritxell Colell’s “Duo.”

“For 20 years I have been pursuing Gabriel Veyre, the famous yet unknown Lumière operator, a fascinating character who was both novelistic and real,” Rebollo said. He added: “Now, I have been able to investigate his life and archives in Paris, Lyon, Marrakech, Tangier, Rabat and Casablanca, to meet and learn from his heirs, and, above all, I have been able to travel with Luis Bértolo, my assistant and co-writer, to the places where he lived and worked.”

“Dans la chambre” is scheduled to begin shooting in May 2022. It will be lensed in 35 mm in Morocco and will be shot in Fez and Casablanca. Regular Rebollo’s collaborator Santiago Racaj will serve as D.P.

Rebollo’s new feature “links with all his career due to thE non-renounceable, non-negotiable love for the seventh art, but also to an obsession with the greatness and adventures of antiheroes – as in ‘Lola,’ ‘The Woman’ or ‘The Dead’ or Vyre,” Miñarro told Variety.

Producer-director Miñarro, who backed Ainhoa Rodríguez’s “Mighty Flash,” featuring at San Sebastian’s Made in Spain showcase, and directed “Love Me Not,” co-produced Rebollo’s “The Dead Man and Being Happy.”