“My Emptiness and I,” “The Barbaric,” and “Saudade Became Home Inside” have all won big at a key industry section at Spain’s Malaga Festival, its Work in Progress, which first shone a light on such titles as “The Platform,” Netflix’s most-watched movie in the U.S. for some days last year.

This year round, at the 4th Malaga Work in Progress Awards, which ran May 20 – June 11, the three titles all scooped a hat trick of prizes.

The third feature of Adrián Silvestre, whose “The Objects of Love” took a Fipresci award at 2016’s Seville Festival, “My Emptiness and I” won the Arachne, Abycine Lanza, and REC prizes. The story of Raphi, diagnosed with gender dysphoria and who begins a gender transition, is produced by Javier Pérez Santana, one of the producers behind Agustí Villaronga’s “The Belly of the Sea,” Malaga Fest’s main competition winner this year.

Seen at Ventana Sur’s Copia Final competition last year, its director having participated at the TIFF Filmmaker Lab, Argentine Andrew Sala’s “The Barbaric” took the Latido Award, given by sales agent Latino Films to the feature with the best prospect for distribution worldwide. Prior Latido Award winners include “The Platform” and “Ane is Missing,” a standout at last year’s San Sebastian Festival.

Sala’s follow-up to his first solo feature “Pantanal,” “The Barbaric” plumps socio-economic tensions in rural Argentina as a young man investigates why the cows on his father’s ranch are being killed.

“Saudade Became Home Inside” by Brazil’s Haroldo Borges snagged Malaga’s Ibero-American Jury, Yagan and Damita awards. “Saudade” marks Borges’ second feature after “Son of Ox.”

The directorial debut of DP Pablo Lago, “Animas” won both the prize of the Buenos Aires Doc Film Festival (FIDBA) and Spanish Jury award. Produced by Diana Toucedo Films, the label of director Toucedo (“Thirty Souls”), “Animas” captures Alicia and her grandson in a Galician village’s winery famed for making “aguardiente” brandy. The setup serves to contrast two generations and depict an ancient craft about to disappear.

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The Barbaric Courtesy of MAFIZ

Malaga’s co-production forum also highlighted some of its most promising projects with prizes.

Directed by first timer Laura Basombrío, a former cellist, “The Souls” scooped two of the most notable plaudits, the DOK Leipzig and Sanfic Industry awards, adjudicated by Germany’s preeminent documentary festival and one of South America’s key film-TV industry events.

Produced by Anahí Farfán at Argentina’s Arde Cine, it turns on Estela, who lost her mother some years before, but still feels her presence every day.

Marisa Crespo and Moisés Romera’s “You’re Not Me” (Spain, Portugal) and  Juan Vicente Manrique’s “Stray Bullet” (Mexico) won other awards granted at the Málaga Festival Fund & Co-Production Event (MAFF).

“Our main concern has been to support Latin American and Spanish filmmakers to help them face the problems caused by COVID-19, especially given the uneven reaction public-sector film bodies in the region,” Malaga WIP coordinator Walter Tiepelmann told Variety.

He added: “Some film institutes sought to serve their industries. Most of them didn’t, however, and left their producers and filmmakers high and dry. Supporting the completion of these ongoing movies was a matter of urgency.”

Tiepelmann announced that the WIP showcase would be expanded to cover new formats, such as series and documentaries.

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Saudade Became Home Inside Courtesy of MAFIZ


Arachne Award- Post-production

“My Emptiness And I,” (Spain, Adrián Silvestre)

Latido Award – International Distribution

“The Barbaric,” (Argentina, Andrew Sala)

Yagan Award – Sound Post Production

“Saudade Became Home Inside,” (Brazil, Haroldo Borges)

Damita Award – Domestic Distribution

“Saudade Became Home Inside”

Abycine Lanza Award

“My Emptiness And I”

Cine Y Tele Award

“Tolyatti Adrift,” (Spain, Laura Sisteró)


“O Auto Das Animas,” (Spain, Pablo Lago Dantas)

REC Festival Award

“My Emptiness and I”

“Like A Little Leaf,” (Spain, Manel Raga)


“The Barbaric”

LatAm Cinema Award

“Periphery Woman,” (Argentina, Sol Bolloqui)

Music Library & SFX Award

“Fenómenos de Marte(L)” (Spain)

“The Barbaric”

Ibero-American Jury

“Saudade Became Home Inside”

Spanish Jury

“O auto das animas,” (Spain, Pablo Lago Dantas)



Bolivia LAB

“Stray Bullet,” (Juan Vicente Manrique, Mexico)

Cinema 226 

“You’re Not Me,” (Marisa Crespo, Moisés Romera, Spain, Portugal)

DOK Leipzig Co-Pro Market Accelerator

“The Souls,” (Laura Bosombrío, Argentina)

SANFIC Industry

“The Souls”


“The Art of War,” (Grecia Barbieri, Gonzalo Benavente Secco, Peru)