Feature comedies “El Cover,” the directorial debut of actor Secun de la Rosa, and Ana Murugarren’s “García y García,” will respectively open and close Spain’s 24th Malaga Film Festival, the country’s biggest event dedicated exclusively to films and TV in Spain and Latin America.

Running June 3-13, the festival focus will fall on its usefulness for the region’s film and TV industries, prioritizing cinema exhibition over  social events.

The main competition, a faithful reflection of the most recent cinema produced both in Spain and Latin America, combines highly experienced filmmakers with up-and-coming talents. In total, it will highlight 23 features, 15 Spanish and eight Latin American.

Sold by Latido Films, Benidorm-set musical comedy “El Cover” is produced by Kiko Martínez at Madrid’s Nadie Es Perfecto (“Perfectos desconocidos”) in collaboration with Amazon Prime Video and GTS Entertainment.

Toplining Spanish comedians Pepe Viyuela (“Marcelino, el mejor payaso del mundo”) and José Mota (“Padre no hay más que uno 2”), “García y García” is produced by Blogmedia and Clarg Films, in association with Mogambo, and backed by RTVE and Amazon Prime. It will screen out of competition on June 13 at the festival’s closing ceremony.

“The Official Section is really representative of what both Spanish and Latin American cinema can be. It is a balanced selection where we can find comedy -there is a desire in the sector to breathe and enjoy -, drama, genre… films with a larger production philosophy and others that are more vocational,” said Malaga Festival director, Juan Antonio Vigar.

“There are films by directors with a net auteurist vision, something we like to give visibility to, but also directors with a longer and more recognized film career,” he added.

Beyond “El Cover,” Málaga’s main section will host six further first films. Three of them – Balanced Media-produced “Chavalas”, by Carol Rodríguez Colás; Ezekiel Montes’ thriller “Hombre muerto no sabe vivir” and Macarena Astorga’s “La casa del caracol,” produced by Bowfinger International Pictures and Basque Film, are sold in international by Filmax.

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Con quien viajas Courtesy of Malaga Film Festival

Filmax will also handle overseas sales and Spanish distribution rights to “Ama,” the debut feature of Escac film school alum Julia Paz, produced by La Dalia Films.

Further first-timers at Málaga take in Hugo Martín Cuervo, whose road movie “Con quién viajas,” is produced by Eduardo Campoy at Álamo Producciones in partnership with A Contracorriente and Neón Producciones.

German sales house Patra Spanou Film sells international rights to “Destello bravío,” by debutant Ainhoa Rodríguez, produced by Tentación Cabiria and Luis Miñarro’s Eddie Saeta, which world premiered to an upbeat response at Rotterdam 2021’s Tiger Competition.

Meanwhile, Vicente Canales’ Film Factory Entertainment is handling Venezuelan Claudia Pinto’s European co-production “Las consecuencias,” filmed in the Canary Islands and Valencia. The thriller toplines Juana Acosta (“Perfectos desconocidos”) and Alfredo Castro (“Tony Manero”).

Brazil’s ELO Company will sell “Mulher Oceano,” a Tokyo-Rio de Janeiro-set story marking the feature debut of Brazilian distaff helmer Djin Sganzerla, and produced by Mercúrio Produções.

“It is a fundamental fact that Malaga has become an interesting platform for new talent, not only in the competitive sections but also in the industry area, in which we have turned new talent into the cultural axis of our activity,” Vigar said.

A recent example is Pilar Palomero, who’s coming-of-age story “Las niñas” world premiered at Berlin last year and went on to win best feature at Malaga in August. In March, the film swept an extraordinary 35th edition of Spain’s Goya Awards, scooping best picture, new director, original screenplay and cinematography.

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Destello bravio Courtesy of Malaga Film Festival

On the industry side, Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s “The Platform” was first discovered at Malaga Work In Progress sidebar in 2019 by Latido before winning the People’s Choice Award at Toronto’s Midnight Madness, then becoming during some days the most-watched movie on Netflix in the U.S.

The local film lineup in Málaga competition is rounded up by new features from veteran Spanish filmmakers such as “Born a King’s” Agustí Villaronga, whose “The Belly of the Sea” has been produced by Testamento, La Periférica and SVOD indie service Filmin in co-production with Turkana, Link-up Barcelona and Bastera Films. It is sold by Antidote Sales.

Prolific director Dani de la Torre (“El desconocido,” “La unidad”) will present Atresmedia Cine-produced 1980s teen adventure movie “Live is Life,” co-written by “The Red Band Society” creator Albert Espinosa. Warner Bros. Pictures plans a “Live is Life” theatrical release for Aug. 13. Film Factory sells.

A thriller set in 1982, inspired by true events of Nazi criminals on the Mediterranean Costa Blanca, “El sustituto” is the latest from Oscar Aibar, a director of distinctive comedies (“Flying Saucers”) and period horror (“The Wood”).  Gerardo Herrero’s Tornasol Films produces “El sustituto” in co-production with Voramar Films and Belgian shingle Entre Chien et Loup (“The Congress,” “Elle”), with Latido selling.

Other Spanish comedies playing out of competition are Javier Fesser’s “Historias lamentables,” an Amazon Prime Video release produced by Morena Films and Películas Pendelton and sold by Latido, and two Filmax-sold movies: Host family charade “Sevillanas de Brooklyn” directed by Vicente Villanueva (“Toc Toc”) and produced by Capitán Araña and Pecado Films, and Carlos Therón’s flamenco-trap band story “Operación Camarón,” a co-production from Telecinco Cinema, La Pepa Films, Lazona Films and Quexito Films distributed in Spain by Buena Vista.

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La casa del caracol Courtesy of Malaga Film Festival

Latin American film highlights from Málaga’s Official Section kick off with comedy “Las Mejores Familias,” the third feature from Peruvian filmmaker Javier Fuentes-León. The film is produced by Colombia’s biggest production house Dynamo in co-production with Perú’s El Calvo Films, the company behind Fuentes-León’s Sundance and San Sebastian winner “Undertow.”

Judith Colell’s “15 horas,” a Dominican Republic-Spain co-production drama about mistreatment in Dominican Republic upper social classes, teams Barcelona’s Turkana Films with Santo Domingo-based Selene Films.

Argentine Fernando Sokolowicz’s Aleph Cine produces Lucas Turturro’s thriller “Cómo mueren las reinas” (“Fall of the Queens”), about two teenage sisters living in an isolated country house with their aunt, whose perfect symbiosis is endangered when a cousin bursts into their lives. French sales company MPM Premium handles international.

Dramedy “Amalgama,” a story of friends seeking to evade their realities in a tropical paradise, marks the third feature of Mexican helmer-scribe Carlos Cuarón, best known for co-writing his brother Alfonso’s “Y tu mamá también.” “Amalgama’s” rights are sold internationally by San Sebastian-based Soul Pictures, while Mexico’s Cinepolis handles Latin America.

Madrid-based Feel Content sells Uruguayan director Joaquín Mauad’s “Años luz,” a road movie about three siblings separated by time and distance, forced to reunite to close the sale of their childhood home.

Juan Pablo Félix’s “Karnawal,” a Beta Film pickup, focuses on a young Malambo dancer during Carnival near the Argentina-Bolivia border.

A Colombia-Ecuador co-production set-up at Héroe Films, Henry Rincón’s “La ciudad de las fieras” turns on an orphan and lover of rap, who must flee to live with his grandfather after an altercation with gang members. The film won co-production funds from Ibermedia and is being sold by Outsider Pictures.

Málaga Premiere sidebar will host the release of four Spanish TV series: TNT’s “Maricón perdido,” TVE’s “ANA. all in.,” Movistar Plus’ “Paraíso” and TVE’s “Lucía en la telaraña.”

Zonazine, the festival’s sidebar dedicated to edgy, innovative titles will screen Spanish films “Juana la Lorca,” a mockumentary by Valeriano López;  Mar Targarona’s horror thriller “Dos” produced by Rodar y Rodar, Alexis Delgado Búrdalo’s medium-length film “Soledades,” and Alex Montoya’s Goya-nominated fiction short “Lucas.”

Latin American titles at Zonazine include Ruth Caudeli’s “Leading Ladies,” Guillermo Magariños’ “Los hermosos vencidos,” Mauricio Franco’s “Samichay, en busca de la felicidad,” and Inés Barrionuevo and Gabriela Vidal’s “Las motitos.”

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Amalgama Courtesy of Soul Pictures