Charades Films Boards Morena’s ‘Piggy,’ a Buzzy Debut Feature from Spain’s Carlota Pereda (EXCLUSIVE)

Credit: Jorge Fuembuena

Paris-based Charades Films has boarded Carlota Pereda’s rural thriller “Piggy” (“Cerdita”), one of the most awaited feature debuts of the year from Spain.

Written and directed by Pereda, “Piggy” is produced by Morena Films and France’s Backup Media, the outfit behind “Still Alice,” “Submergence” and Ari Folman’s Cannes entry “Where Is Anne Frank.” Charades will handle world sales rights on “Piggy,” while Filmax, a frequent backer of first time directors, will distribute the film in Spain.

Starring Laura Galán, Richard Holmes and Carmen Machi, “Piggy” expands on Pereda’s short of the same title which marked her breakthrough as a film director and won 90 awards, including the Spanish Academy Goya Award for best short film in 2019,  the José María Forqué Award for best fiction short and a Slamdance Russo Brothers Fellowship.

Though “Piggy” represents her feature debut, Pereda has an extensive C.V. as a director and writer. She has worked in television for 20 years, notably for “Money Heist” creator Alex Pina in directing episodes of “Paco’s Men.”

“Piggy” was selected at script stage for the Cannes Festival’s Focus Copro Initiative. It also won the Pop Up Residency, supporting the development of feature films.

Addressing the common young adult phenomenon  of bullying, the film is given a genre edge by Pereda and centers around Sara, for whom summer just means dealing with constant teasing from other girls in her small country town.

That all stops, however, when a stranger comes to town and kidnaps her tormentors. “Sara knows more than she’s saying,” the synopsis runs, “and will have to decide  between speaking up and saving the girls or saying nothing to protect the strange man who has saved her.”

Laura Galán (“Secret Origins”) will  play Sara, reprising her role from the original short. The rest of the key cast comprises Richard Holmes (“Sky High”), Carmen Machi (“The Skin I Live In”), Claudia Salas (“Elite”) and Pilar Castro (“Julieta,” “Competencia Oficial”).

“I fell in love with the character, her conflict wouldn’t let me go. It’s the story of an outsider that wants to fit in,” Pereda told Variety. “It’s terrifying because it’s real and relatable, it shows adolescence at its most brutal,” she added. “Believe me, if you’re an overweight teen, social anxiety can be as paralyzing and horrific as murder.”

The feature is set in a small town in Extremadura under a scorching sun, and will be “very real, very raw, local but universal,” according to Pereda.

“Nobody is indifferent in a village. Invisibility is not an option. Small town, big hell. ‘Piggy’ is an ode to difference in every way. Even morally. It’s is also a tale of redemption. Because if we fail to break the cycle of violence, it will go on forever,” Pereda said.

Winner of a Eurimages award, “Piggy” is produced by Morena Films’ Merry Colomer, in co-production with Backup Studio and Cerdita AIE, and in association with La Banque Postale and Indéfilms, with the participation of RTVE and Movistar Plus. The film went into production on June 17, shooting in Villanueva de la Vera, Extremadura, Spain. The shoot will continue until July 28.

“We loved the short film and it made immediate sense for us to support Carlota on the feature. Not only is ‘Piggy’ set to be a great genre film but it also tackles sharply the struggle of being a teen in a cruel world of appearances,” said Charades co-founder Carole Baraton.

“Morena Films focuses on stories that matter, and, as a woman producer, I have a particular interest in the female perspective, which has been unfairly hidden for a long time,” Colomer added. “Carole and Charades have genuinely understood the story’s relevance, and that makes them the perfect partners to launch ‘Piggy’ internationally. Carlota captures one of the pressing social issues of our time employing a genre and an aesthetic rarely used for this type of film.”