Seville’s Ferdydurke Films, the label of San Sebastian and Goya-winning director Fernando Franco, will join forces with San Sebastian’s Kowalski Films and Madrid’s Lazona Films to produce “The Rite of Spring” (“La consacración de la primavera”), Franco’s awaited third feature as a director.
Delayed by COVID-19 – the project was originally presented at Paris forum Small is Beautiful in 2019 – “The Rite of Spring” is scheduled to shoot in the first quarter of 2022.
Also written by Franco, “The Rite of Spring” is backed by Spain’s ICAA film agency, the regional government of Andalusia and Madrid and Andalusian public broadcaster Canal Sur. It turns on Laura, 18, who arrives in Madrid to begin university and, alone, strikes up a friendship with the slightly older David. The film is a coming of age story: While Stravinsky’s work portrayed a sacrificial rite, Franco’s film will look more at the rites of passage to (a larger) maturity.
Set to roll in Seville and Madrid, it returns to the theme of illness seen in Franco’s debut, “The Wound,” which focused intensely on a young woman with borderline personality disorder and his follow-up, “Dying,” which turns on a terminal illness and how that warps a couple’s relationship.
“The Wound” proved one of the biggest prize-winners at the 2013’s San Sebastian, snagging a Special Jury Prize and best actress plaudit for Marian Alvarez, and garnered Goyas for actress and best new director at the 2014 Spanish Academy Awards.
Playing as a special screening at the 2017 San Sebastian Festival, “Dying,” co-starring Alvarez, consolidated Franco’s auteurist reputation for psychological acuity and uncompromising honesty in his treatment of the discomfiting or taboo.
A cineaste, Franco juggles film direction with work as an editor – on Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s “May God Save Us” and Federico Veiroj’s “The Money Changer,” for instance – and as a producer – on Veiroj’s “The Apostate” and “Belmonte” and Begoña Arostegui’s “Me” (“Yo”), which plays at this week’s Malaga Spanish Screenings. It world premiered in Official Selection at Annecy, going on to win a Silver Biznaga at the Malaga Film Festival for best animation.
Co-written by Franco, animated in exquisite tones and precise line-drawn artwork, and generally acclaimed as one of the best shorts coming out of Spain last year, the 2D “Me” turns on a seemingly normal man whose life changes when he visits his local park. It weighs in as one of the gems at this year’s Malaga Screenings.