Madrid-based Avalon is transforming from a prestige producer-distributor into an industrial force.
Founded by CEO Stefan Schmitz in 1996, Avalon has carved a reputation most recently for co-producing and releasing in Spain Carla Simon’s “Summer 1993,” a Berlin 2017 First Feature Award winner. It co-produced Clara Roquet’s Cannes Critics’ Week entry “Libertad.”
The shingle, set to distribute “Benedetta” and “Bergman Island” in Spain, now has an 11-title production slate, both features and drama series, taking in new titles from leading lights in a new generation of female Catalan cineastes.
Simón herself has rural family drama “Alcarrás” in shooting and is developing her third feature, “Romería.” “Alcarrás“ – “a highly cinematographic, and bigger budgeted Spanish independent film,” said Schmitz – is being sold by MK2.
“Libertad” director Clara Roquet is co-writing “Creatura,” set up at San Sebastian project lab Ikusmira Berriak, from Malaga best director winner Elena Martín Gimeno (“Julia ist”), and “La Virgen Roja,” a feature film from Paula Ortiz (“The Bride”).
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Isa Campo, a producer-writer on “Between Two Waters,” is teaming with its writer-director Isaki Lacuesta and Raul Arévalo, director of 2017 Goya best film winner “The Fury of a Patient Man,” to create eight-hour drama series “Esa Maldita Pared.”
Liliana Torres (“Family Tour”) is in post-production on relationship drama “What Went Wrong?”
Avalon has boarded Rei Cine’s “Infanta,” from Argentina’s Natalia Garagiola, whose notable debut “Hunting Season” won the 2017 Venice Critics Week Audience Award.
It is also producing ECAM Incubator title “Matria” and trans child drama “La Mitad de Ana,” the awaited feature debuts respectively of Sundance best short film winner Alvaro Gago and Marta Nieto, a Venice Horizons best actress winner for Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s “Mother.”
“We like good stories, new visions, new ways to tell stories, stories that matter, socially-speaking and very local stories which resonate universally,” Schmitz said.
Avalon’s production build coincides with a restructuring of the company after the departure of Enrique Costa from Avalon’s distribution department. His responsibilities are being assumed by CEO Stefan Schmitz, backed by Marcos Colorado and Manuel Palos, promoted from project manager and director of marketing and communication, respectively, in what Schmitz describes as an “ambitious restructuring.”
“This is a moment of high opportunity,” said Schmitz,. “So it’s also a great opportunity for people at the company to grow,” he added, signaling that he could now get more involved in production, his aim when he set up the company 25 years ago.
Avalon’s explosive growth can be put down in part to a “development storm” during the pandemic, Schmitz said.
Expansion also rolls off an ongoing partnership with Mexico’s Mr. Woo and Noc Noc Cinema, which sees Avalon providing production and financing services on Netflix series in Spain created by Manolo Caro (“The House of Flowers”).
First up was “Someone Has to Die.” A second Caro series serviced by Avalon, “Érase una vez… Pero ya no,” a musical, is now in post-production.
Pictured (L-R): Manuel Palos, Marcos Colorado and Stefan Schmitz (CEO)