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Spanish director Manolo Munguía, who made a splash on the festival circuit with his feature debut “H0us3,” is prepping his lo-fi sci-fi follow-up, “In Another World.” 

Set up at Munguía’s Barcelona-based Ghostdog label and produced by Sergio Martínez,  a co-scribe with Munguía on “H0us3,” “In Another World” has been selected for next March’s Malaga Festival Fund & Co-Production Event (MAFF), one of Málaga’s industry centerpieces. 

It forms one of six Spanish productions at a talent-packed 22-title lineup of first and second feature projects from Spain and Latin America and part of Málaga’s predictably powerful Spanish Screenings Content spread. 

“H0us3” won best film at the Speculative Film Fest in Seattle and best director at the Miami Intl. SciFi Film Festival, alongside vying in main competition at the Edinburgh Intl. Film Festival in 2019. It shone a dystopian light on the many pitfalls advanced technology may drift us towards. 

Also written by Munguía, “In Another World” is expected to take this a step further, dealing with artificial general intelligence on Earth, and the potential of intelligent life from elsewhere. 

These lofty themes are grounded in a story of a widowed Father who embarks on a trip to search for his estranged daughter. It is on this trip that he stumbles across a 13 year old girl who confides that she comes from another planet. 

Munguía expects this extraterrestrial reveal to raise different questions in an audience, he told Variety, “Part of the audience, I think, will say ‘okay, what kind of trauma would make a girl believe she is literally from a different planet.’ And hopefully the other half will think : ’Wow, cool she is from a different planet.’ ”

Its selection for MAFF brings expectations of interest from producers attracted to work on co-productions that mix the emotional with the cerebral. It served Munguía well when presenting “H0us3,” in its early stages, he said. “Back in 2019 when we were in Malaga presenting “H0us3,” That’s what they [producers] told us. They said, “this is not your usual boy meets girl, but much more, it’s exploring new technologies” and I think producers liked it for that.” 

Lo-fi sci-fi has a pedigree of success for filmmakers who have married theme and emotion well: Breakout examples include “Primer,” “Monsters,” and “Moon.”

On its themes, Munguía added, “Artificial Intelligence is right around the corner. I truly believe we will find life forms on a distant planet very soon. All of this is coming very fast toward us. I personally find this exciting and scary at the same time.” Given his background, producers can be confident Munguía knows what he’s talking about: He’s worked for over 20 years in tech and engineering in the telecommunications industry. 

“In Another World” joins five other Spanish productions looking to stand out and seek funding at MAFF in March 2023. All of which will seek at least a theatrical release in their native country, followed by rest of the world distribution either via theatrical release or platforms. 

H0us3