Enrique Buleo’s “Still Life With Ghost,” Ana Asensio’s “The Goat Girl,” Gala Gracia’s “The Remnants of You” and Esteban Alenda Bros.’ “There Is Evil” are some of the film projects pitched at the spotlight event on Spanish cinema at Cannes’ Producers Network on Friday May 20.
Five Spanish production companies– Un Capricho de Producciones, Quatre Films Audiovisuales, Potenza Producciones, Aquí y Allí Films and Solita Films – were selected by Spain’s trade promotion board ICEX and the ICAA film institute to pitch their production slates at the Marché du Film event.
As part of the Production Day, which kicked off with the Producers Network, the five Spanish producers made a video pitch with their projects – the main part of them at development stage – to encourage international partnerships with co-producers and sales agents.
Comedy is the predominant genre among the feature projects selected.
In the evening, 25 Spanish producers will reunite with more than 100 international producers at the event with the aim of promoting professional meetings and reinforcing co-production ties.
“It is a great opportunity for independent Spanish production companies to have an exclusive event to present our projects, not only to the French but also to the international market, also in a so-exciting Cannes edition like this,” said Aquí y Allí’s Pedro Hernández.
“Participating in such an important initiative, I want to strengthen my network, meet with co-producers and other industry professionals, exchange experience and ideas, discover the work from other producers and find potential partners for our company’s slate of projects in development,” added Solita Films’ José Esteban Alenda.
According to producer Belén Sánchez at Barcelona’s Un Capricho de Producciones, being part of the Producers’ Network at Cannes under the ICEX umbrella “certainly gives us a better position to close our negotiations with international co-producers and financiers.”
Alejandra Mora, producer at the Valencia-based company, pitched Enrique Buleo’s dark comedy “Bodegón con fantasmas” (“Still Life With Ghost”). It narrates five different intertwined stories about ghosts and living inhabitants in a small town in rural Spain, all of them facing their own problems in different and singular situations.
The project has on board Juan Cavestany’s Cuidado con el perro, the production house behind Movistar Plus’ series “Sentimos las molestias” and feature “Un efecto óptico.”
France’s Ikki Films, Oscar-nominated in 2018 for Ru Kuwahata & Max Porter’s animated short film “Negative Space” and a partner on Buleo’s previous feature “Women Visiting a City,” is attached to co-produce.
“The film combines all of Buleo’s obsessions and his peculiar style, which he has progressively refined, until reaching artistic and cinematic maturity,” Mora said.
The project was selected by ECAM’s Incubator where it received mentoring from Cavestany. It also went through Media’s Sources 2 program and won the I Albacete Audiovisual Award at Abycine Lanza. Last July, it participated in the Focus Copro at the Cannes Film Market’s Short Film Corner for debut films looking for international partners.
“Our passage through the different labs and markets has strengthened the project. We are looking for foreign production companies that give it greater strength, as well as sales agents,” Mora said.
“From our production company we want to encourage and plumb Enrique’s intentions, humor and references, which we fully share. His project is a hallucinatory take but at the same time deeply realistic and committed to the human and aesthetic landscape of what we know today as the emptied Spain, which actually connects with the legacy of our best cinema,” Cavestany added.
Un Capricho de Producciones
One of Variety’s Catalan producers to track in 2020, Barcelona-based Belén Sánchez has produced high-profile films such as Lucía Alemany’s San Sebastián player “The Innocence” and María Ripoll’s “We Won’t Kill Each Other With Guns.”
Her project “I Choose My Name” is co-produced by Lina Badenes at Valencia-based Turanga Films and is looking for potential co-producers in France, Switzerland and Luxembourg and sales agents.
Based on real facts, the dramatic comedy turns on Fernande Olivier, Picasso’s muse and lover, who taught young girls to read and write unleashed the fury of conservative women, while the men around her suffered from uncontrollable love.
“The film explores such important topics as universal education, the origin of modern art, the consequences of extreme traditionalism and the paths that have led to women’s liberation,” Sánchez said.
Potenza, founded in 2004 by Carlo D’Ursi, is presenting two projects at the meeting: Gala Gracia’s “The Remnants of You” and Amaya Villar’s “With You, With You and Without Me.”
A co-production with Portugal’s Fado Filmes and Italy’s Sajama Films, formerly Palosanto, “The Remnants” will be distributed in Spain by Karma Films.
With 90% of the budget in place – ”We’re just missing international sales deal,” D’Ursi said – the project has won strong support from Spanish broadcasters: from nationwide state network RTVE to regional operators Aragon TV, Castilla La Mancha Media and Catalonia’s TV3. Casting by Irene Roqué (“Summer 1993”) has already started.
“The rural jazz drama will implement a NFT mining of the jazz score that will be marketed at Opensea,” noted D’Ursi, director of “Yalla,” nominated for the Goya Award for best fiction short film this year.
A documentary that combines animation and fiction, “With You” is currently in production, and scheduled to be delivered by year’s end.
With 70% financing in place, the project is backed by Madrid City Hall and Madrid’s regional government, and has been selected by Spanish Film Academy Residencies Programm.
“This is a boyhood of the author in her last 20 years of life, whose benchmark is León Siminiani’s 2012 documentary “Mapa,” D’Ursi said.
Aquí Y Allí Films
The credits of the company founded by Pedro Hernández in 2010 take in “Here and There,” the debut feature of Antonio Méndez Esparza, which won Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prize in 2012.
At Cannes 2022, Hernández is pitching two projects, both at a solid development stage: Ana Asensio’s “The Goat” and Burnin’ Percebes’ “Golem.”
For allegorical drama “The Goat,” Aquí y Allí is teaming with “Alcarràs” producer-distributor Avalon. Romania’s Avanpost is co-producing the project, which will be sold internationally by Alpha Violet.
Set in the suburbs of Madrid in the late ’80s, the film is scheduled to roll by 2023 summer.
Aquí y Allí has also partnered with Elamedia’s producer-distributor Roberto Butragueño on Burnin’ Percebes’ sci-fi comedy “Golem,” which has attached Spanish thesp Luis Tosar (“Maixabel”) to the cast, led by Brays Efe, star of Netflix hit series “Paquita Salas.” Plans are for it to roll from August in Madrid.
One of Spain’s top indie film houses, Aquí y Allí previous productions also include Carlos Vermut’s “Magical Girl,” which scooped San Sebastian’s Golden Shell in 2016, and Méndez Esparza’s “Life and Nothing More,” winner of the John Cassavetes Spirit Award in 2017.
Brothers César and José Esteban Alenda broke through with their 2018 feature debut “Sin Fin,” which earned a Goya Award nomination for best new director, and a Silver Biznaga at the Málaga Film Festival.
Arthouse outfit Solita Films is looking at the Marché du Film 2022 for international partnerships on two author-driven genre projects: “Líbranos del mal” (“There Is Evil”) and ”Waka Waka.”
Spanish thesp Paco León (“House of Flowers,” “Arde Madrid”) is attached to star in “There is Evil,” scheduled to roll for six weeks in Madrid from January 2024, directed by the Alendas. Film Factory will sell the film.
They will also write and direct psychological horror project ”Waka Waka,” a co-production with Mexican producer Martha Orozco at MartFilm (“Pornomelancolía”), which Elamedia will distribute in Spain, and Latido Films will handle internationally.