Tenerife-based Bendita Film Sales has taken international sales rights to Nely Reguera’s sophomore outing, drama “La voluntaria” (“The Volunteer”), toplining “Broken Embraces,” “Perfect Life” and Piggy” star Carmen Machi, one of the biggest marquee draws in Spain.

World premiering in main competition at this year’s Malaga Festival, “La voluntaria” marks Reguera’s follow-up to her well-received feature 2016 debut, the Bárbara Lennie-starrer “María (And the Others),” which won the best Ibero-American film prize at the Miami Film Festival and earned new director and lead actress nominations at the Spanish Academy Goya Awards.

Barcelona-born Reguera forms part of the new generation of exciting young female Catalan auteurs, alongside Carla Simón (“Alcarràs”), Belén Funes (“The Daughter of the Thief”), Neus Ballús (“The Odd-Job Men”) and Meritxell Colell (“Facing the Wind”). 

A Spain-Greece co-production, “La voluntaria” is produced by Adriá Monés at Fasten Films, Bteam Pictures’ Alex Lafuente and Maria Drandaki from Homemade Films. 

The film follows Marisa, a recently retired doctor, played by Machi, who has a big desire to having grand-children, but for an inexplicable reason none of her children has granted her wish.

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La Voluntaria Courtesy of Bendita Film Sales

After the sudden death of her only companion, her bulldog, Marisa decides to leave everything and travel to a refugee camp in Greece, where the children seem to need people exactly like her. 

Itsaso Arana (“The August Virgin”), Arnau Comas (“Yesterday’s Two Nights”),  Dèlia Brufau (“Your Are Not So Special”), Yohan Levy (“Emily in Paris”) and Henrietta Rauth (“Gruber Is Leaving”) complete the cast.

“We are very happy to add to our catalog the latest film by Nely Reguera, one of the most promising of Spanish filmmakers, after her formidable debut with “María (And the Others),” said Bendita Film Sales CEO, Luis Renart. 

He added: “ ‘La Voluntaria’ addresses a complex and, unfortunately, topical issue exploring an intelligent perspective that flees from stereotypes and commonplaces in an exciting and revealing journey led by an actress, Carmen Machi, in a state of grace, who composes a character full of nuances.”

Fasten and Bteam in Spain co-produced with Greece’s Homemade, along with participation from Spanish broadcasters RTVE, Movistar Plus and TVC, and financial backing from the Spanish government’s ICAA film agency, Catalunya’s ICEC, Greek Film Center and the support of Media Single Project scheme and Eurimages.

Barcelona’s Fasten Films credits take in co-production of Emmy winner Justin Webster’s non-fiction series “The Prosecutor, the President and the Spy” and Marcel Barrena’s “Mediterraneo: The Law of the Sea,” shortlisted last year for Spain’s International Feature Oscar submission and winner of the Audience Award at the Rome Film Festival, among other plaudits. 

Domestic distribution in Spain is handled by Bteam, which plans a June 10 release.