Project-packed 2012 for Morena Films
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
03/01/2012 - Since the end of November, production company Morena Films has been in Buenos Aires shooting the social drama White Elephant, by Argentinean director Pablo Trapero (who hopes to have it ready for the 2012 edition of the Cannes Film Festival, where he presented his previous two features: Lion’s Den, in Official Competition in 2008, and Carancho [trailer], in the Un Certain Regard in 2010). This collaboration with France’s Full House and Argentina’s Matanza Films and Patagonik Film Group will be produced by Juan Gordon, who together with Álvaro Longoria and Pedro Uriol forms the trio of producers at Morena Films (see interview). The company has a few project-filled months ahead.
Shooting on White Elephant will wrap with two weeks in Bolivia after the first seven weeks in the Argentinean capital. Scripted by Trapero with his regular collaborators Mitre, Mauregui and Fadel, the film tells the story of the friendship between two priests, Julián (Ricardo Darín [pictured], who starred in The Secret in Their Eyes [trailer] and Chinese Take-Away [trailer]) and Nicolás (played by Belgium’s Jérémie Renier, a regular actor in the Dardenne brothers’ films). After surviving an attempted murder by the army in Central America, they set themselves up in a slum area of Buenos Aires in order to develop their preaching and social work. There, they meet Luciana (Martina Gusman), with whom they will fight side by side against the area’s endemic problem: corruption. However, their work will soon bring them into conflict with the ecclesiastical hierarchy and the government and police authorities.
These are hectic months for Morena Films, true to its strategy of diversifying production in pursuit of greater security: “Maybe one [project] goes badly and another very well, but we achieve stability, something that most production companies lack”, affirmed Longoria (see interview). Among their projects are minority participations in major foreign productions, especially French productions (Dominik Moll’s The Monk; Laurent Tirard’s Asterix and Obelix: God Save Britannia; and Benoit Jacquot’s Farewell, My Queen), social documentaries (Longoria’s first directorial foray, Sons of the Clouds, about the conflict in Western Sahara) and collective films (7 Days in Havana, made up of seven parts directed by as many directors, including Julio Medem, Laurent Cantet and Gaspar Noé [see news]).
Three projects, one by each one of the company’s producers, stand out above the rest. Firstly, Gordon is producing Daniel Calparsoro’s Invader, together with Galician company Vaca Films and France’s Mandarin Cinema. This project, which repeats the successful production framework of Cell 211 [trailer, film focus], is currently shooting in Galicia (see news). The film, which is based on Fernando Marías’s homonymous novel, has been described by its producer Borja Pena (Vaca Films) as “a thriller with large doses of action and a very powerful political-war backdrop”.
Alacrán Enamorado (“Scorpion In Love”) will be the second narrative feature by Santiago Zannou, which will bring Carlos Bardem’s novel to the big screen and should start shooting at the end of this year. This production by Longoria, an “urban fable about overcoming one’s situation”, centres on the love that develops between Julián, a young man without professional or personal prospects who finds refuge in a group of violent neo-Nazis, and Alyssa, a young mixed-race woman who works at the gym where he trains as a boxer.
Finally, Álex and David Pastor’s The Last Days is in pre-production. Produced by Uriol, it is a thriller set in an apocalyptic Barcelona. A mysterious form of agoraphobia spreads across the whole planet, leaving the population trapped inside the buildings.
(Translated from Spanish)