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Álvaro Alonso

Producer on the Move 2010 - Spain

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Álvaro Alonso

While studying engineering in his native Basque Country some 15 years ago, nobody could have predicted that one day Álvaro Alonso would be named Producer on the Move 2010 for Spain, thanks to his film producing career at the head of a company based in Seville, specialised in Andalucia and with a name as luminous and southern-sounding as Jaleo Films. But so it came to be and Cineuropa got the chance to talk with him about his career, productions and expectations for the future at the 13th Malaga Spanish Film Festival.

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“When we left the faculty [in 1991], as a group of four university friends we set up a cooperative, believing that within two years we’d be making films. It took us ten years to make the first one,” says Alonso. In 2000, he founded Jaleo Films with Antonio Lobo, whom he met on the Masters in Audiovisual Management (Mega) course, at Ronda’s Media Business School.

The company’s growth has been gradual, he admits: “Over the last ten years, we’ve done lots of things, including majority productions, co-productions and shorts. We’ve grown gradually. At first, we were certain we should focus on development and therefore had to invest time, money and resources”. Within a short time, Jaleo opened up a new line: “Co-productions of projects which were not developed by us but had a link with Andalucia, either in their location, or subject matter”.

For several years this was how it was, until Alonso decided to go “a step further in international co-productions. We want to move on to others where we can incorporate Andalucia in some way even if it isn’t the main core of the project. A film intended to shoot in Lisbon, let’s say, with our investment we can bring to Seville instead”.

“I believe in genre films. Our experience tells us that it is better to back clearly defined films. The mixing of genres is very interesting and in that sense Let the Right One In [+see also:
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was a revelation. It’s good to mix, but they must be very well defined. Your screenplay can’t begin one way and end in another”, explained Alonso. He added: “Our Spanish productions are a little more focused on comedy, while internationally we work more on comedies and thrillers”.

“We’re not in this profession for the money," says the producer, "but for the pleasure of making films. Personally, I most enjoy the development process, when you’re really defining what the film is. When the screenplay is already more or less worked out and you start talking about the technical and artistic team”. Alonso knows about the implications of cost in filmmaking, since “there is money from the state and television companies and whoever has invested that money needs something in return”. However, he insists “there is pleasure in risk-taking. And this can be a mainstream comedy or an experimental film with two characters walking in the countryside in silence”.

The future looks busier than ever for Jaleo, which has four completed films about to be released – Paco Cabezas’s second feature Neon Flesh, Miguel A. Calvo Buttini’s Mapas (“Maps”), Ana Rosa Diego’s Siempre Hay Tiempo (“There’s Always Time”) and Eva Dahr’s The Orange Girl [+see also:
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.

The company also has many projects in different stages of development, including the Africa-set western Kënu; new projects by Paco Baños and Chema Rodríguez; A Meeting in Seville, a comedy written by Paul Mendelsson; an adaptation of Chris Stewart’s book Driving Over Lemons; and Chiqui Carabante’s Lovin' Sherley.

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