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INDUSTRY France / Spain

Seven Spanish projects in Paris with Small is Biútiful

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- On 26 June, French professionals will discover projects from Antonio Méndez Esparza, Fernando Franco, Agusti Villaronga, Elena Trapé, Jordi Roigé, Ione Hernández and Nuria Gago

Seven Spanish projects in Paris with Small is Biútiful
Director Antonio Méndez Esparza (© Álex Abril/Festival de San Sebastián)

On Wednesday 26 June in Paris, Small is Biútiful — organised as a closing event for Dífferent 12! L'autre cinéma espagnol (read the news) by Espagnolas en París and by the Ile-de-France Film Commission — will bring together producers, distributors and French international salespeople around a selection of seven Spanish feature projects of quality and seeking partners. Worth noting, among the films that have gone through this platform, are Carmen & Lola [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Arantxa Echevarría
film profile
]
(Directors’ Fortnight 2018), Sister of Mine [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Pedro Aguilera
film profile
]
(in competition in Rotterdam in 2017), Mimosas [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Oliver Laxe
film profile
]
(Grand Prize winner in Critics’ Week in Cannes 2016), The Bride [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Paula Ortiz
film profile
]
(winner of two Goya awards in 2016), Magical Girl [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carlos Vermut
film profile
]
(winner in San Sebastian in 2014), as well as Staff Only [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Neus Ballús
film profile
]
by Neus Ballús (discovered last February in the Panorama section of the Berlinale).

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Films standing out among this year’s selected projects include Que nadie duerma, which will be the third feature from Antonio Méndez Esparza after Aquí y Allá: Here and There [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Pedro Hernández
film profile
]
(Grand Prize winner in Critics’ Week in Cannes 2012) and Life and Nothing More [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Antonio Méndez Esparza
film profile
]
(revealed in Toronto and in competition at San Sebastian in 2017). The provisional cast features Malena Alterio, for a shoot planned for March 2020. Adapted by the director together with Clara Roquet, from the eponymous novel by Juan José Millás, the script centres on Lucia. The day she loses her job as a computer programmer is also the day when her life will take a decisive turn, perhaps because of a chain of coincidences, or maybe because her destiny was waiting for her. She establishes the fundamental principles of her future existence: she will be a taxi driver and will patiently look out for the opportunity to meet again her missing neighbour, whom she’s fallen in love with… Production is handled by Aquí y Allí Films.

Also at the menu is the project La consagración de la primavera (The Rite of Spring) from Fernando Franco (special jury prize and Silver Shell for Best Actress for Wounded [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Fernando Franco
film profile
]
in San Sebastian, where his following film, Dying [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Fernando Franco
film profile
]
, was also presented in a special screening in 2017). Written by the director, the script centres on Laura, who has just arrived in Madrid to start her studies at the University. She is alone, until she meets David, a boy with cerebral palsy. The two of them will help and complete each other beyond complexes and taboos… Production is handled by Kowalski Films and LaZona Producciones for a shoot planned for April 2020.

Selected as well is the project 3.000 obstáculos from Agustí Villaronga (winner of the Silver Shell for Best Actress in San Sebastian in 2010 with Black Bread [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
— which also won nine Goya awards in 2011 — and in 2015 with The King of Havana [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
; he also made Uncertain Glory [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Agustí Villaronga
film profile
]
in 2017). Written by the director together with Mario Torrecillas, the script focuses on Marisa, a modern and chaotic grandmother who takes care of nine-year-old Edgar and twelve-year-old Robert since the death of her daughter three years prior. Living in a modest house in Cornellà de Llobregat, the trio has no idea that their quiet existence is about to drastically change. Indeed, Marisa has reached an advanced stage of Alzheimer's disease and the two children, who do not want to be separated or moved away, will take care of her with great ingenuity and imagination. To that end, like Robert in his athletics contests, they will have to face more than 3,000 obstacles… Production is handled by Irusoin and the shoot is set to take place in summer 2020.

This edition of Small is Biútiful also includes the project Els encantats (The Enchanted), which will be Elena Trapé’s third feature after Blog [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(revealed in 2010 in San Sebastian in the New Directors section) and Distances [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Elena Trapé
film profile
]
(winner of the best film, best directing, and best actress awards in Malaga in 2017). Written by the director together with Miguel Ibáñez Monroy, the script sees Irene travel to the village of Antist for a few days’ holiday after a recent breakup. There, she meets Didac, a young man who has just recovered from a grave illness. Together, they will learn to face their fears and to begin a new life… Produced by Coming Soon Films, the feature should begin filming in autumn 2020.

Also presented is Vonlenska from Jordi Roigé (Amor col·lateral) which should bring together in its cast Max von Sydow and Peter Vives. Written by Alba Dalmau, the script centres on a girl, a boy, and an old man all living in the same apartment building in Reykjavik, and all going through a period of sadness and loneliness, each having lost a loved one. Their chance meeting will allow their isolation to turn into companionship, friendship, and love… Handled by La Drecera Produccions and Utopia Global, the project already benefits from co-production partners in Czech Republic (Synergia Film) and Iceland (Vintage Pictures). Filming is set to being in January 2020.

Finally, two debut feature projects were selected. Cada 15 días (Every Other Week End) from Ione Hernández (who also penned the script) will feature in its cast Argentinian actor Leonardo Sbaraglia in the role of Pablo, a recently single man carpooling his way from Madrid to Hendaye to spend a first weekend with his eight-years-old daughter Jimena in a cheap hotel. The situation, new to both parties, uncovers all of Pablo’s difficulties in his relationship with his daughter and the consequences she has to face following her parents’ divorce… Produced by Sonora Estudios and co-produced by Ursula Romero, the film should begin filming in February 2020.

Another debut feature: Quiéreme siempre from Nuria Gago, who has adapted her own novel of the same name, and who also features in the film’s provisional cast alongside Inma Cuesta. The script centres on 34-year-old Lu, who is forced to leave Paris and return to her hometown of Barcelona after a breakup, despite her tense relationship with her mother. When Lu arrives, her mother brings her — without asking for her daughter’s opinion on the matter — to Marina, a widow in her eighties who urgently needs someone to take care of her at home… Production is handled by Mapa de canciones AIE (which brings together Sábado Películas and Xoubiña Films) and filming is set to begin in late 2020.

(Translated from French)

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