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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Spain

Carlota Pereda shooting her second feature, La ermita

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- The Piggy director has now enlisted the talents of Belén Rueda, who stars in this sinister fable about loss and motherhood, which unfolds in two, distant time periods

Carlota Pereda shooting her second feature, La ermita
Actress Belén Rueda and director Carlota Pereda on the set of La ermita (© David Herranz)

24 October saw the start of the eight-week shoot for La ermita (lit. “The Hermitage”), the new film by Carlota Pereda, following her feature debut, Piggy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carlota Pereda
film profile
]
, which was presented at festivals such as Sundance and San Sebastián, as well as being in the running for six Feroz Awards, one Forqué and six Goyas (including Best New Director).

With a screenplay penned by Albert Bertran Bas, Carmelo Viera and the director herself, Pereda’s new foray into horror, which is being shot in the Basque Country and Navarre, stars one of the true queens of the genre, Belén Rueda (The Orphanage [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Julia’s Eyes [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, The Body [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), who steps into the shoes of a medium tormented by her past. She is joined by fellow performers Maia Zaitegi (who is making her acting debut at the tender age of eight), Josean Bengoetxea (whom we saw not long ago in Ilargi Guztiak. Todas las lunas [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Igor Legarreta
film profile
]
), Loreto Mauleón (Los renglones torcidos de Dios [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), Jon Olivares (Patria [+see also:
series review
series profile
]
), Elena Irureta (Sin ti no puedo [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) and Nagore Aranburu (Ane Is Missing [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: David Pérez Sañudo
film profile
]
, Official Competition [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Irati [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
).

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The plot tells of how Emma (played by Maia Zaitegi) wants to learn how to communicate with the spirit of a girl who has been trapped in a hermitage for centuries, and to that end, she tries to persuade Carol (Rueda), a sceptical medium, to help her. Making contact in this way will allow her to maintain a link with her sick mother once she has passed away. What the woman does not suspect is that the girl really does possess a genuine, unique gift and that if she carries on trying to use it without her assistance, she will be putting her own life in danger.

“When producer Laura Fernández suggested the story of La ermita to me, we hadn’t yet filmed Piggy, but there was something in the screenplay that struck a chord with me and that tied in strongly with my experience as a daughter and a mother, and I decided to develop it with them,” the filmmaker states. “So it’s a very personal tale. I’m working once again with my closest team members, who have been accompanying me since forever, just like family, and we’re not embarrassed to expose ourselves or show our vulnerabilities. Because this is a ghost story, but it’s also one about how difficult it is to be a mother and a daughter, and how sometimes we don’t manage to see eye to eye until we’re grown-ups,” Pereda sums up.

There are almost 1,200 extras involved in the shoot, and it draws inspiration from the so-called “birdmen”: plague doctors in the 17th century who were completely cut off from the rest of society, hidden behind unsettling masks and long tunics, and carrying sharpened canes to protect themselves from patients and avoid getting infected. This starting point then spawned a fable that swings back and forth between the past and the present, between suspense and the fantastical, as it explores topics such as the love between a mother and a child, death, and making peace with ourselves and with those around us.

La ermita is being staged by Filmax in co-production with Bixagu Entertainment, and it boasts the involvement of Netflix, RTVE and EiTB. It is being funded by the ICAA and the European Union–NextGeneration, while it has also secured support from Creative Europe – MEDIA. Its Spanish distribution and international sales have been entrusted to Filmax.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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