11 items from 2015
Mexican Rodrigo Pla’s “A Monster With A Thousand Heads,” which bowed at Morelia Saturday, suggests a new urgency and acerbity in Latin American filmmaking.
Fruit of one of most productive relationships in Latin American cinema – four features, children – it is written by wife Laura Santullo, and based on her same-titled novel. Acquired by Paris-based Memento Films Intl. for world sales, “Monster” is “an intimate thriller,” said Pla. That thriller element kicks in almost from the get-go when a woman visits the cubicled offices of a medical insurance corporation one Friday afternoon in a desperate attempt to persuade it to include in her insurance policy costly drugs her dying husband needs. Given the brush-off, she corners the doctor supervising her case in an underground parking lot, follows him back to his chalet, and pulls a semi-automatic.
Tightly-wound as Sonia works her way up the corporate ladder, at pistol-point, her discoveries »
- John Hopewell
Madrid –Madrid-based Plano a Plano, Spain’s highest-rating indie TV production house, is teaming with French prodco MakingProd, part of the Makever group, to develop “Salazar,” an epic thriller. Based on true events, the historical limited series turns on a real-life, though totally forgotten hero: Inquisitor Alonso de Salazar, called the Witches’ Advocate.
Plano a Plano’s first move into international co-production is an early milestone for the Madrid-based producer, headed by the creative tandem of Cesar Benitez, an experienced, highly-respected producer – of hit comedy features, such as 1995 “Boca a Boca,” starring a young hunky Javier Bardem, pioneering teen soap “Al salir de clase, and long-running cop series “El Comisario” – and seasoned writer-producer Aitor Gabilondo, a scribe on “El comisario” and now creator-writer of Plano a Plano’s door-opening hit “El Principe.”
Few companies in Spain have grown so fast. Founded in 2010, Plano a Plano is already celebrating having produced »
- John Hopewell
“Money makes the world go ‘round,” is one of the baldest truths ever expressed in a Kander and Ebb lyric, and the cynical takeaway of “Happy 140.” Spanish helmer Gracia Querejeta’s blackly comic melodrama follows the winner of a 140 million euro lottery and the frenemies she invites to a luxurious Canary Islands hideaway where she plans to divulge her happy news. With a high-concept script that is ripe for a remake and a cast of well-known Spanish thesps, the glossy-looking pic should continue making the festival rounds but isn’t special enough overall to breakout of the Spanish-lingo ghetto.
To mark her 40th birthday, pretty but high-strung veterinarian Elia (Maribel Verdu) cajoles her old gang to get together, at her expense. She has several hidden agendas for the party, but so, too, as it turns out, do her guests. They include her docile sister Cati (Marian Alvarez), and her wife-beating »
- Alissa Simon
As announced at Cannes, Buena Vista Intl. has acquired most of South America plus Latin American TV/VOD rights.
The Disney-distribbed “No Kids” has sold about 500,000 admissions in Argentina, said Guido Rud at FilmSharks Intl., which is handling world sales.
“No Kids” has sold to Brazil’s Paris Filmes, and has also closed deals in Mexico (Corazon Films), Greece (Tanwee), Chile Peru, Ecuador (Cinecolor), Colombia (Procinal) and Central America/Caribbean (Palmera Films). Syldavia Films released recently “No Kids” in Spain to €220,000 B.O. ($226,000).
The film has Argentine Diego Peretti (“The German Doctor”) playing a divorcee who only thinks about looking after his daughter until he meets the love of his life (Spain’s Maribel Verdu, “Y tu mama tambien”). Trouble is, »
- John Hopewell
Fortissimo Films has acquired international sales rights to Paula Ortiz’s Spanish epic tragedy “La novia” (“The Bride”), which world preems at the upcoming San Sebastian Film Fest’s Zabaltegi sidebar.
A free adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s acclaimed stage play “Blood Wedding,” “The Bride” transposes to the white desert of Turkey’s Cappadocia the tragic story of the illicit, passionate love triangle between a bride who abandons her groom, unable to ignore her growing desire for her lover Leonardo. They escape into the forest pursued by the groom, who seeks violent revenge.
The feature debut of Get in the Picture Productions, a Barcelona-based outfit launched in 2012 by partners Paula Ortiz, Alex Lafuente and Rosana Tomas, “The Bride” is co-produced with Spain’s Rec Films, »
- Emiliano De Pablos
'Everest' 2015, with Jake Gyllenhaal at the Venice Film Festival. What global warming? Venice Film Festival 2015 jury: Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón president The 2015 Venice Film Festival, to be held Sept. 2–12, has announced the members of its three main juries: Venezia 72, Horizons, and the Luigi De Laurentiis Award for Best Debut Film. In case you're wondering, “Why Venezia 72”? Well, the simple answer is that this is the 72nd edition of the festival. Looking at the lists below, you'll notice that, as usual, Europeans dominate the award juries. The only two countries from the Americas represented are the U.S. and Mexico, and here and there you'll find a sprinkling of Asian film talent. Golden Lion jury The Golden Lion – Venezia 72 Competition – jury is comprised by the following: Jury President Alfonso Cuarón, the first Mexican national to take home the Best Director Academy Award (for the Sandra Bullock-George Clooney »
- Anna Robinson
Marbella, Spain – Damian Szifron’s Oscar-nominated and Cannes competition player “Wild Tales” swept the 2nd Platino Awards for Latin American Cinema winning eight kudos in all, including best picture, director, screenplay, music (Gustavo Santaolalla) and actress, Erica Rivas, the scorned bride in the final short).
Best picture was accepted by Agustin Almodovar and Hugo Sigman who exhorted a larger collaboration between Iberoa-American film agencies to create a cinema in Latinn America, Spain and Portugal with greater international reach.
Presented by Spanish actor Imanol Arias, Mexican actress-singer Alessandra Rosario and CNN presenter Juan Carlos Arciniegas, the awards proved a triumphal march for “Wild Tales.” Of major plaudits, only best actor went elsewhere, – to Spain’s Oscar Jaenada for his performance as the great Mexican comic in “Cantinflas,” a performance so convincing that it won over most Mexicans and went on to become the second highest-grossing foreign film in the U.S. »
- John Hopewell
Madrid – “3Lorca3,” a directorial three-hander from Luis Miñarro, Roberto Gaston and Karim Ainouz, Fernando Franco’s “Morir” and “11247,” one of the latest projects from Academy Award winners Tornasol and Haddock Films, will be presented at 2015’s Small is Biutiful, a prestige Paris co-production forum for Spanish films.
Organized by Espagnolas en Paris and the Ile de France Film Commission, and backed by Cannes’ Marché du Film – a powerful combo – Small is Biutiful forms part of Different! The Other Spanish Cinema, firmly established as the major Spanish film fest/industry event in Paris. Now in its eighth edition, it serves as a significant industry corridor between edgier indie projects in Spain and France’s art-house/crossover industry, by far the largest in Europe.
Different8! kicks off June 12 with Rendez-vous a l’Opera!, a Spanish film sales event attended this year by a record 44 French distribution execs, plus the sales agents – Film Factory, »
- John Hopewell
'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' poster. With Daniel Radcliffe. Rupert Grint. Emma Watson. 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' quiz question: Does state-of-the-art CGI equal movie magic? (Oscar Movie Series) Alfonso Cuarón seems like an odd choice for director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third installment in the Harry Potter movie series. That is, if one thinks only of Cuarón's pre-Harry Potter sleeper hit, the François Truffaut-esque Y tu mamá también, while ignoring two of his earlier efforts, the critically acclaimed A Little Princess and the moderately respected Great Expectations. This time around, working with a reported $130 million budget (approx. $163 million in 2015), state-of-the-art special effects, and the Harry Potter franchise, Cuarón surely could do no wrong. At the box office, that is. For although Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is stylistically superior to Chris Columbus' previous work in the series, »
- Andre Soares
"Vicente Aranda, the Spanish film director, screenwriter and producer has died aged 88," reports Jessica Jones for the Local. "One of the director’s most internationally acclaimed films was Amantes [Lovers, 1991] a film noir that follows the passionate affair between a young man and an older woman, played by Jorge Sanz and Victoria Abril, behind the back of his innocent young girlfriend (Maribel Verdú). The film won best film and best director at the Goya’s, Spain’s most prestigious film awards and almost immediately became a modern classic of Spanish cinema." We're gathering remembrances. » - David Hudson »
Buena Vista Intl. has taken all Latin American rights to comedy “No Kids” (Sin Hijos), teaming Patagonik and Spain’s Tornasol Films, producers of the highest-grossing Argentine movies at the country’s theaters in 2008 (“The Boyfriend of My Wife”), 2009 (“The Secret of Their Eyes”), 2010 (“Just Like Me”) and 2012 (“2 + 2”).
The Patagonik-produced “Volley,” which is sold by FilmSharks and helmed by Martin Piroyasky, has been acquired for U.S. distribution by HBO. “Volley” generated more than 100,000 admissions in Argentina.
“No Kids” stars Maribel Verdu (“Y tu mama tambien”) and Diego Peretti (“The German Doctor”); Ariel Winograd (“Cheese Head,” “My First Wedding”) directs. Guido Rud’s FilmSharks Intl., the sales agent on multiple films by the Disney-backed Patagonik, will bring “No Kids” onto the international market at Cannes.
“No Kids” bows May 14 in Argentina. Peretti plays a man who, four years after divorce, thinks only about looking after his daughter until he meets »
- John Hopewell
11 items from 2015
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