Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño & Jose Mari Goenaga Sign with The Gotham Group

Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga are heading to the big leagues…

The Spanish directing trio, whose acclaimed film The Endless Trench is representing Spain in this year’s Oscar race, have signed with The Gotham Group.

Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño & Jose Mari Goenaga

Set at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the film chronicles three decades of a country engulfed by fascism.

The film premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival last year and Netflix acquired the global rights shortly after; the streamer debuted the film in the U.S. on November 6.

It received 15 Goya nominations, winning Best Director and the Jury Prize for Best Screenplay.

Arregi, Garaño and Goenaga have been working together for 15 years through their company Moriarti; this is the first time they have co-directed as a trio.

Their previous credits include Handia, which won 10 Goyas, and Loreak (Flowers), which was Spain’s entry for the 2016 Oscars.

They are now developing their English-language debut, which Gotham will launch to buyers in 2021.

Luis López Carrasco’s “The Year of Discovery” Wins Top Prize at Mar del Plata International Film Festival

Luis López Carrasco is celebrating his big Discovery

The 39-year-old Spanish filmmaker took home the Best International Film prize for his documentary The Year of the Discovery (El año del descubrimiento) on Sunday at Argentina’s Mar del Plata International Film Festival, the only Latin American film fest granted a Category A status by producers association FIAPF, placing it in the same league as the Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival and Locarno Film Festival, among others.

Luis López Carrasco

Due to the restraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival hosted an online edition and offered free access to all Argentine residents.

 

Carrasco’s sophomore feature follows his debut film El Futuro, which premiered at Locarno and collected numerous awards on the festival circuit.

The Year of the Discovery portrays the flipside of 1992 Spain, which celebrated hosting the 1992 Barcelona Games and the World Expo in Seville while in Murcia, south-east Spain, enraged workers from the naval, mining and chemical sectors where companies were shut down, battled alongside students against the police, culminating with the launch of Molotov cocktails that set fire to the regional government’s Parliament.

In a video call from Spain, a grateful López Carrasco dedicated the award to his parents and brother “for being the people who most taught me how to listen.”

Colombian Camilo Restrepo’s Los Conductos won the best film prize in the festival’s Latin American competition. Winner of last year’s Mar del Plata Work in Progress competition, Los Conductos marks an attempt to explore Colombia’s civil conflicts with a style outside the canons of social realism as it follows a man in his attempts to flee from a sect and the trauma that still haunts him.

Maria Alvarez’s The Lost Time (El Tiempo Perdido) trounced a strong lineup in the Argentine competition, which included notable titles like Esquirlas, The History of the Occult and Las Ranas, to nab the best Argentine film prize.

In The Lost Time, a group of now aged friends find new and personal meaning in Marcel Proust’s seven-volume novel In Search of Lost Time at each of the 18 years they have gathered at a Buenos Aires bar to discuss it.

“In this online edition, more than 200,000 people saw the films we have programmed, and on YouTube, more than 180,000 people followed our events, so I congratulate the public who have known how to adapt to our circumstances,” said festival president Fernando Juan Lima at the online closing ceremony. “We miss the City of Mar del Plata and its movie theaters, but we are going to return,” he declared.

“We celebrate [the festival’s] continuity even with the challenges that the pandemic has imposed on us,” concurred festival artistic director Cecilia Barrionuevo. The festival paid homage to filmmaker-politician Fernando ‘Pino’ Solanas, Argentine actress-writer-director Maria Luisa Bemberg and, naturally, Argentina’s greatest hero, soccer star Diego Maradona, who died Nov. 25 from heart failure.

Augusto Costa, minister of production, science, and technological innovation, also announced that Mar del Plata would be the site of the fifth regional headquarters of Argentine film school, Enerc.

“From the government and from the ministry, we reaffirm our absolute commitment to the festival and to the audiovisual industry of the province,” said Costa.

2020 MAR DEL PLATA ASTOR PIAZZOLLA PRIZES

OFFICIAL INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

BEST FILM
“The Year of the Discovery,” (Luis López Carrasco, Spain, Switzerland)

BEST DIRECTOR
Matías Piñeiro, (“Isabella,” Argentina)

BEST PERFORMANCE
María Villar, (“Isabella,” Argentina)

BEST SCREENPLAY

Nicolás Prividera, (“A Farewell to Memory,” Argentina)

SPECIAL JURY
“Moving On,” (Yoon Dan-bi, Korea)

LATIN AMERICAN COMPETITION

BEST FILM
“Los Conductos,” (Camilo Restrepo, Colombia, Brazil, France)

SPECIAL MENTION
“Mascarados,” (Marcela Borela and Henrique Borela, Brazil)

SPECIAL MENTION
“Fauna,” (Nicolás Pereda, Mexico)

BEST SHORT
“Correspondence,” (Dominga Sotomayor and Carla Simón, Chile)

ARGENTINE COMPETITION

BEST FILM
“The Lost Time,” (María Álvarez, Argentina)

SPECIAL MENTION
“Las Ranas,” (Edgardo Castro, Argentina)

BEST SHORT
“Homage to the Work of Philip Henry Gosse,” (Pablo Martín Weber)

BEST DIRECTOR
“Esquirlas,” (Natalia Garayalde, Argentina)

ALTERNATE STATES

BEST FILM
“My Dear Spies,” (Vladimir Léon, France)

SPECIAL MENTION
“Heliconia,” (Paula Rodríguez Polanco, France, Colombia)

WORK IN PROGRESS

BEST PROJECT
“Morichales,” (Chris Gude, Colombia, U.S.)

BEST LATIN AMERICAN DEBUT FILM, YOUNG CRITICS PRIZE
“History of the Occult,” (Cristian Ponce, Argentina)

Spain Submits Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño & Jose Mari Goenaga’s “The Endless Trench” in the International Oscar Race

Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga’s names have been thrown into the Oscar race…

Spain has submitted period epic The Endless Trench, directed by the trio of Spanish filmmakers, as its contender for the 2021 International Oscar prize.

The Endless Trench

The film premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival last year and Netflix swooped in to acquire its global rights shortly after; the streamer will debut the film in the U.S. on November 6.

The film spans three decades beginning at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, chronicling a country taken by fascism.

It was nominated for 15 Goyas, Spain’s national cinema awards, winning two: best actress for Belén Cuesta and Best Sound.

The deadline for International Oscar submissions is December 1. The shortlist for the International Oscar will be unveiled on February 9 and nominations will be announced March 15, before the 2021 Academy Awards on April 25.

Penelope Cruz Receives Donostia Award at San Sebastian Film Festival

Penelope Cruzis being heralded in her home country…

The 45-year-old Oscar-winning Spanish actress has received San Sebastian Film Festival‘s biggest honor, the Donostia Award.

Penelope Cruz

Cruz was given the prize — which had been announced in May — over the weekend during a gala ceremony in a surprise presentation by her close friend, U2lead singerBono, who praised Cruz for her film roles and her off-screen concern for humanity.

“Penélope’s life on the screen fascinates me because it is a family drama,” he said. “Artists like us, like me, get lost in our own selves. Penelope gets lost in others. That’s why we get lost in her.” 

Upon accepting the award, Cruz spoke out against domestic violence against women in Spain and around the world.

“So far this year, 44 women have been murdered by gender-based violence in our country, and since 2003 more than a thousand. How many women are being murdered around the world?”, she asked. “I hope that when a woman finds the superhuman strength she needs to tell what she is going through in such a situation, she will be heard at first and not when it is too late.”

Cruz dedicated the award to her parents, her children and husband, fellow actor Javier Bardem, and three directors she has worked with: Pedro AlmodóvarBigas Lunaand Fernando Trueba.

Cruz is the youngest actress to receive the Donostia prize, three of which are awarded each year.

Greek director Costa-Gavrasand Canadian actor Donald Sutherlandwere named winners of the honor earlier in the week at the festival in the northern Spanish seaside resort town. Cruz won the best actress Oscar in 2008 for her role in Woody Allen‘s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, becoming the first Spanish actress to win an Academy Award.

Benjamín Naishtat Signs with United Talent Agency (UTA)

Benjamín Naishtat is going global…

The 32-year-old Argentinian writer and director has signed with United Talent Agency (UTA) in all areas.

Benjamín Naishtat

Born in Buenos Aires, Naishtat is best known for creating experimental and fictional shorts centered on historical and societal complexities. He has made a name for himself on the global film circuit: His first feature, History of Fear played at the Berlin Film Festival, and it won the Best Film Award at the Jeonju International Film Festival.

Additionally, he wrote and directed The Movement, which participated in the Cineasti del Presente section of the Locarno Film Festival.

His most recent film Rojo made its world premiere earlier this year at the Toronto International Film Festival in the Platform section; it t was also an official selection at the San Sebastián Film Festival where it won the Silver Shell for Best Director.

Teaser Clip Released for Penelope Cruz & Javier Bardem’s Pablo Escobar-Themed Film “Loving Pablo”

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem are sharing the Loving

The 43-year-old Spanish actress and her 48-year-old actor-husband have shared the first clip of their latest film, Loving Pablo.

Penelope Cruz & Javier Bardem in Loving Pablo

Directed and written by Fernando Leon de Aranoa, the story is based on the book Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar by Virginia Vallejo, the Colombian journalist who had a volatile affair with drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Bardem and Cruz play the lovers.

It’s a reteam for Bardem and De Aranoa after 2002’s Goya-winning Mondays In The Sun. Bardem says it took him quite a while to get Loving Pablo together. “I was attracted to playing Pablo Escobar, for many years now. It was around 1998 that I started to be intrigued by this character as a person. And since then I’ve been offered other Escobar roles, but I always refused them because there wasn’t any feeling beyond a stereotype.”

The story chronicles the rise and fall of Escobar and his relationship with Vallejo throughout a reign of terror that tore a country apart. Peter Sarsgaard also stars.

Bardem elaborates, “I think one of the themes that we are working with is what the word ‘enough’ means. Enough of wanting to get some place, wanting to have more, wanting to be better, bigger, stronger, and what kind of effect it has on a person’s mind when there is never enough. For Pablo, nothing was ever enough, he always wanted more and he had all of the resources and the tools to become stronger and more powerful. That will eventually destroy a person’s mind.”

The unravelling of Escobar’s relationship to the people in his life is key to the film. “That’s why it’s called Loving Pablo,” says Bardem, “because this movie is through Virginia’s eyes but also it’s through all the eyes of all of those who loved Pablo Escobar on a personal level and envied and admired him also as a savior. Our movie is about what happened when they ultimately discover what kind of a person he really is and the world that will leave behind.”

Although Cruz says she’s never met Vallejo, she has “studied about 800 hours of various interviews and shows that she did as a journalist and TV presenter. She is the one that trained Escobar and taught him how to use the media to communicate, how to deal with the press, how to address the public. In his political career, she became a significant figure.”

Cruz adds: “When you portray a character like Virginia, I can’t judge her or justify her. I have the feeling she didn’t know quite what she was getting into. As an actor, I just have to try to understand what was going through her mind when she made some of those decisions. After a while, when she wanted to get out of that relationship, she couldn’t, and that affected her life in so many different ways. There were some scenes that were very hard-core, very hard to play because you had to go to those places. And for me, it was important that this movie was not glamorizing the world of the Narco. I feel like some of those scenes have to leave you with pain in your stomach. It cannot be a gratuitous violence. I think that our film has accomplished that.”

Loving Pablo will have its world premiere next week at the Venice Film Festival. It will also screen at the San Sebastian Film Festival where it’s the closing-night pic.

Camara Wins Best Actor Award at San Sebastian Film Festival

Javier Camara is having a Shell of an awards season…

The 48-year-old Spanish actor picked up the Silver Shell for Best Actor at the San Sebastian Film Festival, alongside co-winner Ricardo Darin.

Javier Camara

Camara and Darin won the double Silver Shell for their starring roles in Cesc Gay’s Truman, which was the most-applauded prize of the evening.

The film centers on Tomás (Camara), who returns to his hometown Madrid in order to convince his childhood friend Julian (Darin), whom he hasn’t spoken to in years, to continue his chemotherapy treatment.

Darin, a favorite at San Sebastian, quoted a tweet about the film that said, in Spanish: “at 23 I went to see a film about death and I think I learned everything about life.”

Meanwhile, Yordanka Ariosa took home the Silver Shell for Best Actress for her performance in The King of Havana, Agusti Villaronga‘s adaptation of the Pedro Juan Gutierrez novel.

It was a surprise win for the previously unknown Ariosa, who beat out Freeheld´s Oscar-tipped powerhouse Julianne Moore and Ellen Page.

In addition to the official awards, San Sebastian offered coveted cash prizes for competitions from many of the sidebars.

Argentinean filmmaker Santiago Mitre’s Paulina won the €35,000 cash prize that goes with the Horizontes Award for Latin American films.

Spanish filmmaker Asier Altuna’s Amama won the Irizar Basque Film Award with €20,000, given to a film with 20 percent financing from the local region. 

Brazilian director Eliane Caffe’s The Cambridge Squatter won the Films in Progress top prize, which awards post-production financing to a nearly finished film, in addition to a spot at the festival next year.

Larrain’s “The Club” Selected as Chile’s Bid for the Oscar’s Foreign Film Category

Pablo Larrain is Chile’s choice for Oscar glory once again…

Pablo Larrain

The 39-year-old Chilean filmmaker and former Oscar nominee’s latest film, The Club, has been selected as the nation’s bid for the Academy AwardsBest Foreign Language Film category, the Chilean Minister of Culture Ernesto Ottone has announced.

At the official send-off for the delegation that will attend the San Sebastian Film Festival, Ottone also announced Maite Alberdi’s documentary Tea Time will be the candidate for the Spanish Goya Awards.

A gripping portrait of four former priests who live secluded in a cabin as a punishment for their past sins, Larrain’s film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year.

 

One of Chile’s most renowned directors today, Larrain’s previous film No, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, grabbed a Foreign Language nomination in 2013. Before that, his film Tony Manero was Chile’s entry in 2008, but it failed to get a nomination.

Garcia Bernal also stars in Larrain’s upcoming Neruda, about the political persecution of Chile’s renowned poet and left-wing senator Pablo Neruda, played by Luis Gnecco.

His next project, the Jackie Kennedy biopic Jackie, starring Natalie Portman, will be produced by Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin, and Chile’s Fabula, lead by Larrain’s brother Juan De Dios.

“What is relevant now is that we have two Chilean films that have already been awarded abroad, and they are aiming to secure a nomination for these academies,” said Ottone. “These awards are an important platform to make local productions visible, as they are creating a unique mark. So, we congratulate their creative teams for proposing new ways to see today’s Chilean society, both from an intimate perspective in Tea Time, and from the social questioning The Club suggests,” he added.

Amenabar’s “Regression” to Open the San Sebastian Film Festival

Alejandro Amenabar latest project will have its world premiere at one of the most important cinema festivals in the world.

The 43-year-old Spanish-Chilean director’s Regression will open the 63rd annual San Sebastian Film Festival as part of its world premiere.

Alejandro Amenabar

“The world premiere of the film, presented in the Official Selection out of competition, will take place on September 18 in the Kursaal Auditorium,” the festival’s official website announced on Friday.

Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, David Thewlis and David Dencik star in the psychological thriller, following in the path he forged with favorites like The Others and Open Your Eyes.

The story focuses on a detective, played by Hawke, who is investigating the claims of a young woman, Watson, who has accused her father, played by Dencik, of a crime that he has no recollection of committing.

When the father unexpectedly admits his guilt, a renowned psychologist, David Thewlis, is brought in to help the father rediscover his apparently repressed memories.

Regression is an English-language film shot in Canada, and will hit select cinemas just a few weeks after its screening in San Sebastian.

Regression will open in Spain on October 2 followed by key territories, including Germany, the UK, France, Italy, China and Korea later this fall. The remaining worldwide releases will take place in the months to follow,” the announcement added.

Rondón’s “Pelo Malo” Chosen as Part of the Global Lens Films Series

Mariana Rondón is having a good (bad) hair day…

The Venezuelan cinema director, screenwriter and producer’s latest film.

Pero Malo

Pelo Malo (Bad Hair) has been chosen as one of the Global Film Initiative’s 10 films from around the world for its 2014 Global Lens Films Series, which is distributed by the New York-based FilmRise.

Rondón’s Pelo Malo, which she wrote and directed, is one of 10 titles being added to the 96-title GFI library, whose exclusive distribution rights FilmRise, headed by CEO Danny Fisher, acquired last year.

The dramatic film, which won the Golden Shell award at the 61st San Sebastian Film Festival, centers on a nine-year-old boy’s preening obsession with straightening his hair, eliciting a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother.

In addition to Pelo Malo, the lineup that includes Turkey’s 11’e 10 kala (10 to 11) and Babamin sesi (Voice of My Father), India’s Chitra Sutram (The Image Threads), Armenia’s Yerku ashkharhic i hishatak (From Two Worlds as a Keepsake), Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Halimin put (Halima’s Path), Rwanda’s Imbabazi (The Pardon), Morocco’s Wadaan Carmen (Adios Carmen), Cameroon’s Ninah’s Dowry and Egypt’s La Moakhza (Excuse My French).

Over the past 10 years, the Global Film Initiative has provided grants and distribution support for the Global Lens series, which supports filmmakers in the developing world by providing programming for festivals, libraries, cultural institutions, schools and art house cinemas throughout North America.

“We are excited to leverage our partnership with FilmRise as we continue our work to present the very best of world cinema as a means of promoting cross-cultural understanding,” Susan Weeks Coulter, founder and board chair of the Global Film Initiative, said