By John Hopewell, Holly Jones
The Málaga Festival has never been bigger. To help navigate it, as well as Spain’s burgeoning production output, here’s a breakdown of its main section titles.
2022 Malaga Festival Lineup:
“Emperor Code,” (“Código Emperador,” Jorge Coira, Vaca Films, Playtime, Spain)
The Malaga Fest opener, a noirish crime thriller with special services operative Luis Tosar moonlighting for the elite, here trying to dig up the dirt on a young politico. Segueing rapidly to Netflix after an A Contracorriente release in Spain.
“A Mae,” (Cristiano Burlan, Brazil)
The latest from the prolific Brazilian narrative and doc director, maker of euthanasia-themed “Antes do fim,” and 2015’s “Hunger.” In it, a humble street vendor mother searches desperately for her missing son, claiming the right to at least bury his body.
“Almost in Love,” (“Ámame,” Leonardo Brzezicki, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Netherlands)
A father-daughter relationship drama from notable Argentine auteur Brzezicki (“Noche”), backed by top-notch Latin American outfits – Argentina’s Ruda Films, Brazil’s RT Features, Chile’s Quijote- plus Spain’s Vertigo Films, distributor of “Great Freedom” and “Lamb,” and Amsterdam’s Keplerfilm (“Buladó,” “Days of Cannibalism”).
“Beyond the Summit,” (“La Cima,” Ibon Cormenzana, Spain)
Facing personal crisis, a non expert mountaineer Mateo (Javier Rey) attempts to scale the most dangerous of Himalayan peaks, Annapurna. Ione, a professional guide, comes to his aid. A homage to mountaineering, its values of courage, friendship and loyalty, shot in the Pyrenees and Nepal, by one of Spain’s most wide-ranging cineastes, producer-director Ibon Cormenzana. S.A. Filmax
“Cadejo Blanco,” (Justin Lerner, Guatemala, U.S., Mexico)
A young woman infiltrates the “clica” world of Guatemala’s Puerto Barrios to avenge her sister’s disappearance. An edge-of-the-seat thriller world premiering at Toronto and marking the latest standout from Guatemala, with “La Jaula de Oro’s” Karen Martínez delivering a career milestone performance. A competition frontrunner. SA. Film Factory
“Canallas,” (Daniel Guzmán, Spain)
Highly awaited in Spain, Movistar Plus’ second movie production, a scam caper involving three working class ne’er-do-wells, played by Guzmán, Luis Tosar and Joaquín González. The follow-up by Guzmán, an actor-turned writer-director, to his notable debut “Nothing in Return,” best picture at 2015 Malaga winning new director and actor Goyas for Guzmán and lead Miguel Herrán, Rio in “Money Heist.” SA: Film Factory
“The Gigantes,” (Beatriz Sanchis, Mexico, U.S.)
Having made a splash with 2014’s off-beat supernatural family drama “They Are All Dead,” starring Elena Anaya and Nahuel Perez Biscayart and inspired in part by The Day of the Dead, Spain’s Sanchis makes a full transition to Mexico in “The Gigantes,” set in Baja California, and tracing the friendship between an American woman, escaping a tumultuous past, and a 14-year-old Mexican girl runaway. Animal de Luz (“La Laura de Oro”) produces.
“Libre,” (Natural Arpajou, Argentina)
After eight years in jail, Maxi returns home to a Buenos Aires “villa” shanty town but little’s the same. The most independent movie in competition, made by Arpajou with students at her Villa 21 class, film pros and some stars such as Gastón Pauls.
“Lo invisible,” (Javier Andrade, Ecuador, France)
Selected for last year’s 2021 Toronto Festival, a deep dive into severe postpartum depression, which a woman’s family tries to hide, from Ecuador’s Andrade (“52 Seconds”) and co-writer and star Anahi Hoeneisen.
“Lullaby,” (“Cinco Lobitos,”
The debut feature of Alauda Ruiz de Azua, dreamed delivering an “earnest glimpse into the fraught dynamics of cross-generational caregiving,” said Variety, which proved a hit in Panorama at this year’s Berlin. From distinguished young producers Manuel Calvo (“Wounded,” Marisa Fernández Armenteros (Oscar nominated “The Mole Agent”) and Nahikari Ipiña (“Open Windows”). SA: Latido Films
“Mensajes privados,” (Matías Bize, Chile)
Some of Latin America and Spain’s finest actors – Antonia Zegers, Blanca Lewin, Vicenta Ndongo, Alex Brendemühl – talk to the camera, confessing intimate tales with foreseeably the heartrending sincerity which has become a Bize hallmark. The latest film from Bize whose “The Life of Fish” was described by Variety chief critic Peter Debruge as his favourite romance of the last decade.
“My Emptiness and I,” (“Mi vacío y yo,” Adrian Silvestre, Spain)
Rated by some as one of Spain’s standout debuts of recent years, a portrait of young trans woman’s journey towards a sense of self in other than gender terms. Multi-prized at Malaga’s WIP competition last year, bowing to an upbeat critical reception at this year’s Rotterdam Festival.
“Las niñas de cristal,” (Jota Linares, Spain)
A Netflix original tapping into its star system, Maria Pedraza, Guzmán’s fated sister Marina in “Elite,” plays Irene, a classical ballet dancer who replaces the prima ballerina at Spain’s Ballet Clásico Nacional. An early production from Federation Spain, directed by Jota Linares (“Who Would You Take to a Deserted Island?”)
“The Test,” (Dani de la Orden, Spain)
A cash-strapped couple are forced to choose between receiving €100,000 now or €1 million in a decade. Backed by Spanish industry heavyweights Atresmedia Cine, Warner Bros Entertainment España, the latest from Spanish comedy specialist De la Orden (“Mamá o papá”).
“We Won’t Kill Each Other With Guns,” (“Nosotros no ens matarem ama pistolas,” María Ripoll)
After 2019 San Sebastian hit “The Innocence,” Turanga Films’ Lina Badenes and Belén Sánchez at Un Capricho de Producciones re-team on a dramedy from María Ripoll (“Traces of Sandalwood”), a late 20-somethings’ reunion which observes a current generation’s limited prospects and serves as a hymn to friendship. SA: Filmax
“La voluntaria,” (Nely Reguera, Spain)
The second feature from Nely Reguera, whose sharply observed “Maria (And Everybody Else),” was a discovery at the 2016 San Sebastian Festival. In “La Voluntaria,” delivers another portrait of a woman, a retired doctor at a refugee camp played by Carmen Machi, with a desperate need to feel useful.
“Unfinished Affairs,” (“La Maniobra de la Tortuga,” Juan Miguel del Castillo, Spain, Argentina
The second feature by Juan Miguel del Castillo whose debut, 2015’s “Food and Shelter,” proved one of the breakout Spanish debuts of the last decade, a Cadiz-set crime drama from Marta Velasco at Aralan Films, a top Andalusian production outfit.
“What Lucía Saw,” (“Llegaron de noche,” Imanol Uribe, Spain, Colombia)
The extraordinary valor of a cleaning lady (Juana Acosta) who, despite coercion from the CIA and El Salvador government, refuses to back down in her eyewitness account of how the country’s army slaughtered six Jesuit priests. A true-life drama thriller from Spanish industry mainstay Bowfinger, Oscar-laureate Tornasol (“The Secret in Their Eyes”) and double San Sebastian Golden Shell winner, Uribe.
“Utama,” (Alejandro Loayza Grisi, Bolivia, Uruguay)
The Sundance Festival’s top Grand Jury Prize winner this year, a “sublime, quietly elegiac feature debut,” Variety wrote in a review, catching an elderly couple eking out au austere life on the Bolivian Altiplano as their llamas die from dehydration. Rarely have Bolivian films weighed in as competition frontrunners at Malaga. This could be the year. SA: Alpha Violet World Sales
Out of Competition
“Llenos de Gracia,” (Roberto Bueso, Spain)
The latest from Misent and MOD Producciones, producer of Alejandro Amenábar’s “La Fortuna” and “Agora,” and Alejandro González Iñarritu’s “Biutiful,” weighs in here with the Malaga Festival closing film, “Llenos de gracia,” from Valencia’s Roberto Bueso. Carmen Machi (“Criminal: Spain”) plays a nun who starts up a soccer team at an orphanage. A sample of Valencian creative talent and a potential crowd pleaser.
“Alcarrás,” (Carla Simón, Spain)
What was so stunning about Simon’s Golden Bear for Alcarrás was not only the win but that so many critics thought it the best film in main competition by a very large head. “A farming family faces change in a beautifully observed, richly inhabited ensemble drama,” Variety glowed. A must-see at Málaga.
“Camera Café,” (Ernesto Sevilla, Spain)
Part of FilmSharks’ extensive sales and remake rights portfolio, a movie spin off from the Spanish versos of the original French TV series format, reprising the Spanish show’s original cast but set 10 year into the future. SA: FilmSharks.
“Heroes de Barrio,” (Angeles Reiné, 2022)
The second feature of Reiné (“Salir del ropero”), a London Film School alum who has worked in L.A. and TV, directing “Doctor Mateo,” a father-daughter comedy set in a humble working-class Seville district. Distributed by A Contravcorriente Films, a sign of market potential. SA: Latido
“Skin in Flames,” (David Martín-Porras, Spain)
L.A.-based Spanish director Martín Porras (“Unwritten Obsession”) adapts this thriller, starring Oscar Jaenada (“Hernán”) as a morally compromised war photographer, from an award-winning play of the same name. S.A. Film Factory
“Sin ti no puedo,” (Chus Gutiérrez, Spain)
A potentially tense psychological thriller written by Frank Ariza (!Ay, mi madre!”) and Alicia Luna (“Take My Eyes”), headed by two big Mexican stars – Mauricio Ochmann, Maite Perroni – and directed by Chus Gutiérrez (“La novia gitana”). SA: Filmax
“Sinjar,” (Anna Bofarull,” Spain)
A stirring fiction feature portrait of sex slavery under ISIS shot in northern Iraq, based on real life stories. A Cannes Festival Atelier title directed by Barcelona-based Bofarull (Sonata para violonchelo,” “Barcelona 1714”) and co-produced by U.S.-based Genius at Large.
“A Vanishing Fog,” (Augusto Sandino, Colombia, Czech Republic, Norway)
The mystical tale of F, a unique dreamer living amongst the worlds certain collapse while negotiating a relationship with his father and homeland, the remote Páramo de Sumapaz, Colombia, an ominous backdrop for this otherworldly narrative. Pluto Film heads international sales.
“Al Oriente,” (José María Avilés, Ecuador, Argentina)
While working on the construction of a nearby road, Atahualpa is captivated by ancestral lore and sets out to uncover the rumored treasures buried nearby. Distributed by Vitrine Films.
“Dúo,” (Meritxell Colell, Spain)
In an attempt to rekindle the fire in their relationship, Mónica and Colate reunite to dance together once more and find that no matter how you try, sometimes love isn’t enough to keep two people together. Director, Meritxell Colell, was selected for the Cannes Cinéfondation Atelier to develop her previous feature “Con El Viento” (2018).
“Isosceles,” (Ignacio Nacho, Spain)
Two estranged friends reunite at a farmhouse for a thrilling night, finding out they’ve both been admiring the same woman. The dark comedy sees the characters come to grips with the situation in close quarters, sheer torment ensues. Theater and acting alum turned director, Ignacio Nacho, most recently garnered praise for his performance in La Mancha Negra, securing the 2021 ASECAN Award for Best New Actor.
“Libélulas,” (Luc Knowles, Spain)
A delicate story of youth at the precipice, Alex and Cata dream of a life outside of their hometown. Down on their luck with nothing to lose, they rely on one another to keep hope alive while waiting on the future to take hold. The first feature film for director Luc Knowles, produced by Clapham Films with Begin Again securing distribution.
“Lugares A Los Que Nunca Hemos Ido,” (Roberto Pérez Toledo, Spain)
Individual plotlines seamlessly mingle in this film that exposes adulthood and the relationships we obtain and lose throughout. A woman runs into an old flame, a wife succumbs to temptation, a flirtation gets serious and an unusual party brings two people together in an examination of love and its boundaries. Produced by Deep Entertainment SL.
“Mostro,” (José Pablo Escamilla, Mexico)
An euphoric and provocative peek into the lives of two teenagers looking for escape as they get high and reminisce. When that high is pierced by Alexandra’s disappearance, Lucas is forced to grapple with the realities at play. A daunting commentary on police corruption, friendship, and the madness that lurks under the surface. Distribution and International sales to Compañía de Cine.
“Tiempos Futuros,” (V.Checa, Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, Spain)
Amidst an eternal drought in their city, Teo and his father Luis work tirelessly on a rain machine until Teo encounters a few young spies that ask for his help and begins to doubt his fathers true intentions for the device. A wondrous romp through high-imagination and intrigue. World sales through Outsider Pictures.
“Una Película Póstuma,” (Sigfrid Monleón, Spain)
Unconditional love is on offer as a man embarks on a treacherous and heartfelt journey from his city to a remote mountaintop community to convene with his long lost love. Guided by locals, his will is steadfast as he traverses forests to be by her side once more. Production and international sales headed up by Malas Compañías.
News Source: Variety.com