Motherhood, Spain’s Tumultuous History, Destiny, Co-Existence: Issues and Talents in Malaga Goes to Cannes Titles 

Spain’s Festival de Málaga, through its industry arm Mafiz (Málaga Festival Industry Zone), heads to the Cannes Marché du Film with five works-in-progress from burgeoning Andalusian talent.

“The Malaga Festival wants to support the completion of these works and make their international distribution viable,” commented Malaga head of industry, Annabelle Aramburu.

This year, as Cannes more broadly celebrates Spain, the event curates two titles that tackle its tumultuous history and one which takes audiences on an unconventional road trip questioning the biological clock alongside narratives that dissect the minutiae of new forms of co-existing and the baffling concept of destiny.

The second edition of Málaga Goes to Cannes takes place on Monday May 22.

“Alone In The Night,” (Guillermo Rojas)

A wry take on the eve of Feb. 23, 1981 when an attempted coup in Spain threatened its young democracy, profoundly changing the lives of the protagonists, an ensemble cast that includes Pablo Gómez-Pando (“Los Inocentes”), Andrea Carballo and Beatriz Arjona of “Cable Girls,” Félix Gómez (“Heirs”) and Jacinto Bobo (“Una Vez Mas”).

Written and directed by Rojas and produced by Rojas alongside Laura Hojman at Summer Films (“Callejeras”) and top Andalusian producer Olmo Figueredo (“The Endless Trench”) the project took part in Spain’s 2020 Europa Creativa Media Desk Sevilla and Promercat Valencia in 2022.

“February 23, 1981 was a tough and uncertain moment for an entire country, a day for the history books. Unforgettable and unique. But, above all, a difficult night for love,” Rojas told Variety. “That day, like other famous historical dates such as 9/11, the day Kennedy was assassinated, the arrival of man on the Moon or when Spain won the World Cup, is memorable for all those who lived through it.’”

“Animal/Human,” (Alessandro Pugno)

Pugno’s feature follows the life of a boy living in the plains of Pada who dreams of becoming a bullfighter while tying in the trajectory of a calf raised in Andalusian prairies, destined to become a fighting bull. Their lives gently play out, urging them towards predetermined futures.

The project picked up best screenplay at the 2015 Solinas Awards, took part in Márgenes Lab and was selected for both Cologne and Malaga screenings. In 2020, ICAA named it one of the ten most promising projects in development.

Written by Pugno and Natacha Kucic, the feature’s produced by Jose Alba at Pecado Films (“A La Cara”), a top Andalusian product outfit,  and stars Guillermo Bedward (“The Outlaws”) and Antonio Dechent (“Intacto”) with an appearance by Brontis Jodorowsky (“Endless Poetry”).

“Animal/Human is my first fiction film. In it, I ponder what human means, what animal means, and if we’re really so different,” stated Pugno. “In the footage, a game of mirrors, echoes and references is created between two characters: Matteo, the boy, and Fandango, the bull. They both grow up in very different worlds, but their lives are a mirror. And as in an ancient Greek tragedy, at the end of this story, they’re destined to play the role assigned to them by fate.”

“Caleta Palace,” (José Antonio Hergueta) 

The film sets its sights on the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War, recreating narratives from the testimonies of onlookers who documented the unrest from their hotel, the film’s namesake, which was a meeting point for international correspondents, writers and spies. Eight actors come together to interpret the stories in a project that mimics documentary and vividly captures Málaga’s fall.

“Málaga was cosmopolitan and attracted the gaze of foreigners, writers and journalists so fascinated and ‘touched’ by what they saw that they quickly documented it, leaving us with an unprecedented look at what a civil conflict is: Pain and a subtlety surrounding the confrontation between humans,” Hergueta told Variety.

The project participated in Sources 2, the former European script development program, and was produced by Hergueta’s MLK Producciones (“Mar De Plastico”) with the participation of public broadcasters Canal Sur and TVE. Written by Hergueta and Regina Alvarez, the film stars Pedro Casablanc (“B”) and Feroz award-winners Miguel Rellán (“Spanish Shame”) and Nadia De Santiago (“The Time It Takes”).

On The Go, (María Gisèle Royo, Julia de Castro)

Royo and de Castro present their film “On The Go,” a fantastical road movie that follows Milagros, 37, as she rethinks motherhood. Joined by her friend Jonathan, who’s nursing a Grindr addiction, the two take off on a cerebral, music-filled journey.

“Our opposite and complementary personalities emerged in a creative methodology based on deep dialogue,” the directors remarked. “The process sought to connect the seed, an Andalusian underground film from 1982, with the biological reality that we face, the end of the fertile years. Confronted with our maternal instincts, we decided to make a movie instead of having children. This seemingly free choice hides structural impossibilities for our generation. Our early 21st century freedom is an illusion.”

Produced by Jur & Jur (“Fachadas”), the film stars De Castro, “Elite” star Omar Ayuso, Chacha Huang of “Money Heist” and Sitges Nosferatu award-winner Manuel de Blas and was included in the Sevilla Festival de Cine 2021 Pitching Session Industria for European Co-Productions and Ventana Sur’s 2022 Spanish Screening’s Program.

“Those Were the Days,” (Barnabé Bulnes)

The directorial debut feature for producer Bulnes at Rakia Films, “Those Were The Days” follows actress Alma as she reconnects with an old flame after he offers her an audition. The two stumble through five intense days where they come to question the intricacies of human relation.

Produced by Rakia’s Enrique Guzmán, the film stars Adela Castaño, Gregor Acuña-Pohl (“El Mundo Es Suyo”) and Silvia Acosta (“Una Vez Mas”).

“‘The project arose from the need to make a film that dialogues with my generation, a generation marked by frustrated expectations and constant uncertainties, but which, as in the case of the protagonist, has found new ways of existing in the world, demonstrating that giving up doesn’t have to mean failure,” Bulnes related.

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