Filmax Swoops on ‘Piggy’ Helmer’s ‘The Chapel’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Iconic Spanish horror producer Filmax, which is behind such films as “The Machinist,” “Darkness” and “[REC],” is bringing onto the open market at Cannes one of the most anticipated Spanish smart genre films of 2023,  Carlota Pereda’s “The Chapel,” the Spanish director’s follow-up to “Piggy.”

Excerpts from “The Chapel” will be unveiled by Filmax at Fantastic 7, a showcase of international genre movies in advanced production put forward by seven leading film festivals which unspools May 21 at the Marché du Film. The Chapel is nominated by the Sitges Fantastic Film Festival. 

Bowing at 2022’s Sundance, “Piggy” was hailed by Variety as a “viciously impressive debut,” establishing Pereda as one of the most sought-after new helmers in Spain.. 

A Filmax and Bixagu Entertainment production backed by Netflix, RTVE and EiTB, “The Chapel” is written by Albert Bertrán Bas, Carmelo Viera and the director. It turns on Emma, 8, who seeks out Carol, a fake medium, to communicate with the spirit of a little girl which has spent centuries trapped in a chapel. 

Contact, Emma thinks, will allow her to still talk to her own terminally ill mother when she dies. What Carol doesn’t realise is that Emma has a real gift and, if she goes on trying to use it without Carol’s help, will put her young life in mortal danger.

Shot in the Basque Country and Navarre, and shuttling from present to past and suspense to the fantastic, “The Chapel” makes particular reference to so called “bird men,” hermit-like doctors during a 17th century plague who hid beneath disturbing masks and long tunics and carried sharp sticks to protect themselves from the infected. 

“Piggy” used “standard genre shocks almost as MacGuffins; it’s the all-too-recognizable horror of brutalized adolescence that really makes us wince,” Variety wrote.

Equally, Pereda describes “The Chapel” as “a very personal story” about “how hard being a mother and daughter can be, how, sometimes, we don’t understand each other until we reach adulthood and, like in all ghost stories, it’s too late…. Or maybe, just maybe, this time, it isn’t.”

The film was pitched to Pereda as a project by “The Chapel” producer Laura Fernández at Filmax, before Pereda shot “Piggy.”

“When I saw Carlota’s work, I knew I wanted to work with her. She has a very unique vision as to how to get across the story she wants to tell, always mixing genres, while still exciting the audience, so I was sure she was the perfect director for this project,” Fernández said. 

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