Narrowing down the best Basque projects on the horizon has become increasingly difficult in recent years, as the region is experiencing a boom in both the quality and quantity of local production that has made prognostication more difficult than ever.
Below, Variety has picked 20 projects from that crowded field which we will be tracking in the coming years.
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“Almanac” (Jorge Moneo Quintana)
A Berlinale Talents project, “Almanac” challenges the limits of documentary cinema by revisiting the solar eclipse of July 18, 1860 through photos and records, speculating on the truth of the past in collective memory. Currently in development, the feature is backed by Kalakalab and Kleinen Filmak.
“And Thus it Will Go On” (Marina Palacio)
Likely to appear on Basque project lists for some time, production on this exercise somewhere between fiction and reality is scheduled to last five years, following a group of children through their formative years in the small town of Tierra de Campos. Vitrine Filmes (“Los Lobos”) produces.
“Black is Beltza II: Ainhoa” (Fermín Muguruza)
This sequel to Muguruza’s 2018 animated feature will follow Ainhoa, the daughter of Manex, the previous film’s protagonist, from whom she seems to have inherited his social commitment and a taste for adventure. Talka Records & Films produces with participation from Ambra Projectes Culturals and Elkar and the collaboration of Nueveojos. S.A. Film Factory
“Cork” (Mikel Gurrea)
Currently in post-production, “Cork” turns on a couple who, expecting their first child, leave the city to run an inherited cork farm. It’s the latest from Mikel Gurrea, whose short film “Heltzear” is in this year’s Zabaltegi-Tabakalera section at San Sebastian, having just played in the Horizons sidebar at Venice. Lastor Media, Malmo Pictures and Irusion produce.
<img class="size-horizontal wp-image-1203344160" src="https://variety.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/suro_photo_laia.jpg?w=1024" alt=". - Credit: Lastor Media" width="1024" height="544" srcset="https://variety.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/suro_photo_laia.jpg 2560w, https://variety.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/suro_photo_laia.jpg?resize=150,80 150w, https://variety.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/suro_photo_laia.jpg?resize=300,159 300w" sizes="(min-width: 87.5rem) 1000px, (min-width: 78.75rem) 681px, (min-width: 48rem) 450px, (max-width: 48rem) 250px" />Lastor Media
“Fantasia,” (Aitor Medino, Amaia Medino)
Separated by time and distance, two very close middle-aged children and their recently retired parents reunite for a family cruise which sees the kids return to their childhood dynamic and the parents enjoy a second honeymoon on their golden anniversary. However, the real world keeps turning and reality awaits the family on the shore. Doxa Producciones backs. S.A. Feelsales
“Five Little Wolves” (Alauda Ruíz de Azúa)
Written by Ruiz de Azua after her first year as a mother, “Five Little Wolves” turns on Amaia, a recent mother who moves back to her familial home when overwhelmed by raising a child with a rarely present partner. When her mother falls ill, Amaya finds her caretaking responsibilities doubled. Sayaka, Buen Pinta Media and Encanta Films produce. S.A. Latido Films
“From Fire to Ice” (Rubén Crespo)
Mirokutana produces this documentary about Pedro Cienfuentes, a firefighter who witnessed first-hand several tragedies which created a complicated relationship with life and death and inspired him to be the first climber to solo cross the Fitz Roy Mountain on the border of Argentina and Chile, an extraordinary feat confounding his friends and family.
“Hondalea Marine Abyss” (Asier Altuna)
Spanish Academy Goya Award-nominated (“Aupa Etxebeste!”) and San Sebastian Best Basque Film-winning (“Amama”) director Asier Altuna documents the work of artist Cristina Iglesias as she transforms the lighthouse on the Santa Clara Island in San Sebastian into a spectacular work of art over 20 months of work. Top Basque outfit Txintxua Films produces.
“Just Sleep” (Ibán del Campo)
Currently in development and looking for co-producers, “Just Sleep” is the latest from del Campo, whose 2019 feature “Glittering Misfits” won a specail mention at San Sebastian’s Irizar Basque Cinema Award. This time, he tells the fantasy story of a young woman who sells the secret to sleep in the middle of an insomnia pandemic. Produced by Limbus Filmak.
“My Way Out” (Izaskun Arandia)
In this documentary co-produced by Izar Films and Alternative Content, Vicky Lee, owner of London’s legendary trans club The Way Out, reflects on the lives and histories of her club’s patrons. Regulars recount how The Way Out has helped them overcome past traumas and how they were affected when it was forced to close for the first time in 27 years during the COVID-19 pandemic. Atera Films distributes in Spain.
“Los Quinquis” (Yayo Herrero)
Showcased in 2020’s Berlinale Talents and pushed by Madrid’s ECAM Incubator at the “Meet them!” Section in San Sebastian 2020, Yayo Herrero’s second feature follows two brothers who try to escape the Madrid’s drug peddling gangs. Limbus Filmak is producing.
Credit: Yayo Herrero
“The Sacred Spirit” (Chema García Ibarra)
José Manuel, a member of a UFO enthusiast group, has the fate of humanity thrust into his hands when the group’s leader dies unexpectedly. Basque label Apellaniz y de Sosa and Alicante-based Jaibo Films produce this title, a big hit at Locarno 2021, with La Fabrica Nocturna Cinéma in Francia and Turkish indie Teferruat Film. S.A. Heretic
“The Sound of Cracking” (Ander Iriarte)
A three-way co-production between “The Endless Trench” producer Irusion with Gastibeltza and Mirokutana, Iriarte’s (“Los inocentes”) latest breaks down a Basque Governmental report on torture and ill-treatment in the West between 1960-2014, featuring input from politicians, medical examiners, psychologists and lawyers.
“Sultana’s Dream” (Isabel Herguera)
“Sultana’s Dream” marks the animation feature debut of Isabel Herguera. An animation/live-action hybrid, it’s inspired by a classic feminist tale from Bengali social activist Begum Rokeya, published in 1905. Herguera was a Variety talent to track in 2017 and is now backed by SultanaFilms, Gatoverde Producciones, Abano Producións Uniko and Fabian & Fred.
Courtesy: 3d Wire
“Tetuán” (Iratxe Fresneda)
Pimpi & Nella Films and Marmoka Films co-produce Fresneda’s third feature documentary, a collage of four stories about how migrants are affected by the places through which they pass. Previously featured at San Sebastian as a project. Marmoka Films, Pimpi & Nella Films, Arena Comunicación and Corpus Films produce. S.A. Arkaitz Basterra
“20,000 Species of Bees” (Esti Urresola)
Another ECAM project from the school’s prestigious Incubator program, this time produced by Gariza Films and Urresola’s own Sirimiri Films. The feature turns on Lucía, a six-year-old girl, who struggles as the world tries to catch up with the fact that she has a penis. As the summer holidays pass, she explores her femininity along with the other women of her family. Bteam Pictures will distribute in Spain, and talks are underway with sales agents.
“Los últimos románticos” (David Pérez Sañudo)
Announced at this year’s San Sebastian, Pérez Sañudo (“Ane is Missing”), one of Spain’s most exciting up-and-comers, reteams with co-writer Marina Parés Pulido on this adaptation of the popular eponymous Basque novel about a blue collar worker who finds opportunity after a labor dispute breaks out at her paper mill. La Claqueta produces.
“Unicorn Wars” (Alberto Vázquez)
Alberto Vázquez’s feature follow-up to “Birdboy: the Forgotten Children” and Annecy Cristal-winning short “Homeless Home,” this anticipated animated feature imagines a war between unicorns and teddy bears. Uniko and Abano Producións in Spain produce with Autour de Minuit and Schmuby Productions from France. S.A. Charades
Courtesy of Ventana Sur/Animation!
“A Whale” (Pablo Hernando)
A thrilling genre proposition, “A Whale” turns on assassin Ingrid who has a supernatural ability to disappear after finishing a hit, which makes her the best person for a high-profile contract to take down a powerful businessman. Sr. & Sra. and Sayaka Producciones are producing.
“Winnipeg Seed of Hope” (Elio Quiroga, Beñat Beitia)
An animated retelling of the odyssey of 2,200 Spanish refugees who sailed from France to Chile in September 1939, escaping Spain where Francisco Franco’s dictatorship was consolidating its grip on the country after three years of devastating Civil War. Barcelona’s La Ballesta, Chile’s El Otro Film, France’s Marmitafilms and Spain’s 3 Doubles Producciones are all aboard.
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