SAN SEBASTIAN — Geraldine Gonard’s Inside Content has swooped on “Josefina,” acquiring world sales rights outside Spain and Germany to the Spanish movie project, which has already attached laureled Spanish actress Emma Suárez, star of Pedro Almodovar’s “Julieta,” to play the female lead.
One of the five film titles to be put through development at the ECAM Madrid Film School’s pioneering Incubator development program, “Josefina” is co-produced by Madrid’s White Leaf Producciones and Berlin’s One Two Films, whose recent films include Jennifer Fox’s “The Tale” and Isabel Coixet’s “The Bookshop.”
Producer Sergy Moreno is now beginning to reach out to potential actors comparable in stature to Suárez to play the male lead.
Described by Inside Content’s Geraldine Gonard as a romantic drama with lighter touches and a deft but penetrating criticize of contemporary societal ills, “Josefina” will be directed by Spanish short filmmaker Javier Marco (“One,” “The Dress,” “Classmate”). It turns on Juan, a timid dowdy 50-year-old who conceives an attraction for Berta. Trouble is: He is a prison officer and Berta the mother of one of the inmates. So Juan, in a flight of imagination, passes himself off as another parent visiting the prison in order to see his also incarcerated daughter, Josefina.
Josefina’s presence, however fictitious, facilitates a relationship between two people with grave emotional deficiencies, “lending an optimism, and moments of near surrealism and comedy to the film,” according to screenwriter Belén Sánchez-Arévalo.
In a whimsical touch, it is Josefina who narrates the film and even chooses its music.
Suárez, who lends humanity to more or less any role she takes, also confirmed her range starring as a mother from hell in Michel Franco’s “April’s Daughter,” will play Berta. Also attached are two fine Spanish character actors: Manolo Solo (“The Fury of a Patient Man”) and Mabel Ribera (“The Sea Inside”), the latter as one of Berta’s neighbors.
“Josefina” portrays “two people who meet at a singular moment, in a film with a reduced number of location – the jail, a bus, their homes. The film packs a “deep and subtle but critical study of what is happening in contemporary society,” said Inside Content founder Gonard, calling “Josefina” a “mature film, intelligent and strongly written, with a lot of work on its characters.”
The Incubator’s five projects were chosen from 216 applications, from first or second-time directors from anywhere in Spain, nit just ECAM alums. Such a rigorous filter has proved a magnet to players in Spain’s movie industry from Movistar+ and Netflix to Mediaset España and Atremedia and RTVE who have visited the initiative to explain their financing priorities and become acquainted with the program.
Inside Content also co-organizes Conecta Fiction, the highly successful Latin America-Europe TV co-production forum which celebrated its second edition this June in Galicia’s Santiago de Compostela, northern Spain.