VARIETY, “The Spain-Puerto Rico Team Behind Sundance Player ‘The Fishbowl’ Reunites
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By: Emiliano De Pablos
Spain’s Solita Films and Auna Producciones, and Puerto Rico’s Canica Films, the production team behind Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition entry “La Pecera” (“The Fishbowl”), by Glorimar Marrero Sánchez, is joining again for the Puerto Rican filmmaker’s new feature, “El Grito de la Trinitaria.”
Written and directed by Marrero Sánchez, “El Grito de la Trinitaria” (a working title) follows a Dominican woman searching for her own space in the world and the elderly woman in whose house she lives, when they are about to lose the apartment they have shared for years.
The project replicates “La Pecera’s” Spain-Puerto Rico production partnership, with Solita co-founder José Esteban Alenda, Auna’s Amaya Izquierdo and Canica’s Marrero Sánchez serving as producers.
“The search for my own space rolls off my interest, as a Puerto Rican, to address the human need for self-determination,” Marrero told Variety.
“This time, I will carry it out by exploring patrimonial violence against two women who have shared space and life for years. One, the owner of the house, loses her space. The other is a migrant, Caribbean, and dependent on a place that never ceased to be alien to her.”
At an early stage of script development, the story is set and scheduled to shoot in Madrid.
“El Grito de la Trinitaria’s” structure continues a stable, long-term co-production relationship which kicked-off in April 2018 when “La Pecera” was pitched as a project at the Málaga Film Festival’s Mafiz industry zone. The co-production pact was closed at December’s Ventana Sur.
The new project also marks a further step in Madrid-based Solita Films’ aim of strengthening its position as a sturdy bridge with Latin American filmmakers.
Marrero Sánchez’s first feature, “La Pecera” has tapped into the Tribeca Film Institute’s Latin American Film Fund and won the best unpublished screenplay Coral Award at the Havana Film Festival.
Recently picked up for world sales by New York-based Visit Films, “La Pecera” world premieres at Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition Jan. 23, marking a pioneering achievement for a Puerto Rican film directed by a woman.
An intimate drama with environmental overtones, “La Pecera” follows Noelia, a 40-year-old Puerto Rican visual artist who’s seen her cancer returning and spreading quickly after years of remission.
Noelia’s final decision is to return to her native Vieques in Puerto Rico, and claim her freedom to decide her own fate. She reunites with her friends and family, who are still dealing with the contamination of their home by the U.S. Navy after 60 years of military exercises.
The cast is led by Isel Rodríguez (“América,” “Crossbones”), Modesto Lacén (“Celia,” “La esclava blanca”) and Magali Carrasquillo (“Súbete a mi moto,” “Quién eres tú?”).
“La Pecera” will receive its European premiere as part of the Ingmar Bergman Competition at Sweden’s Göteborg Film Festival, which runs Jan. 27-Feb. 5.
In Spain, the film will be distributed in theaters by Elamedia; its free-to-air broadcasting rights were acquired by Spanish public broadcaster RTVE.
Often eyeing Latin American partnerships, Solita’s movie slate has already racked up a standout track record in recent years, scoring screenings at international festivals such as Berlinale, Seminci, Seattle, Sitges, Montreal and Guadalajara, and distribution on platforms such as HBO, Movistar+, Mubi and Filmin.
In 2019, the Madrid-based company co-produced Antonella Sudasassi’s Costa Rica Academy Awards entry “The Awakening of the Ants,” which world premiered at the Berlinale Forum and won a Seattle Grand Jury Prize.
“’The Awakening of the Ants’ changed our perception of the market and we started to look for projects directly linked to Latin America, made by women. There we found ‘La Pecera,’” producer José Esteban Alenda commented.
“We are learning how to go from dreaming our own stories to accompany the dreams of others. In Glorimar Marrero Sánchez we found an author with a highly stimulating vision.”
Solita’s latest four co-productions are Latin American, two of them, currently in post: Maria Zanetti’s Meikincine-sold “Alemania,” in partnership with Argentina’s Juan Pablo Miller’s Tarea Fina, and Jenifer de la Rosa’s creative documentary “Hija del volcán,” a co-production with Mexico.
The Esteban Alenda brothers’ career as directors will continue with “Alma y los siete monstruos,” a co-production with María del Puy Alvarado at Madrid’s Malvalanda (“Madre,” “The Mole Agent”), based on the novel about a 12-year-old girl who has to learn to live with a series of monsters under her bed.
“This is a fantasy genre coming of age tale aimed at a family audience that talks about the importance of our children’s mental health and that aims to strengthen communication between parents and children,” José Esteban Alenda explained.
Also promoting new voices at home, Solita is developing Marta Matute’s Alzheimer drama ”Yo no moriré de amor,” winner of the SGAE Julio Alejandro Best Feature Screenplay Award and scheduled to roll next year.
Further new projects in Spain take in Spanish-Chinese filmmaker Jiajie Yu Yan’s “Tres edades,” selected by the Netflix Summer Camp and Spanish Film Academy Residence.
A drama without stereotypes about the Chinese community in Spain, “Tres edades” follows Xiaowei, a 7-year-old Chinese boy, who lands in Barcelona in 1992 to live with his parents, whom he does not recognize, since they emigrated when he was still a baby.
“I am part of a generation that has grown up without references in Spanish fiction that go beyond clichés and stereotypes about reality and Chinese culture. From this absence of references, the need to narrate a story like ‘San Dai Shi Guang’ (‘Tres edades’), which allows us to reflect on detachment, uprooting, cultural identity, generational clashes and a lack of communication,” Jiajie Yu Yan argued.
“At Solita, we speak the same language as other authors, so communication with them is more fluid,” Alenda said.