Cuba’s Jorge Perugorría, best known for his career-launching perf in the Oscar-nominated “Strawberry & Chocolate,” “Slumdog Millionaire” line producer Tabrez Noorani and ‘The Iceman’ helmer Ariel Vromen have boarded Havana-set “Malecón” as executive producers.
Its producer, Flavio Florencio, director-writer of the multi-winning documentary “Made in Bangkok,” is attending Ventana Sur.
The debut feature of Madrid-born Carlos Larrazabal, “Malecón” will be having its world premiere at the Havana Film Festival, which runs Dec. 8-17.
Shot entirely in Havana by DP Gevorg Gev Juguryan, the drama follows Elvis (played by César Domínguez) who returns to the Cuban capital after serving a 10-year sentence in prison for killing his abusive stepfather.
His best friend Martin (Omar Rolando) helps him in his struggle to reintegrate himself into society, but things get complicated when he encounters his childhood sweetheart, Yuli (Camila Rodhe) and her husband, a key figure in Havana’s criminal underworld. When the opportunity to leave Havana presents itself, he has to decide between leaping into an uncertain future or facing harsh realities at home.
Larrazabal credits a former inmate he met in Cuba some 20 years ago after attending a workshop at the renowned San Antonio de los Baños film school.
“He was also trying to reintegrate into society, which is not easy in any country, especially in Cuba. I believe this experience later became my source of inspiration when writing the script for ‘Malecón.’”
The screenplay, co-written by Larrazabal and Cuban writer-director Fabián Suarez (“Caballos,” “Mila Caos”), participated in Sundance Collab.
In his director’s notes, Larrazabal also noted that “media coverage of Cuba often oscillates between the nostalgic embellishment of its images and the political-economic analysis of one of the strongholds of post-communism.”
“However, what has always interested me more is how the Cuban people navigate daily life, immersed in precariousness and guided by instincts of survival and ingenuity. They are also empowered by a unique sense of community and family,” he said, describing “Malecón” as “a window into the heartbeat of Havana.”
Larrazabal and biz partner/exec. producer Adrian Rodriguez produced the drama via their IGNAEntertainment company alongside Cuban associate producers Inti Herrera and Reymel Delgado of 14films. Parrot Analytics exec Jaime Otero also boarded as an executive producer.
“It is with great honor that I take part in this significant endeavor,” said Vromen who hailed Larrazabal for weaving “a narrative of dreams and aspirations.”
“The decision to shoot the film in Cuba has preserved the authenticity of its storytelling. I am confident that audiences will be captivated by ‘Malecon,’” he added.
Rafael de los Reyes (“Queen of the South”) and Goya-winning Alejandro Lazaro (“Los crimenes de Oxford,” “Crimen Ferpecto”) edited the film.
Meanwhile, the Cuban film institute ICAIC has recognized the Cuban nationality of “Malecon,” which means it qualifies to represent the country at the Oscars.