Ariel Rotter, Benito Zambrano, Kike Maillo Grace Málaga’s Out of Competition Strand

Featuring famed directors such as Argentina’s Ariel Rotter and Spain’s Benito Zambrano, who have not only played but won at Berlin and San Sebastian respectively, Malaga’s 19-pic out of competition strand is a testament to the buyer-driven pulling power of Malaga , thanks to its significant market.

Multiple other name auteurs pack out the selection, which also includes a far stronger line is broad audience comedies than most festivals would risk. 

This is certainly territory for discoveries and breakouts – a healthy Málaga tradition.

A brief drill down on titles:    

“La Bandera”  

Director: Martín Cuervo  

“La Bandera,” produced by Álamo Producciones Audiovisuales and Idesia Films, humorously unfolds a family’s inheritance dispute, in the sense that sons, Aitor Luna and Miquel Fernández, aren’t getting what they expected from their father played by Spanish veteran actor Imanol Arias.  

“A Blue Bird”  

Director: Ariel Rotter  

Respected Argentine auteur Rotter (“The Other,” “Incident Light”) returns to fiction in a joint production between Tarea Fina and Montelona Cine, exploring the complexities of unexpected paternity. A couple, Javier (Alfonso Tort) and Valeria (Julieta Zylberberg) have been trying and failing to conceive. Then a bombshell hits their relationship, a tryst Javier had has resulted in a pregnancy. This intimate drama plumbs themes of identity, family and the unraveling of Javier’s life.

“Calladita”  

Director: Miguel Faus  

Faus’ “Calladita,” a collaboration between Calladita Films, Potenza Producciones and Decentralized Pictures Foundation, presents the drama of Ana, a Colombian maid challenging her exploitative conditions in Spain. It’s a buzzy feature debut given the pedigree of the short it expands upon which won plaudits at festivals and the financial seal of approval from Steven Soderburg’s Andrews/Bernard Award at Sundance.

“Como El Mar”  

Director: Nicolás Gil Lavedra  

“Como el Mar,” produced by Orca Films, unveils the story of Azul and Paula who face the profound loss of their mother, leading to a rift over the decision to cremate her. Azul, seeking alternatives, uncovers a staggering truth through a photograph: Paula, whom she believed to be her sister, is in fact her mother.

“Disco, Ibiza, Locomía”  

Director: Kike Maíllo  

Kike Maíllo’s “Disco, Ibiza, Locomía,” from Nadie es Perfecto, La Chica de la Curva and SBD Films captures the essence of the ‘80s Ibiza scene. This vibrant drama, from the Goya winning director (“Eva”) charts the rise and fall of Xavi Font’s Locomía, blending success, friendship, and the music industry’s dark side. A title to check out.

Disco, Ibiza, Locomía Courtesy of Malaga Film Festival

“La Familia Benetón”  

Director: Joaquín Mazón  

Produced by Atresmedia Cine, Bowfinger International Pictures, Glow Animation, Esto También Pasará, Mama Se Fue De Viaje La Pelicula AIE, and BTF (ECB Servicios de Producción de SAPI) “La Familia Benetón” humorously chronicles Toni’s journey from solitude to becoming the guardian of five diverse children. This family comedy delves into unexpected parenthood and cultural diversity, showcasing Mazón’s penchant for blending humor with heartfelt storytelling as seen in previous Karra Elejalde starrer “Two Many Chefs.”

“Historias”  

Director: Paco Sepúlveda  

Paco Sepúlveda’s anthology “Historias,” a collaboration between Guainot Produce, Mother Superior Films, Avant Events, and Bastardas Films, intertwines 11 stories, showcasing a universal spectrum of human emotions. “We are all more similar than we think,” states the synopsis. A celebration of shared humanity with a large cast including Fernando Tejero, Luisa Gavasa, Maggie Civantos and Emilio Gutiérrez-Caba.

“Invasión”  

Director: David Martín-Porras  

“Invasión,” directed by David Martín-Porras and produced by Secuoya’s Álamo Producciones Audiovisuales and A Contracorriente Films is a sci-fi narrative of an extraterrestrial siege. Thrust together, five disparate characters must learn to trust to survive the ensuing global chaos. Stunt performer turned actor Fran Berengue is among its stars.

“Jumping the Fence”  

Director: Benito Zambrano  

Writer-director of critically lauded features that have scored festival and Goya awards returns such as “The Sleeping Voice,” Benito returns with “Jumping the Fence” a production of Cine365 Films Producciones Cinematográficas, Filmax’s Castelao Productions, Virtual Contenidos and France’s Noodles Production. It follows Ibrahim’s (France’s Moussa Sylla) determined return to Spain after deportation. Action builds to a spectacular titular sequence as Ibrahim tries to take a direct route from Morocco to Melilla jumping the fence surrounding the Spanish protectorate.

Jumping the Fence Courtesy of Malaga Film Festival

“Matusalén”  

Director: David Galán Galindo  Produced by Lagranjilla Inmuebles, a humour-laced exploration of aging and ambition. This comedic narrative follows “El Alber,” a 44 year old rapper still dreaming of stardom who based on a bet with his father enrols at college. The tagline reads “Growing old is inevitable, maturing is optional.”

“Menudas Piezas”  

Director: Nacho G. Velilla  

Nacho G. Velilla’s “Menudas Piezas,” a collaboration between Telecinco Cinema (“The Impossible”), Felicitas Media and Lightbox Animation Studios (“Tad, the Lost Expolorer”). It follows Candela, a teacher, and her transformative shift from elite to public schooling with the synopsis’ claim that she goes from the crème de la crème to the crème de la mediocrity.” The underrated Alexandra Jiménez takes the lead in what could be a crowd please given Velilla’s track record with crowd pleasers such as “Chef’s Special” in Spain and “No Manches Frida” in Mexico.

“El Molino”  

Director: Alfonso Cortés-Cavanillas  

Cortés-Cavanillas directs “El Molino,” produced by La Caña Brothers, a drama set in a diminishing village. It explores the interconnected lives of its inhabitants, centered around an ancient windmill.

“Por Tus Muertos” 

Director: Sayago Ayuso  

Lead produced by tax scheme Por tus muertos AIE, revisiting the reunion of a once-famed rock band. This comedic drama blends nostalgia, music, and the enduring quest for dreams.

“Puntos Suspensivos”  

Director: David Marqués  

Marqués,  the writer of “Champions,” takes the helm “Puntos Suspensivos,” produced by Morena Films, crafting a thriller of mystery and deception. This narrative challenges the concepts of identity and trust, set in a secluded chalet, where a writer’s solitude is shattered by an enigmatic visitor’s intentions. Jose Coronado is among the cast coming off an awarded turn in Erice’s “Close Your Eyes.”

“The Sleeping Woman”  

Director: Laura Alvea  

Helmed by Alvea, a director on reflex hit “The Snow Girl,” a production by Coming Soon Films, La Claqueta, La Cruda Realidad, and Filmgate Miami which merges suspense with the supernatural. This thriller delves into the life of Ana, entangled in a web of desire for a patient’s husband which may be resulting in paranormal occurrences, challenging her sanity. Filmax sells. 

“Solos En La Noche”  

Director: Guillermo Rojas  

From Summer Films and La Claqueta, a film that captures the tension of Spain’s 1981 coup attempt. This historical drama spotlights the courage and dilemmas of a group of labor lawyers, offering a reflection on political ideals and the fight for democracy.

“La Sombra Del Sol”  

Director: Miguel Ángel Ferrer  

From Magic Films, De la Reina and GodArt Studios, an inspiring yarn of overcoming adversity through music. In the remote city of Acarigua, Venezuela, blue-collar worker Leo, burdened by debt, is propelled by his deaf younger brother Alex’s idea to compete in a musical contest with a self-composed song, embarking on a journey to harness his hidden talent and alter their destinies.

“Yo No Soy Esa”  

Director: Maria Ripoll  

Produced by El Estudio and Cahuenga Filmmakers, Maria Ripoll’s “Yo no soy esa” tells the tale of Susana’s time-travel from the ‘90s to 2024 via a coma. This coming-of-age story navigates identity, societal change, and self-acceptance, offering a humorous commentary on the journey to find oneself and stars Verónica Echegui (“Fortitude”). 

Yo No Soy Esa Courtesy of Malaga Film Festival

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