Juanma Bajo Ulloa, a San Sebastian Golden Shell winner with Butterfly Wings, is preparing El Mal, an auteur-ist psychological thriller marking his English-language debut.
A leading light of a new generation of Spanish directors who broke through in the early ‘90s, Bajo Ulloa has written the screenplay. He will also direct.
El Mal is set up at Madrid-based Tormenta Films, whose first production, Miguel Courtois Paternina’s Operation E, with Luis Tosar, world preems at San Sebastian Tuesday.
Set in an unidentified big westernworld city, El Mal “is a disquieting story plumbing the darkest side of the human soul, making us question our ethical roots,” said Tormenta’s Cristina Zumárraga, who line-produced Steven Soderbergh’s Che movies.
Mal’s cast will be “renowned international actors”. Zumárraga added.
English-language El Mal and Operation E, shot entirely in Colombia, confirm the international slant of Tormenta Films, founded by Zumárraga and Marisa Castelao in late 2008.
That overseas bent is hardly surprising. Zumárraga has worked extensively as a line-producer for Morena Films, one of Spain’s most international producers, winning a Spanish Academy Goya for Bolivia-set Even the Rain.
Adding to Operation E’s pedigree, it is co-produced by Tosar’s Galiciabased label Zirkocine and France’s Ajoz Films, owned by Ariel Zeitoun, exec producer on Colombiana and producer of Bandidas.
Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp distributes in France; DeAPlaneta bows Operation E in Spain Dec. 14 and DeAPlaneta Intl. sells international rights. Natixis Coficine cash-flowed the production.
True-event based, Operation E stars Tosar as José Crisanto Gómez Tovar, a humble Colombian coca cultivator pursued by both FARC guerrilla forces and Colombia’s police, falsely accused of kidnapping the baby of FARC hostage Clara Rojas.
“This is the story of how armed conflict, anywhere in the world, can end up destroying the life of many innocent people”, Zumárraga said.