Film in Granada is working on three films and a series that will start shooting in May

More than 2,000 people from Granada have attended the film casting for Rocío Mesa’s “Secaderos”,  project that will be filmed in the Vega de Granada

The newborn provincial office for film and cinema promotion “Film in Granada” is currently working on new projects and is beginning to bear its first fruits. The office has been collaborating for months on four major audiovisual productions: three feature films and a fiction series. All these projects will be shot in Granada over the next few months, and in all of them, Film in Granada is negotiating with their producers a percentage of hiring local professionals and companies for their needs.

The first of these productions is the film “Secaderos”, directed by the Granada-born filmmaker Rocío Mesa and produced by La Claqueta PC, the Andalusian company behind hits such as “La Trinchera infinita”. Film in Granada has actively collaborated in the casting organization, to which more than 2,000 people from the province have participated in the first online phase. Out of these participants, 150 people have been selected to attend an interview this week at the Palacio de los Condes de Gabia, headquarters of the Delegation of Culture and Historical Memory.

The First Vice President and Provincial Deputy for Culture and Historical Memory, Fátima Gómez, pointed out during the presentation of the casting that “Secaderos, as the name suggests, is a very Granadian project and is closely linked to our province. Rocío Mesa is a Granada-born woman from Las Gabias. The casting director, Marichu Sanz, is from La Zubia. The main cast of the film will be made up of non-professional Granada-born actors and actresses. And if COVID-19 allows it, it will be shot in its entirety this summer in various municipalities of La Vega de Granada”.

For her part, the director Rocío Mesa has stated that “Secaderos is a film that reflects on our relationship with the rural environment, and how a village can be a beautiful place of personal expansion, like a paradise; and also how at certain times it can result small and people may want to leave and explore bigger places like the city. The main characters are a child who spends summers in his grandparents’ village and a teenager who lives in a village from La Vega. The whole film takes place throughout a summer in which we observe the different experiences of these two characters, with little hints of magical realism”.

In Rocío’s words, it is “a fiction movie that documents, where reality and fiction are mixed, that aims to capture the area’s peculiarities. In this sense, I really would like to work with non-professional actors, especially with local people, and transform them into the characters of this story that I have written, and which is based on the place I was born and raised, as well as on the experiences I had”.

The filmmaker has assured that “we are also now working on the film locations, seeing different secaderos (tobacco drying rooms), houses, town squares and streets… Making a raid throughout the Vega of Granada. It is most likely that we will end up working on the area of Valderrubio and surroundings, because the landscapes there are closer to what we are looking for, and there are better exteriors with secaderos, poplar groves and views of Sierra Nevada”. 

The casting director, Marichu Sanz, has commented that “not only people from other parts of the province, but people from all over the world (Argentina, Cuba…) have come to the casting saying that they could pass off as people from La Vega, but since we want the film to be very authentic we have selected only 150 people who do meet our requirements. We are very happy with the candidates we are choosing because they are all from La Vega, and so they don’t have to act; they can just behave like they normally do, but this time in front of a camera. It is being a very emotional casting because we do fall in love with someone every day”.

The “Secaderos” project has participated in several international workshops such as Sundance Mediterranean Screenwriters or Sources 2. The professional team plans to start shooting in La Vega de Granada during the second week of August, with a fully Andalusian crew.

Producer Álvaro Ariza and director Macarena Astorga with the rest of the production crew in one of the first locations, Borreguiles (Photo: J.Grosso / Film in Granada)

A Movistar series, a documentary and a comedy

Simultaneously, Film in Granada has been working for several months on a second project that coincidentally begins filming at the end of May in Granada. It is the second season of the Movistar series “La Unidad”, a police thriller based on the work of a National Police Elite Unit that is specialized in jihadist terrorism issues. It is directed by Dani de la Torre and starring Nathalie Poza, Luis Zahera and Fele Martínez, among others.

“Our collaboration in this series has consisted in searching locations in the province, managing permits for aerial images and hiring professional local teams. We have managed to shoot several scenes in Granada and on the coast, as well as getting several technicians and companies from Granada (found in our Professional Guide, where a hundred professionals have already registered) to be hired”, said Fátima Gómez.

A third project in which Film in Granada is also collaborating and which will begin filming on May 17 is the documentary feature film Los constructores de la Alhambra, which investigates the origins of the Nasrid monument. It is an international co-production directed by Isabel Fernández, which has a fiction part and a documentary part, and in which, in addition to the Provincial Council and the Alhambra and Generalife Patronage, the University of Granada, ARTE, Al Jazeera, ORF and TVE networks participate.

Finally, a fourth project that is still in the pre-production phase is the film “El Refugio”, a family comedy that will be shot in Sierra Nevada under the direction of Macarena Astorga and produced by Álvaro Ariza and María Luisa Gutiérrez.