Spanish genre master Álex de la Iglesia and Telecinco Cinema, the production arm of broadcast network Mediaset España, are re-teaming for fantasy action-adventure film project “Mandrágora.”
De la Iglesia and Carolina Bang’s Madrid-based outfit Pokeepsie Films will produce “Mandrágora” with powerhouse Telecinco Cinema, the feature marking the high-profile Spanish director’s fifth joint project with the broadcaster.
Set in 17th Century Spain, “Mandrágora” follows Hernán, 15, who unearths a human-shaped root for which he begins to feel an inexplicable attraction. The gruesome death of his parents at the hands of Count of Torresnegras’ troops forces him and his new friend to flee to the nearby woods.
In their depths, along with terrifying monsters and legendary creatures, lives La Bruja, an expert in black magic, who will shelter Hernán and Mandrágora, the root. With the help of Madariaga, a mercenary adventurer, they embark on a mission to end Torresnegras’s reign of terror forever.
De la Iglesia will direct and is co-writing the script alongside Jelen Morales (“La pequeña Suiza,” “Un mal día lo tiene cualquiera”).
With “Mandrágora,” De la Iglesia, one of Spain’s biggest broad audience auteurs, is returning to the fantastic, one of his favorite movie genres.
Breaking out with 1995’s “The Day of the Beast,” a milestone in Spanish cinema, De la Iglesia’s “The Last Circus” (2010) won Venice Festival best director and screenplay awards.
More recent movies such as “Witching & Bitching” (2013, €15 million -$15.29 million- at the Spanish box office), “My Big Night” (2015, $12.23 million) and the remake of the Italian movie “Perfect Strangers” (2017, $20.39 million) have consolidated De la Iglesia’s status as frequently one of Spain’s biggest audience directors.
Telecinco Cinema has also successfully bet on fantasy films with international projection and prestige such as J.A. Bayona’s “A Monster Calls,” which scored $26.70 million in Spain, figuring in the Spanish box office Top 5 of all time, and Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth,” which won three Academy Awards.
De la Iglesia and Telecinco Cinema already joined forces for “La habitación del niño,” part of 2005 omnibus feature “Películas para no dormir;” English-language thriller “Oxford Crimes,” “Perfect Strangers,” and road-movie “Four’s A Crowd,” which is scheduled for a fall theatrical release by Sony Pictures.
Founded in 2009 by De la Iglesia and Bang, Pokeepsie has continued De la Iglesia’s commitment to genre movies, through projects both as a director and also a producer, with films such as “Los héroes del mal,” “Errementari” and “Perfect Strangers” as well as the horror comedy series “30 Coins,” which, co-written and helmed by De la Iglesia, has proved one of the best received of early originals from HBO in Spain, and is currently lensing its Season 2 for HBO Max.
Pokeepsie has also energetically put is back behind a new generation of filmmakers such as Paul Urkijo (“Errementari”), Eduardo Casanova (“Pieles,” “La Piedad”) and Zoe Berriatúa (“Los héroes del mal”).
The production house announced in May 2020 an alliance with Sony Pictures and Amazon Prime Video to launch The Fear Collection, a collection of horror films with worldwide distribution directed by Spanish filmmakers such as De la Iglesia himself and Jaume Balagueró(“[REC]”), among others.
One of Spain’s fastest growing film and TV companies, Pokeepsie struck in April a strategic partnership with Banijay Iberia to create high-end original series and fiction, allowing Pokeepsie to join Banijay Iberia’s large stable of companies in Spain and Portugal.
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