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Penelope Cruz-Antonio Banderas Starrer ‘Official Competition’ Scooped by IFC Films (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety
Variety
 2021-10-21
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IFC Films has acquired U.S. rights to “ Official Competition ,” Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat’s colorful film with Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas . Represented in international markets by Protagonist, the film world premiered at Venice in competition and earned unanimous praise.

Written by Cohn and Duprat, the movie stars José Luis Gómez as an octogenarian millionaire pharmaceutical tycoon who decides to finance a great work of cinema after surveying his legacy and finding it lacking in prestige.

He purchases the rights to a Nobel Prize–winning novel about sibling rivalry and entrusts the property to enigmatic auteur Lola Cuevas (Cruz). A visionary conceptualist with a penchant for offscreen theatrics and micromanagement, Lola casts as her embattled co-leads a pair of veteran thespians who couldn’t be less alike: Iván Torres (Oscar Martínez) is a revered educator and legend of the stage much concerned with ethics and artistry, while Félix Rivero (Banderas) is a glamorous global star known mostly for brainless, bombastic entertainment.

The film was produced by The Mediapro Studio’s Jaume Roures, with executive producers Javier Méndez, Laura Fernández Espeso and Javier Pons. IFC Films will release the film in 2022.

“Official Selection” joins IFC Films’ prestige roster of critically acclaimed foreign-language movies, including Audrey Diwan’s Venice Golden Lion winner “Happening”; Cannes competition titles including Paul Verhoeven’s subversive drama “Benedetta,” Mia Hansen-Love’s “Bergman Island” with Tim Roth, and Jacques Audiard’s “Paris, 13th District”; and Hany Abu Assad’s “Huda’s Saloon,” which played at Toronto.

Arianna Bocco , president at IFC Films, said: “ Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas shine together on screen in ‘Official Selection.’

“Their chemistry is undeniable, and we believe U.S. audiences will be delighted to see them come together in this crowd-pleasing film,” continued Bocco, who negotiated the deal with CAA Media Finance, Protagonist’s CCO George Hamilton and COO James Pugh and Manny Nunez on behalf of the filmmakers.

Marta Ezpeleta, director of The Mediapro Studio Distribution, said “the American public will have fun and surprise with this acid comedy and discover a new acting side of Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas.”

“Going hand in hand with IFC Films, together with our international distributor Protagonist Pictures, is already a guarantee of success,” said Ezpeleta.

Protagonist CCO George Hamilton added: “A film as special as ‘Official Competition’ deserves an equally special home, and we can think of no one better than our friends at IFC to share this whipsmart satire with U.S. audiences.”

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