Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles

(Status: in production)


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1930, Paris, The Golden Age of film is a scandal and Luis Buñuel who thought he was destined for stardom of surrealism is left with nothing. He is offered a documentary on one of the poorest areas in Spain, Las Hurdes, but he has no money. His friend, the sculptor Ramón Acín buys a lottery ticket with the promise that he will pay for the film, he wins and keeps his promise. The harshness of Las Hurdes and the extreme misery of its people affect Bunuel deeply. Reality, memories of his childhood, Salvador Dalí and dreams are mixed in his mind, endangering the film and his friendship with Ramón. From there will come the Bunuel of the future. But what is left on the way? How much that step costs?


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Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles
Director: Salvador Simó
Authors: Eligio Montero and Salvador Simó (Adaptation from Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas by Fermín Solís)
Producers: Manuel Cristóbal, Jose Fernandez de Vega (The Glow Animation Studio, Spain) and Bruno Felix (Submarine, Netherlands)
Target audience: Young Adults / Adults
Technique: 2D digital


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It is an aspiring film project to tell the story of Luis Buñuel, one of the most famous Spanish film directors, whose life was full of ups and downs. The film will be based on a graphic novel of the same name. Animationweek’s editorial team heard the story behind the project from the producer Manuel Cristóbal after their presentation at Cartoon Movie 2017.

Interview with Manuel Cristóbal

Hideki Nagaishi (HN): Where did the initial idea for this film project come from?

Manuel Cristóbal (MC): The original idea came from a graphic novel called Buñuel and the Labyrinth of the Turtles that was written by Fermín Solís. It tells the story of when Buñuel went to Extremadura in Spain to shoot a documentary film Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan in the early 30s and what it meant for him as a director, as a person and as creator.

HN: How did you meet the original graphic novel and why did you decide to make an animated film based on the graphic novel? What part of the graphic novel did attract you the most?

MC: Since producing Wrinkles (Ignacio Ferreras, 2012) I was looking for something similar and Jose Fernandez de Vega presented the graphic novel to me. He is a producer and wanted to make a short film based on that. I told him the material could be a featured film and then we became partners to start developing it together. The part that attracted me the most was Buñuel of course because not only he is one of the greatest film directors but also he is quite a character and surrealist in the graphic novel. And the friendship story inside the graphic novel also attracted me. So this film will be a friendship story and this is a story about fighting for what you dream and believe.

HN: What do you think the unique of this film is?

MC: Buñuel is unique and the universe of the film tries to be unique as he was.

HN: How are you developing the visual and universe of the film?

MC: The visual is being developed by Salvador Simó the Director and Jose Luis Agreda the Art Director. We of course have the proper documentary Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan as the origin, but we have taken certain licences. So we chose to do it in a very graphical style and use the power of 2D animation in the film.

HN: How are the team of the film developing the story for the film? Is there anything new or different things from the original graphic novel story?

MC: The graphic novel is not very long so the story is expanded and developed. I would not say it is different, it is an adaptation and it is a different media.

HN: What kind of experience or message do you want to deliver by this film to the audience?

MC: I mean this is a film about friendship, about Luis Buñuel and his friend, the sculptor Ramón Acín. When Acín saw Buñuel, Buñuel was desperate that nobody wanted to support him but Acín believed in him. He told Buñuel that if he would win the lottery he would give him the money to make the film. And he won the lottery and they made the film. He trusted his friend on helping to pursue Buñuel’s career. And it’s also a story of that how Buñuel learn from a failure to became a great creator.

HN: At the moment what kind of support do you want?

MC: We’re looking for distributors through Latido Films, which is our sales agent run by Antonio Saura and we are looking for committed distributors worldwide.

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