Belén Bernuy • Producer
by Carlo d'Ursi
Cineuropa: The Night of the Sunflowers is a film with surprising national and international institutional support and even a co-production with Arte Francia. Surprising, considering it is a debut film. What was the secret behind the project’s ability to obtain such a complex and complete financing scheme?
Belén Bernuy: There really wasn’t. We had an excellent, very solid screenplay on our hands that was successful wherever we presented it. The most difficult thing was convincing people that the screenplay could be directed by a first-time filmmaker. It took over three years to close the film’s financing. It was a kind of chain reaction: as soon as we received Spanish financing, the rest slowly arrived from Portugal and France.
The film is set in a rural area of central Spain. What are the most interesting elements for the international market?
What happens in this film could take place in a rural area of any Western country. The story and characters are universal and aren’t conditioned by their citizenship. On another front, seeing at how it’s a genre film, in this case a thriller, I believe it can reach a very broad audience.
A woman at the head of a film on men: what was the secret behind becoming a leader in an environment, such as the one in Spain, where the majority of executives are men?
I don’t think that my being a woman made it more difficult to head a team that nevertheless also had women on it. In any case, whether you’re a man or woman doesn’t change anything, you have to work hard in an efficient and always respectful manner.