Marcel Barrena ventures into treacherous waters in Mediterráneo
- The Catalan director is in post-production with his latest film, based on true events and starring Eduard Fernández, Dani Rovira, Sergi López and Anna Castillo
Mediterráneo, directed by Marcel Barrena, was shot over just two months, in September and October this year. The film features Eduard Fernández, Dani Rovira (who appeared in his earlier film, 100 Metres [+see also:
film profile]), Anna Castillo, Sergi López and Àlex Monner. The story takes us back to a voyage undertaken in 2015 by Óscar Camps and Gerard Canals, lifeguards on the Badalona coast, after seeing an image that sickened the world: the lifeless body of a young boy, washed up on a Mediterranean beach. Since that photograph was taken, hundreds of unsung heroes have saved the lives of more than 100,000 fellow humans, under the auspices of the NGO Open Arms. Mediterráneo was inspired by these brave volunteers, and their struggle to stem the tragedy unfolding at sea.
To prepare for the shoot, Barrena’s team undertook four years of painstaking documentation, working shoulder-to-shoulder with the coastguard and refugees themselves and making countless trips to Greece so as to be confident that the story would be told with absolute accuracy. The film retraces the journey of lifeguards Óscar (Fernández) and Gerard (Rovira) in the autumn of 2015. Bound for Lesbos, the pair have been shocked into action by the photograph of a dead child, drowned in the familiar waters of the Mediterranean.
What they discover on their arrival is staggering: thousands of people are risking their lives every single day, crossing the ocean in makeshift vessels to escape armed conflict at home. And yet, nobody is lifting a finger to save them. Crewing up with Esther (Castillo), Nico (López) and various others, they embark on a mission to help the thousands who desperately need them, for as long as it takes. For all of them, this first voyage will mark the beginning of a life-changing odyssey. Mediterráneo portrays their struggle to survive in an often-deadly environment, where every life matters.
As the film was to be based on a true story, its producers knew instinctively that it would have to be entrusted to someone “with the ability to tell human stories with all the intimacy or distance they need.” Their chosen director, Marcel Barrena, threw himself into the challenge of recreating this epic journey, alongside screenwriter Danielle Schleif (Summer Camp [+see also:
film profile]), working closely with Open Arms with a view to crafting a faithful retelling laden with emotion and truth.
In the words of Barrena himself, currently immersed in post-production, “Mediterráneo has been conceived as a sensitive, hopeful film that keeps you on the edge of your seat, without losing sight of what it means to tell the true story of this unthinkable reality that keeps on repeating itself, day after day, on our own beaches.”
Mediterráneo is being produced by Lastor Media, Fasten Films, Arcadia Motion Pictures and Cados Producciones (Spain) and Heretic (Greece), in association with RTVE, Movistar+ and TVC. The project has received support from the ICAA, the ICEC and Creative Europe MEDIA Programme. It should be released in Spanish cinemas some time in 2021, distributed by DeAPlaneta, while Filmax is handling international sales.
(Translated from Spanish)
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