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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Spain

Alexis Morante launches into fiction in El universo de Óliver

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- Currently filming in Seville, the project is being produced by La Claqueta and Pecado Films and stars María León, Salva Reina, Rubén Fulgencio and Pedro Casablanc

Alexis Morante launches into fiction in El universo de Óliver
Director Alexis Morante (back row, in centre), pictured with the cast of El universo de Óliver during filming in Seville (© Julio Vergne)

El universo de Óliver, the first fiction film from Alexis Morante, is currently filming on location in Seville, before heading to Campo de Gibraltar in May to wrap up the shoot. The main cast features María León (The The Sleeping Voice [+see also:
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), Salva Reina (La lista de los deseos [+see also:
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, where she also shared a billing with León) and Pedro Casablanc (nominated for a Best Actor Goya for his performance in B [+see also:
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) along with breakout star Rubén Fulgencio in the titular role, who — like all of the film’s child actors — was selected after a round of auditions with over a thousand hopefuls. In Morante’s own words, “It’s a story that reminds us of the magic and adventure of growing up, an emotional coming-of-age tale that is also a love letter to our parents and grandparents, a way of thanking them for helping make us what we are, and a look back at the hornet’s nest of firsts that children experience and that we all carry with us.”

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The screenplay was written by the director himself in partnership with Raúl Santos and Miguel Ángel González, based on González’s novel of the same name and in collaboration with Ignacio del Moral (Mondays in the Sun [+see also:
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). Set in 1985, it tells the story of Óliver, a small boy with an overly excitable imagination whose family relocates to the southernmost tip of Europe just as the world is waiting with bated breath for its first glimpse of Halley’s Comet. These events mark a critical juncture in Óliver’s emotional life, who looks to the stars for a solution to his troubles as he struggles to fit in at his new school, in the neighbourhood and at home.

Alexis Morante (Algeciras, 1978) has twice been nominated for a Goya (Best Short Film in 2017 for Bla bla bla and Best Documentary Film in 2019 for Camarón: [+see also:
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Flamenco y revolución [+see also:
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). He has also directed video clips for musicians including Bunbury, Macaco and Fito Cabrales, and was recently awarded the Latin Grammy for Best Music Video for his work on Sanz: Lo que fui es lo que soy.

“In this film, I want to explore some of the most potent human experiences through the perspective of the child who lives in all of us. It’s a film intended for adults, but told from a place of childlike sincerity and innocence. It speaks of maturity, family and tolerance with the honesty of this young boy,” Morante explains. “The whole thing is filmed with a special quality inspired by the magic realism of Gabriel García Márques: sprinkled with moments of magic, treated like everyday occurrences, that allow me to get inside a child’s imagination. Combining a uniquely personal perspective with mass-market appeal, it never turns its back on the audience — far from it. Everything you see is for the audience’s benefit, designed to transport them back to their own childhoods which, in some sense, we are all still living,” he concludes.

El universo de Oliver is being produced by Pecado Films and La Claqueta PC, in association with Sinehan Capital AIE, Radio Televisión Española, Canal Sur and CreaSGR, with funding from ICO and the support of the Creative Europe — MEDIA Programme, the Regional Government of Andalusia and the Municipal Association of Campo de Gibraltar. Filmax will be distributing the film in Spain.

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