Benjamín Domenech • Producer of Infanta
“Our film needs to feel like a growing fever, a contagious spirit that can reflect on the present from the perspective of the past”
- We chatted to Benjamín Domenech, the producer of Infanta, which won the €20,000 Eurimages Co-production Development Award at IFFR earlier this year
The Argentinian feature Infanta was the winner of the €20,000 Eurimages Co-production Development Award at International Film Festival Rotterdam’s (IFFR’s) 37th CineMart. The jury, which included Didar Domerhi, Rémi Bonhomme, Susan Newman and Dorien Van de Pas, chose to reward a project “with a strong directorial vision and an evident complicity between producer and director. This project with a starting point in real historical events is also a reflection on the power of collective delusion and the societal norms that make this possible.” Infanta is being directed by Argentinian-born Natalia Garagiola and will be produced by Benjamín Domenech for Buenos Aires-based outfit Rei Cine. Cineuropa talked to the producer about winning the award, the movie’s current production status and European co-productions.
Cineuropa: The jury described your project as a reflection on collective delusion and the societal norms that make this possible. Could you tell us more about Infanta?
Benjamín Domenech: The film is set in 1910 as a comet closes in on the Earth. In a boarding school secluded in the rainforest, a group of girls believe they can change its course with magic and blood. It explores the process of radicalisation that a group of people can quickly fall into. Through the approach of genre, we can use superstition and fantastic elements to set this in motion. The film needs to feel like a growing fever, a contagious spirit that can reflect on the present from the perspective of the past. It is in development, with a first draft of the script completed. Principal photography will commence in 2021.
How important do you consider a prize such as the Eurimages Co-production Development Award?
We were very happy to win the Eurimages Co-production Development Award. Boosts like these constitute unmistakable support for the project, given the unstable economic situation of our country in recent years. Our industry cannot count on significant support for development or screenwriting, and receiving such an award means that we can tackle this key phase in a much more organised and detailed way. Such a distinction also puts the film in the perfect spot to find the right path towards production and finding its audience, both in Europe and worldwide. Argentina only joined Eurimages as an associate member in October 2019, which makes the award even more significant – for us, but also for Argentinian cinema in general. It qualifies the country as a valuable co-production partner, which is in line with a longstanding history of us co-producing films with European partners.
How will the financial prize benefit Infanta?
The prize will be used for screenwriting purposes jointly with on-site research, scouting and casting in the northern province of Misiones, Argentina, where most of the film will be shot. Additional financing will be used for packaging and development-related travel in order to shape the co-production and financial structure of the film. The award will have a definitive impact on the timeline of the project, enabling a faster development. This means we will be able to start principal photography in 2021.
How was your experience at IFFR CineMart?
Our main goal was to search for potential partners for the film as we presented the project to the market and sought initial reactions, which are always interesting when it comes to understanding the potential impact and profile of a given project. CineMart is the ideal home for upcoming projects, an unmissable meeting point for filmmakers, and the best place to meet partners and collaborators, while also having interesting discussions about the future of cinema. Awards like these, which top it off, are always something unexpected and represent an additional boost for a project or film.
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