Juan Gautier’s ‘The Aspirant,’ a Malaga Work in Progress Player, Acquired by Begin Again Films (EXCLUSIVE)

Madrid-based Begin Again Films has picked up Spanish distribution and international sales rights to Juan Gautier’s psychological thriller “El aspirante” (“The Aspirant”), about initiation into a masculine universe revolving around hazing of a university residence.

“El aspirante” plays at this year’s Málaga Work in Progress’ WIP España sidebar, an industry centerpiece at the Málaga Film Festival, now in its 27th edition.

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The film toplines Jorge Motos, star of 2021’s “Lucas,” a film which earned him a Málaga Silver Biznaga for best actor and a Goya best new actor nomination; Lucas Nabor (“All the Names of God”), Eduardo Rosa (“La casa de las flores”) and Catalina Sopelana (“Sky Rojo”) complete the main cast.

“The Aspirant” is set on the Day Zero of hazing at the Tolentino university residence. Carlos and Dani accept the 24-hour challenge to fit in. But they will have to face the worst of themselves before everything turns into a tragedy.

Andrea Gautier at Smiz and Pixel (“La vida era eso”) produced the film, in partnership with outfits Kabiria Films, La Bestia Produce and Featurent.

Juan Gautier, Josep Gómez Frechilla and Samuel Hurtado wrote the screemplay

Since 2008, siblings Juan and Andrea Gautier have been working on educational content from a gender perspective at their production house Smiz and Pixel.

Receiving an assignment for an NGO to shoot a video about masculinity associated with violent behavior, they proposed a story about hazing in high schools.

Madrid-based Smiz and Pixel produced in 2015 the Gautiers’ awarded short film “The Aspirant,” a starting point for their new feature film.

“Hazing has parallels with the topics I have dealt with in short films and documentaries,” said Juan Gautier, director of the 2021 documentary “Shooting for Mirza,” on the legacy of Bosnian basketball legend Mirza Delibasic.

“Hazing was presented as a microcosm that could be extrapolated to other areas and related to issues that, fortunately today, are beginning to be on the debate agenda of debate: the construction of gender roles,” Gautier said.

“Under the guise of tradition, the elites of the future construct their masculinity by educating themselves in obedience and authoritarian command. Regardless of the debate as to whether hazing is softer or harder, more or less fun, that education is clear,” he added.

Spanish distribution and international sales agency Begin Again Films has gained a solid presence on the indie cinema landscape focusing on high quality films, both fiction and documentaries.

Looking for new talents, exciting and risky stories for new audiences, Begin Again’s titles have been selected and often awarded at festivals such as Rotterdam, the Berlinale, San Sebastián, Mar del Plata, Jeonju, HotDocs and New York.

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