In one of the first deals to emerge from the San Sebastian Film Festival, powerhouse indie studio, Filmax, which celebrates its 70th anniversary at San Sebastian Festival, has snapped up international rights to LGBTQ+ dramedy “Norbert(a)” from Imposible Films, the producers of hits “Truman,” “The People Upstairs” and “Stories not to be Told.”
Directed by newcomers Sonia Escolano, who also penned the script, and Belén López Albert, it is toplined by Luis Bermejo (“Magical Girl”), Adriana Ozores (“Alba”), Mariona Terés (“The Girls at the Back”) and María Romanillos.
Norbert(a) follows Norberto and María, who’ve been married for decades and live what seems like an ordinary life in their working-class neighborhood. But little do people know that every night, to supplement their meager incomes, Norberto dresses up as a woman and carries out petty robberies while Maria waits for him in the getaway car.
But Norberto later confesses to Maria that the disguise is in fact how he’d really like to express himself. At 65, Norberto struggles to win the acceptance of others but he needs their help in order to pull off his biggest heist yet, robbing a bingo parlor, in order to pay for his sex-change operation.
Described by Imposible Films as a story “inspired not just by one true story, but by thousands of others,” the dramedy combines “the sensitivity of ‘Transparent’ with the adventures of a generous working-class ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ couple.”
“Norbert(a)” is produced by Marta Esteban and Laia Bosch of Imposible Films and tax structure Norbertafilm AIE. It also counts on the support of nationwide pubcaster RTVE, Spanish film institute ICAA and Catalan state TV operator Televisió de Catalunya.
Filmax will handle both its distribution in Spain and international sales.
Esteban called “Norbert(a)” “a provocative, warm, irreverent and emotional story; a fresh look at transsexuality in later life.”
Commented Ivan Díaz, head of international at Filmax: “We’re thrilled to be handling the international sales on another film from the producers of ‘Truman,’ and ‘The People Upstairs,’ directed by Cesc Gay, which have worked so well for us in recent years.”
“With this mix of different genres, ‘Norbert(a)’ carries out an exercise in costumbrismo that is well-understood, while at the same time giving an original, authentic and special take on a subject that is very now,” he said.
Costumbrismo is a Spanish tradition of stories and paintings grounded in the customs of a local place, often a rural setting.
‘The project emanates reality and right from the very beginning, it reminded us of other films we’ve had in our slate, such as ‘Girlfriends,’ ‘Tapas”’and ‘Manolito Gafotas,’ which actually starred Adriana Ozores. What these films all have in common with ‘Norbert(a)’ is the approachability and likability of their characters, an essential element in allowing audiences to really connect with the film,” he added.
Filmax will be presenting the first images of “Norbert(a)” to buyers at San Sebastian or online.
Founded in 1953, acquired by Julio Fernández in 1987 and now run by his brother Carlos Fernández and daughter Laura Fernández, Filmax is one of the largest bonafide independent studios in Spain, involved in film and TV production, distribution, international film and TV sales as well as exhibition.