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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Spain / Bulgaria

Avelina Prat makes her feature debut with the co-production Vasil

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- The film, currently being shot in Valencia, stars Spanish actors such as Karra Elejalde, Susi Sánchez and Alexandra Jiménez alongside Bulgarian thesps like Ivan Barnev

Avelina Prat makes her feature debut with the co-production Vasil
(l-r) Actors Karra Elejalde, Alexandra Jiménez and Ivan Barnev next to director Avelina Prat during the shoot for Vasil (© Laia Lluch)

On 1 February, the shoot kicked off in Valencia for Vasil, the feature debut by Avelina Prat, starring Bulgaria’s Ivan Barnev (The Father [+see also:
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), Spaniards Karra Elejalde (While at War [+see also:
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), Alexandra Jiménez (Distances [+see also:
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) and Susi Sánchez (Sunday’s Illness [+see also:
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), and Brit Sue Flack (The Year of the Plague [+see also:
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). The movie tells the story of the titular immigrant, a peculiar man who radiates kindness, passion and a bizarre kind of wisdom: he looks at life differently... This story depicts the two months that he spends in Spain, through four characters who accompany him.

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The main topics tackled by this feature are immigration and the welcome offered to refugees, but it will also prompt reflection on how difficult it is to connect with others and how relating to other people can be a clumsy affair – especially if they are different, but also when it’s those who are closest to us. Above all, it’s the story of a friendship, and of how an unknown and seemingly strange individual can leave an indelible mark on us.

The screenplay draws its inspiration from a personal experience that the director had, and she subsequently felt the need to express it through images. It has received support from programmes and festivals of the likes of Berlinale Talents 2018, where it was one of the ten projects selected in the Script Station section. In addition, Catalan helmer Isabel Coixet served as a mentor for the project during its participation in the SGAE Screenwriting Lab.

“My father called me one morning to tell me that he had a Bulgarian man in his house. That’s how it all began. I am the perplexed and disconcerted daughter who resolved to observe everything that happened, as if it were a film. I told my colleagues, fascinated by every new thing that happened and by some of their reactions, all the while rediscovering my father. And when it was all over, I came to understand that that’s all I’d been: an observer, who’d become somewhat lost along the way. And I realised that, without knowing him, this man had awakened something in me. So I did the only thing I could do: write this story,” states the director-screenwriter.

Architecture graduate Prat has accumulated a wealth of experience in the world of film: she has worked on the scripts of over 30 titles, for directors of the likes of Cesc Gay (on Truman [+see also:
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), Jonás Trueba (Every Song Is About Me [+see also:
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), Javier Rebollo (Lo que sé de Lola [+see also:
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) and Manuel Martín Cuenca (Cannibal [+see also:
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). In addition, she has directed five short films that garnered a great deal of attention on the festival circuit, such as 3/105, which was selected for the Venice Film Festival in 2014.

Vasil is a Distinto Films (Spain) and Activist 38 (Bulgaria) production. It secured backing from the ICAA, the Valencian Cultural Institute, the Catalan Institute of Cultural Companies and the Creative Europe – MEDIA programme. It boasts the involvement of RTVE and Televisió de Catalunya. It will hit screens in 2022, distributed by Filmax, which is also in charge of its international sales.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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