Leading Spanish distribution and production company A Contracorriente has boarded Whalemen – At the Ends of Earth (Baleazaleak), which is to be directed by veteran Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur.
A Contracorriente has boarded as a co-producer and will distribute the title in Spain.
Based on real events in the 17th century, the Basque-, Icelandic- and Latin-language Whalemen will narrate the story of a whaling ship that sets sail from the port of San Sebastian for Iceland. After the vessel is shipwrecked in the Westfjords, whale hunting turns into a manhunt through a land of ice and volcanoes. The narrative is interwoven with the story of Lázaro García, an experienced Basque harpooner.
Production is led by Basque producer Eduardo Carneros at Euskadi Movie, in a co-production with A Contracorriente and Kormákur’s label RVK Studios. Carneros’ credits include Nacho Vigalondo’s 2007 sci-fi thriller Timecrimes.
The project is at an advanced stage of development and will be presented to potential co-producers and international distributors at the San Sebastian Film Festival’s inaugural Creative Investors’ Conference, which runs on September 19 and 20 as part of the Spanish Screenings: Financing & Tech strand.
In July, the province of Bizkaia, where Euskadi Movie is based, announced that it will offer an up-to-70% tax credit for foreign and national productions that film in the Basque area – the highest in Spain. The maximum percentage will apply to Basque-language productions.
“The ‘Killing of the Basques’ is an event in Icelandic history that up until this day continues to amaze. What led to the brutal massacre of dozens of courageous Spanish whalers in 1615, whalers who had been coming to hunt year after year, sailing the turbulent seas from San Sebastian to the faraway north?”, Kormákur told sister site Screen. He added: “Being half-Spanish, half-Icelandic myself, this has personally been quite intriguing.”
Carneros said: “We’ll tackle a genuine, epic and dramatic theme, with a certain dose of terror due to the extreme violence of the events; we will offer a touching story, full of conflicts and interest for global audiences, not just European.”
The screenplay is written by Timecrimes writer Esteban Ibarretxe, who died in January aged 66; plus writers Miguel Gómez Tejedor and Luis Marías. Shooting is scheduled to begin in 2023.
The relationship between Adolfo Blanco’s A Contracorriente and Kormákur dates back to 2008’s Reykjavik-Rotterdam, which was produced, written by and starred the Icelandic filmmaker. Spanish rights were handled by the Barcelona-based company.
Kormákur’s credits include Everest, Beast and 2 Guns.
This article originally appeared on KFTV's sister site, Screendaily.